Jun. 22, 2021

Legislation would establish Bureau of Election Audits, Speaker Says

HARRISBURG – Keeping a promise he made to improve Pennsylvania’s election auditing process and ensure public trust in election results, Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) voted in favor of House Bill 1300, the Voting Rights Protection Act, which would establish a Pennsylvania Bureau of Election Audits under the office of the state’s auditor general, an independently elected statewide official.

“Even a shred of uncertainty in the results of our elections is enough to shake the bedrock of what we stand for in this country,” Cutler said. “This office would take strides to grow trust in our processes, and a thorough, independent audit of every election in our Commonwealth is a step toward ensuring the public’s trust.”

Cutler called for improved election auditing prior to the November 2020 election, and then again in the days that followed. The legislation was then included in House Bill 1300, which would make comprehensive changes to improve voter access and security in elections.

The legislation would expand existing voter identification rules by issuing scannable voter registration cards. This would ensure security at the polls while also improving efficiency at polling locations.

The bill would also improve election uniformity across all counties as required by the Pennsylvania Constitution, enhance certification processes for all machines, require signature verifications for mail-in and absentee ballots, improve and modernize voter registration lists, and provide rules for secure mail-in drop boxes.

Further, the bill would improve voter access by putting into law standards of accessibility at polling locations for disabled voters, establishing a curing process for mail-in and absentee ballots with certain errors, and allowing for supervised absentee voting in certain assisted living or nursing home facilities.

The bill would ensure more timely results by allowing pre-canvassing of mail-in and absentee ballots five days prior to Election Day.
Additionally, the Bureau of Election Audits would be required to conduct result-confirming audits of each election in the Commonwealth, completed by the third Friday following the election.

The audits would comprehensively examine all future elections, looking at all aspects of the process and results, including equipment, absentee and mail-in ballots, performance audits of election systems at least every five years, and any other audit deemed necessary by the Bureau of Election Audits to ensure the public trust in the outcome of each election. Additionally, the bureau would be required to provide corrective action plans to address any errors or deficiencies discovered in the audit.

“As I’ve said many times, if Pennsylvanians cannot trust our process, they will never trust the results,” Cutler said. “This bill was crafted after a multi-month bipartisan hearing process and takes enormous strides in ensuring trust in our election outcomes for all Pennsylvanians.”

The bill now advances to the Senate for further consideration.

Speaker Bryan Cutler
100th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives