FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VOTE SAFE CO-CHAIRS SUPPORT EFFORTS TO ALLOW
EARLIER PROCESSING OF ABSENTEE BALLOTS
GOVS. RIDGE AND GRANHOLM:
“WE MUST TAKE ALL POSSIBLE STEPS TO ENSURE SECURE AND EFFICIENT ELECTIONS”
Washington, D.C. (September 9, 2020) – In a press conference this morning, VoteSafe Co-Chair Tom Ridge (R) urges Pennsylvania lawmakers to reach a compromise on plans to allow processing of absentee ballots prior to election day.
Pennsylvania is among the battleground states that do not allow the processing or counting of absentee ballots before Election Day. Processing includes such time-consuming tasks as opening envelopes, signature verification, and preparing ballots to be scanned.
Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security and former Pennsylvania Governor joined his VoteSafe Co-Chair and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) in calling on all legislators and election officials to take seriously their obligation to ensure safe, secure, and efficient elections amidst the pandemic.
To all legislators and election officials:
This primary season has served as a series of necessary case studies for how to run elections during a pandemic. Some operated efficiently while some resulted in confusion and disenfranchisement. Many election officials have taken action, but in some states, their hands are tied by arbitrary and outdated statutes that only the legislature can change. One adjustment we know based on the primaries will help is lifting the restriction on election officials from beginning to process absentee ballots prior to election day. While many states go so far as to count ballots prior to election day, there is no reason to prevent at least opening envelopes, verifying signatures, and stacking ballots so they’re ready to be counted right away.
We know we’re unlikely to have results on election day, and that is okay. The correct result is worth waiting for. But with an influx of absentee ballots expected this year, we must take all steps possible to ensure that officials can still run secure and efficient elections. Any effort to the contrary only serves to discredit the outcome and the sanctity of our vote.
There is a lot at stake in this year’s election, and it makes sense that dramatic changes in process could be met with trepidation. But these targeted changes are not that; instead, it’s an acknowledgment of the impact Covid-19 has had on all the other aspects of our lives and this limited administrative change is a smart action to prepare our election systems for this new reality.
Tom Ridge & Jennifer Granholm
VoteSafe is a cross-partisan coalition of elections administrators and organizations ensuring that every American has the right to vote safely and securely.