FILE - Mail-in ballot vote by mail

(The Center Square) – A former Pennsylvania congressman and one-time leader of the state House of Representatives will lead a new coalition for a statewide voting campaign.

Former Republican House Majority Leader Dave Reed and one-time Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who also served as Undersecretary and acting Secretary of the U.S. Army, launched Vote Safe Pennsylvania on Tuesday, with just over three months until the general election in November.

“It is highly unlikely that polling locations will operate as usual in November, or that the voting experience will be anything close to normal, given the lingering effects of COVID-19,” said Reed, who serves as co-chairman alongside Murphy. “We need to do all we can to ensure Pennsylvania voters have accessible, secure mail-in ballots and safe, in-person voting sites. The health and safety of Pennsylvanians is paramount, so every voter feels protected and safe to participate in the upcoming General Election.”

The coalition has the support of all five living former governors and a bipartisan collection of congressional lawmakers, local officials and community organizations dedicated to educating residents about their voting options – from mail-in ballots to in-person polling places. 

“Since the Civil War, members of our Armed Forces have consistently voted by mail. I have full confidence that our election officials are taking proactive steps to keep voters safe and ensure the integrity of our elections,” Murphy said. “Whether it’s an elderly grandparent, a loved one who is immunocompromised, or simply someone who is fearful about contracting COVID-19, every Pennsylvanian needs to know they do not have to jeopardize their health to vote.”

Staff Reporter

Christen Smith follows Pennsylvania's General Assembly for The Center Square. She is an award-winning reporter with more than a decade of experience covering state and national policy issues for niche publications and local newsrooms alike.