A bloc of state Representatives — Scott Conklin, Tina Davis and Brian Sims — have introduced bills that would automate voter registration, form an independent redistricting commission and allow in–person absentee ballot voting. Conklin and Sims have partnered on a bill that would automatically register eligible individuals when that person obtains a Pennsylvania driver’s license; Davis and Sims introduced a bill that acts on the precedent set in Arizona, which ended gerrymandering there. “Any serious discussion about reforming government begins with redistricting and establishing a fairer system for drawing our state’s voting maps,” said Davis, D–Bucks. “The independent commission that our measure would create would put voters — and not political advantage — at the forefront when electoral districts are revised.
“Voters choosing their representatives and not representatives choosing their voters is a core American principle,” Davis added. “Unfortunately, too often the outcome of a race in Pennsylvania is predetermined by how lines are drawn.”
Sims’ absentee ballot bill would permit no–excuse–needed absentee voting by mail. “In 33 states and the District of Columbia, our fellow Americans now have some form of early voting,” said Sims, D–Philadelphia. “In 27 states and the District of Columbia, voters can request and cast absentee ballots without an excuse. It is time for Pennsylvania to allow and encourage these forms of legitimate voting in our elections. In election after election, editorials lament low turnout — making it more convenient to vote would help to change that.”
The state legislature is controlled by Republicans, and it was not immediately clear if these proposals could gain bipartisan support.