WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, July 11, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed into law a portion of the state’s new budget that includes rules for election funding. The $45.2 billion state budget package includes Senate Bill 892, which prohibits private funding in election administration — meaning, state and local election officials cannot receive third-party funds for election-related activities.
In what appears to be a compromise between Republican legislators and the Democratic governor, the budget includes $45 million in grants for election administrators. To qualify for the state funding, however, counties are required to open and count ballots starting at 7 a.m. on Election Day. This timeframe doesn’t permit counties to process mail-in ballots ahead of Election Day, even if election offices could benefit from the extra time.