A Special State Senate Committee on Election Integrity and Reform plans on introducing a bill to implement some of the recommendations they received after hearing from a variety of stakeholders, including election officials in Pennsylvania and nationally from both parties.

One bipartisan issue garnering support is real-time reporting of deceased voters. The report recommends “voter rolls should be updated on a monthly basis throughout the year, but on a daily basis for the two weeks prior to the primary or general election.” It further recommends, “similar to the processes in other states, all voter rolls should be cross referenced with the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC)."

Pennsylvania state law requires the Department of Health to notify local election officials when someone over the age of 18 dies, and election officials are then instructed to “promptly” update registration records to remove the deceased voter.

Last year our newly appointed County Election Review Board also recommended the regular examination of the voter rolls which has resulted in the purging of hundreds of inactive, deceased, and relocated voter names being removed. I applaud the work of the committee in helping Washington County institute these election reforms and clean up our voter registration rolls.

We must hold an election that people trust and that begins with an accurate and updated list of registered voters. The regular examination of voter rolls is a common-sense way to root out any further opportunity for bad actors to commit election fraud. I hope to see this bipartisan recommendation passed to provide Washington and other counties the tools to have the most precise voter information available on Election Day.

Voter fraud has long been a source of controversy in our elections. Duplicate ballots, false registrations and other methods have all been mentioned over time as potential threats to the legitimacy of democratically elected government. With this change enacted worries over one type of Election Day fraud can be eliminated: ballots cast in the name of the deceased.

Nick Sherman

Washington County commissioner