HARRISBURG – Rep. Jill Cooper (R-Westmoreland) issued the following statement after voting against a legislative proposal to revise election laws Thursday and after several late-night procedural maneuvers orchestrated by the House Democrats after 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“I have no problem hearing out someone’s ideas even if they are different from mine. But Pennsylvania has rules and a specific process to make legislative proposals accessible to other House members and the public. Amending a previously approved bill at 11:45 p.m. and giving House members only minutes to review the amendments screams lack of transparency, and these screams silence the voices of every Pennsylvania citizen.
“It is important to note the original premise of the bill was to move the upcoming 2024 primary election because of a conflict with the Jewish holiday of Passover, which was a worthwhile discussion several months ago. But at this point, with what it takes to hold a fair and secure election, I can’t in good conscience support changing the date. Such a change, this late in the process, would unfairly protect incumbents and I believe primary challenges to every elected official, me included, are a healthy aspect of our election system.
“The election changes sought by House Democrats, such as permanently enrolling mail-in voters, eliminating audits and removing mail-ballot security measures, threaten election security and I was never going to support them. But having a 102-101 majority obligates them to be transparent in what they believe is good policy, and that means making the bills public well before a scheduled vote and scheduling that vote during the course of House operating hours.
“I am glad that better judgement was exercised by some of my Democrat peers and the bill was defeated. But because their caucus’ leaders filed a motion to reconsider, the bill is still very much in play, which is a shame because we are only weeks away from the next municipal election and a few months away from a presidential primary election. Revisions to the Commonwealth’s election laws are too important to enact haphazardly and without constituents being able to weigh in with their opinions.”
House Republicans held a press conference
shortly after the vote on Senate Bill 224
Representative Jill Cooper
55th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jordan Frei