Election Reform

The integrity of our entire system of government depends on the integrity of our elections. The process for electing our public officials has to be fair, accessible and dependable. No matter where you live or what party you’re registered with, you should have unbridled access to the ballot box; and once you get there, you should get to participate in a fair election, that means not voting in a gerrymandered district.

Legislation I’m Working On

Senate Bill 11 − Campaign Finance Reform

This legislation will comprehensively provide transparency and accountability in our political campaign finance system. The legislation will address the excessive corporate influence in our political system, from both at home and abroad, on our elections, remove the opportunity to take personal advantage of campaign contributions, and protect the integrity and fairness of our electoral process. It would also empower public requestors to challenge a campaign’s wrongful denial of access to its vouchers, which are supposed to be available for public inspection, before the Department of State and provide the Department with clear authority to enforce such access through penalties.

Senate Resolution 192 − Free and Fair Elections Concurrent Resolution

When anonymous special interests and foreign governments attempt to exercise undue influence over our federal and state officials, the “consent of the governed” is undermined and the American principle of self-determination is jeopardized. Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, including Citizens United v FEC and McCutcheon v FEC, have nullified campaign regulations that protect our democracy and opened the flood gates for dark money and special interests to influence elections.

Senator Costa has introduced a bill to create a commission to draw congressional districts, instead of it being done by the legislature. The commission would be made up of two members of each the Republican and Democratic Party, as well as an independent representative. None of the members shall ever have held elected office or a politically appointed position. This commission would take the politics out of drawing maps and finally make congressional districts fair and representative each time they’re updated.

There’s more to be done in protecting access to the ballot box, and the Senate Democrats have introduced proposals to:

Secure voting rights.

Secure voting rights for all by cracking down on voter intimidation and onerous Voter ID laws.

Make it easier to register to vote.

Online registration was a huge step forward, and we can make it even more accessible by allowing same-day registration.

Allow people to vote absentee without an excuse.

The list of acceptable “excuses” for voting absentee is too restrictive and discourages people from taking advantage of this legal way to vote.

Campaign finance reform.

The Citizen’s United decision from the federal Supreme Court was an abomination that has allowed corporations to have more of a voice in our democracy than its people. Reforms to campaign finance in our state are necessary to make people matter more than campaign contributions in an election.

Latest News

Senate, House Members Unveil Elections Reform Proposals

Senate, House Members Unveil Elections Reform Proposals

Harrisburg PA – June 4, 2019 – State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) and Rep. Sara Innamorato (D-Pittsburgh) led House and Senate Democrats in announcing several voting reform proposals Tuesday in the Main Capitol Rotunda.  The legislators were...

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Senator Costa Outlines Concerns with Amended Senate Bill 22

Senator Costa Outlines Concerns with Amended Senate Bill 22

HARRISBURG, PA − June 6, 2018 − For the past several months, the Senate has been working with constituents and advocacy organizations to improve the fairness of Pennsylvania’s redistricting process. That work took the shape of Senate Bill 22, sponsored by a majority...

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Costa and Dermody Praise Wolf’s Fair Election Initiative

Costa and Dermody Praise Wolf’s Fair Election Initiative

HARRISBURG, March 26, 2018 − Top Democrats in the House and Senate embraced Gov. Tom Wolf’s pledge of support for their ongoing efforts to reform the way political campaigns are paid for in Pennsylvania. “Our democratic form of government is designed to be...

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