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April 6, 2021Advocacy Matters

State Election Law Activity and Accessibility

Disability Matters with Joyce Bender

April 6, 2021


State Election Law Activity and Accessibility

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Many disability voting advocates knew that the certification of results from the 2020 election would not bring an end to the debate over election integrity.  Even though there was no evidence of widespread fraud that would have overturned the results of the November election, state legislatures across the country are introducing bills to either expand or restrict voting access.

According to statistics from the Brennan Center for Justices, at least 253 bills to restrict voting access have been introduced in 43 states.  We have a link to a report from The Brennan Center for Justice at

As of today, Pennsylvania lawmakers have introduced 56 bills that would change Pennsylvania’s Election Code and additional proposals are soon to come.  Some of the current bills would expand voting rights, but the far majority would restrict voting rights.  For example, one bill would declare the 2020 General Election for President and Vice President unlawful and overturn the results.  Another proposal would create a holiday for Election Day.

The Pennsylvania House Government Committee is holding a series of hearing on elections in Pennsylvania.  We have a link to the election law hearings archives at Last week, the House Government Committee hearing was on election integrity and accessibility.

Disability Rights Pennsylvania testified at the hearing and raised the following points:

  1. Voting by mail and the use of paper ballots is an option for people with disabilities; however, there remain accessibility issues with paper ballots. No paper ballot voting system today, ready for widespread use, if fully accessible.  Additionally, Pennsylvania’s remote accessible vote by mail system, Democracy Lives’ OmniBallot, is a step in the right direction but does not fully ensure a private and independent vote since, in Pennsylvania, voters have to print out their ballot and mail it back.
  2. Pennsylvanians with disabilities still face inaccessible polling places and election officials not trained on accommodations at the polls.


Your listeners, like Disability Rights Pennsylvania, want to ensure that every person with a disability has the opportunity to vote privately and independently in our elections.  In order to achieve that goal, we must be engaged with our state legislatures on proposals that could restrict, instead of expanding the vote for people with disabilities.

Please visit for information from The Brennan Center for Justice and FiveThirtyEight on the state of election law reform across the country.


Links related to this segment:

The Brennan Center for Justice

Pennsylvania House Government Committee Election Law Hearings