What could the new mail-in ballot in PA do to our elections? 

November 30 – The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania unveiled a redesigned mail-in ballot envelope and instruction sheet yesterday. 

The intention is to help make the whole process easier for voters. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “There was that recent PA Supreme Court decision about what you do with ballots that are sent in that were not dated or had the wrong date on them and some voters pointed out well, that line wasn’t even easy to see on the envelope. The redesign will apparently address that.”

Theoretically it will also avoid contested ballot scenarios. 

Barkdoll continued, “It will make it easier for the voter to properly fill out whatever they need to do so that the county knows when it comes in it will be accepted. So we’ll see next year. I mean that there’s going to be a huge turnout here next year in the primary and the general election for a presidential election year and mail in ballots are going to be a key part of that process.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “Remember it was a Democratic strategic initiative to get as many states as possible to approve mail in balloting, to extend the number of the weeks, might even want to say months for Pennsylvania, to do their mail in balloting because they knew and they already had plans in place to harvest and I’m not talking about illegal, I’m talking about legally getting people who normally will not go out on voting day to see the availability of mail in voting. So let’s just remember that is where all that push came from initially. Now it’s here. It exists. We have a Democratic governor, very interested to make this an easier process and that will be for everybody. I’m not criticizing him saying it’s necessarily a party thing. It will make it easier for everybody but again, it’s generally known Republicans don’t utilize these mail in ballots as well as Democrats. So I very much applaud the Citizens Alliance launching this initiative. They want to have 500,000 likely Republican doors knocked on to get them knowledgeable about how to do mail and voting. To also get those people who sit home and I welcome it because there’s a level playing field there if we can get as many Republicans as knowledgeable about utilizing these mail in votes, because I think there’s an imbalance that has a bad probability of influencing our elections in a way that’s not really voters fairly having access to how they vote. I would say it’s actually really a suppression of Republican voters. They want to talk about oppression of votes. There it is.”

Barkdoll added, “I think, in retrospect, some real mistakes were made in messaging on this issue. There’s still Democrats, particularly in Georgia, and some other states, to this day, they’ll run ads, where Donald Trump is telling voters not to vote by mail. That never should have been put out to voters because there’s some people once they hear that, they’ll never change their mind. I think it’s good that this group is doing it. Cycle after cycle you’re seeing Republicans win live Election Day voting, but then they lose the races when the mail in votes come in. I think Governor Wolf, he really outfoxed the General Assembly on this because this was all pre-COVID. This was not done because of COVID but our Republican General Assembly, they ratified this. The trade off was they eliminated straight ticket voting, which they thought would equalize the trade. Well, the more time that’s passing, clearly, it’s showing that the Democrats are the ones benefiting more from these mail in voting systems that have been implemented around the country.”

PA Representative Rob Kauffman said, “We’re still digesting these releases and what the plans are. If it is on its surface just an attempt to make things clearer, to make sure that folks understand what they’re doing, hopefully it’s a positive thing because if we’re going to have the mail in the ballot then it needs to be done correctly. There’s always court cases to try to toss ballots for this reason or that reason. It would be ideal if people just could understand it. I get it. There are things that are confusing whenever registering to vote, sending in your absentee application or what have you. So if it’s simply to make things clear for everyone, not meant to have a partisan flare, I think it could be a positive thing.”

Jansen said, “This could be completely unbiased in terms of politics, because everyone would want to be using it. Of course, what I get worried about is we keep sort of moving towards this idea of just make it completely dummy proof and I’m not so sure when you talk about oh, we have to have same day registration, oh we have to have all these things and they claim it’s to expand voter participation, but I wish we’d maybe concentrate on the education of voters a little bit more. We really want people to be engaged, but we also want them to be knowledgeable. Not that we ever want tests for that. I’m not going anywhere near suggesting that. It’s just I don’t understand why we aren’t focusing our energies more there, rather than making it perhaps easy for anybody to just, what are we going to do? Text in voting pretty soon? That would not be good for our society.”

Kauffman said, “To try to get to what their eventual intent is, when there was discussion of changing the presidential primary next year, one of the amendments that they attached to the bill would have what would have been permanent mail in voting. So if you applied one time for a mail in ballot, you would get a mail in ballot every election after that until you told them specifically no. So obviously that’s what they would love and would intend for. We need to be more worried about making sure we have an educated electorate, rather than everybody who has no idea goes out, they can register the same day because they just decided that day that MTV or TikTok tells them to go vote.” 

Jansen said, “Jimmy Carter Blue Ribbon Panel mail in voting is the most susceptible to fraud. It was understood around the world. We don’t want to increase the ability to manipulate voters. We want them to be able to vote reasonably and with some kind of knowledge behind who they’re voting for that’s going to make their lives better.”

Did the Republican Party in PA and Franklin County step up their game on the mail-in ballots this year? 

Barkdoll suggested, “I think they did very slightly, as did they statewide but the Republicans are way behind in this area. Coincidentally, there’s a very conservative PAC, they’ve committed to spending a few million dollars in Pennsylvania next year, specifically targeted to Republican mail-in voters. They’re pointing out that the party is just way behind. They think damage was really done with all of that talk in 2000 about problems and your votes not getting counted. Some people have never gotten around that and they see now they’re losing cycle after cycle because a lot of these people who otherwise will not vote, they won’t mail in the ballot either. So to me, that’s an interesting development and I think it’s smart. If I’m a Republican or a conservative PAC advisor, that’s exactly what I would be doing. They’ve got to do better messaging on this.”

To see the redesign of the ballot, click here:  https://tristatealert.com/pennsylvania-introduces-new-mail-in-ballots-after-multiple-confusing-elections/