New Election Administration Institutions

Pennsylvania, under divided government, nonetheless recently created a new “Election Advisory Board.” I’m flagging this because many of us have advocated for various forms of independent or bipartisan boards or commissions to oversee the election process. This new Board has the power to evaluate and recommend best election practices. There are still unresolved issues over critical voting matters in Pennsylvania, and I don’t know whether this Board intends to, and will be capable of, making any recommendations on these issues in the next month or so.

Given the interest on how these kind of bodies might be constituted and whether they can offer credible, non-partisan election-reform recommendations, I’m including the language from the Act on the appointments and duties of this new Board.

ARTICLE XIII-E

PENNSYLVANIA ELECTION LAW ADVISORY BOARD

Section 1302-E.  Pennsylvania Election Law Advisory Board.

(a)  Establishment.–The Pennsylvania Election Law Advisory Board is established within the Joint State Government Commission.

(b)  Members.–The board shall be comprised of the following members:

(1)  The Secretary of the Commonwealth or a designee.

(2)  The President pro tempore of the Senate or a designee.

(3)  The Minority Leader of the Senate or a designee.

(4)  The Speaker of the House of Representatives or a designee.

(5)  The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives or a designee.

(6)  One member from each congressional district, of whom no more than half may be registered with the same political party, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate and which shall include members who:

(i)  represent groups advocating for individuals with disabilities;

(ii)  represent groups advocating for voting rights; and

(iii)  represent county commissioners or county election officials.

(c)  Duties.–The board shall have the following duties:

(1)  Study this act and identify statutory language to repeal, modify or update.

(2)  Collaborate with other agencies and political subdivisions of the Commonwealth to study election-related issues.

(3)  Study the development of new election technology and voting machines.

(4)  Evaluate and make recommendations on:

(i)  improving the electoral process in this Commonwealth by amending this act or through regulations promulgated by the Department of State; and

(ii)  implementing best practices identified to ensure the integrity and efficiency of the electoral process in this Commonwealth.

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