Election integrity and balance of power amendments pass House vote
HARRISBURG – In an effort to allow the public to have the final say on a series of issues many Pennsylvanians consider to be a priority, the House advanced a package of constitutional amendments, said Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster).
Senate Bill 106 (Sen. David Argall, R-Berks/Schuylkill) would allow gubernatorial candidates to select their own lieutenant governor running mates. Amendments filed and passed in the House would also do the following:
- Require voters to present valid identification prior to voting, regardless of voting method. (Rep. Jeff Wheeland, R-Lycoming).
- Require that the General Assembly pass a law to provide for the auditing of elections, including processes and outcomes by the state’s auditor general. (Rep. Dawn Keefer, R-York).
- Limit executive orders to 21 days unless extended by a resolution of the General Assembly. (Rep. Paul Schemel, R-Franklin).
- Allow the General Assembly to fully disapprove of a regulation without approval of the governor. (Rep. Eric Nelson, R-Westmoreland).
“The public has made it very clear to our members these issues are of the utmost importance,” Cutler said. “We’ve heard calls to protect and increase election integrity, ensure the executive branch cannot overburden and unfairly limit the rights of the people, and guarantee unelected bureaucrats do not have the power to unilaterally create laws. Today’s vote is a crucial step in allowing the public to have the final say on addressing these issues once and for all.”
The constitutional amendment process requires passage in both chambers in consecutive legislative sessions, followed by a ballot referendum.
“Voter ID is the next commonsense step in enhancing election integrity and security,” Wheeland said. “With provisions in place to make obtaining a valid ID simple and at no cost to any voter, it does nothing to limit any Pennsylvanian’s right to vote, but everything to guarantee the integrity of votes that are cast.”
“It was Gov. Wolf who demanded Pennsylvania update every voting machine to ensure there is a paper trail to track our election processes and outcomes,” Keefer said. “Ensuring a thorough audit process is in place to re-examine our processes, machines and outcomes going forward is a continuing of bipartisan efforts to protect election integrity.”
The amendments regarding executive orders and regulations are continuing efforts to balance the powers of government originally introduced by Cutler to protect the voices of all Pennsylvanians in governmental processes.
“The idea that it takes a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly to stop a regulation, or order, that the majority would never start in the first place proves how unbalanced the process is in the first place,” Nelson said. “These steps ensure the voices of the people, through their elected leaders, are always a part of our system of government.”
“Our Constitution is very clear that no single branch of our government, nor any unelected bureaucrat, should ever have the unilateral and unchecked authority to issue open-ended orders or regulations,” Schemel said. “The people of Pennsylvania deserve the opportunity to decide how they are governed now, and at all times.”