County election officials, working with the oversight of elected county commissioners, are responsible for carrying out one of the most important functions of government and society.
So, state lawmakers in Harrisburg should listen carefully, and grant full consideration to requests that come to them from election officials in county seats across Pennsylvania.
One such request is on the table right now.
Elected members of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) are asking state lawmakers to give counties additional time to prepare mail-in ballots for counting and to roll back the deadline to apply for mail-in ballots from the current seven days to 15 days.
Indiana County Commissioner Sherene Hess said most county officials believe that “these two priorities would fix the majority of problems they face.”
That is a statement that should immediately capture attention under the Capitol dome.
Butler County Commissioner Kevin Boozel, the president of CCAP, said the county group would like lawmakers to pass their priority reforms as a standalone bill ahead of any additional reforms and other election considerations that have been raised during a series of recent hearings examining the state’s election system.
Lyndsay Kensinger, a spokeswoman for Gov. Tom Wolf said the governor supports moves to make voting easier and is opposed to any effort to make it more difficult to vote.
“The governor will only support an election reform proposal that makes it easier and safer for Pennsylvanians to cast their ballots while maintaining the security and integrity of elections,” she said.
“The governor is opposed to any proposal that would limit Pennsylvanians’ ability to vote.”
There are likely few voters who disagree that it should be easy and convenient to vote, but there also is strong concern that all elections stand with integrity, supported by verifiably valid ballots.
For any election to stand with integrity, citizens must have confidence that the election process can verify each and every ballot has indeed been cast by a registered voter within a single jurisdiction and that all of the ballots remain securely in the hands of election officials as they are tabulated and certified.
Legislation to address concerns that arose in the 2020 election will likely be introduced soon, and at that point, it will be important for we, the citizens, to review the proposals carefully and forward our comments and concerns to state lawmakers.
Elections represent the voice and will of the people, and it’s vital that they are carried out with fairness and integrity.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Dave Hilliard.