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State Rep. Russ Diamond, a Republican representing the 102nd District, was appointed earlier this month by House Speaker Bryan Cutler to serve as one of 23 members on the Election Law Advisory Board within the Joint State Government Commission.
The board was created by the Legislature in March and is empowered to study the election code and “identify statutory language to repeal, modify or update,” collaborate with other agencies to study election-related issues, study the development of new election technology and voting machines, evaluate and make recommendations on improving the electoral process and implementing “best practices” identified to ensure the integrity and efficiency of the electoral process, and publish its findings online by the end of each fiscal year.
“I believe the board’s biggest task is to make sure that the recent changes Pennsylvania has made to our electoral system are working well and keeping our elections honest and fair,” Rep. Diamond said Thursday in an email to LebTown.
The commission, he said, “plays an important role in reviewing specific topics of law” and provides an overview to the General Assembly for use in preparing new legislation.
“With the formation of the Election Law Advisory Board, I expect that same kind of impact regarding election law,” he said.
In a statement following his appointment, Diamond said the Pennsylvania electoral system “needs to be monitored to ensure the integrity of our elections. I have been actively working on this issue, and focusing on the accuracy of our voter rolls through my efforts in the House State Government Committee. I am honored and grateful to have been selected by the Speaker of the House to serve on the board and look forward to serving Pennsylvanians in this capacity. I will continue to be a voice that fights to make every vote count.”
Members of the board include legislative appointees, one member of each congressional district, an advocate for individuals with disabilities, an advocate for voter’s rights and a county election official.
Act 77, a measure passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf in 2019, made significant reforms to the state’s voting laws — the first major changes, according to a statement from the Wolf administration, “in more than 80 years.”
Diamond supported the bill’s passage in the State Government Committee.
The law creates a new option to vote by mail up to 50 days before an election and be placed on a list to permanently receive a ballot application by mail. It also provides more time to register to vote and authorizes a $90 million bond to help counties fund the purchase of new voting systems with a paper trail that strengthens election security.
“The right to vote is one of the most sacred rights held by citizens of the United States and a cornerstone of our constitutional republic,” Diamond said in a statement. “In fact, it has been one of the most important pillars of our society in terms of what separates us from the more tyrannical, anti-democratic nations of the world for centuries. We have a duty to preserve this right and do everything in our power to make sure every citizens’ vote is counted.”