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The Sentinel Guest Editorial – Dec 8, 2023 – Updated Jan 13, 2024

As the highly anticipated and potentially contentious 2024 national election approaches, it is important to reflect on the progress made in protecting the right to vote in Pennsylvania. Recently, Pennsylvania achieved a significant victory for voters’ rights when a federal judge ruled that mail-in ballots with missing or incorrect dates on their outer envelopes must be counted under the Civil Rights Act. This ruling, although likely to face appeals, represents a positive step forward.

In addition to this landmark ruling, Pennsylvania has witnessed several encouraging developments for voters. Local officials throughout the state have demonstrated remarkable efficiency in organizing smooth elections and promptly addressing any minor issues that arose. These accomplishments are particularly noteworthy given the unexpectedly high voter turnout reported in both rural and urban areas during an off-year election.

The responsibility of overseeing elections in Pennsylvania lies with dedicated poll workers and local officials who demonstrate an unwavering commitment to upholding the democratic process and ensuring that every eligible voter can exercise their fundamental right to vote.

Despite the various threats faced by individuals involved in the electoral process, such as personal threats and challenges to the security of our electoral system, local officials and election workers continue to persevere. They are driven by their unwavering belief in the importance of the democratic process and its integrity.

As seen in the aftermath of the 2020 Election Day, it takes time to accurately and securely count all eligible ballots, which means that results are not always immediately available. However, election after election, we can rely on the dedicated and tireless efforts to ensure a fair, safe and secure vote count.

It is important to note that despite facing numerous legal challenges and increased scrutiny since 2020, there have been no confirmed instances of widespread voter fraud in Pennsylvania. This fact highlights the integrity and strength of the state’s electoral system.

Looking ahead to the 2024 national election, our democracy faces another year that will test its resilience in various ways. Unfortunately, election conspiracy theories persist despite being convincingly and consistently refuted. However, as more voters are educated through robust fact-checking efforts, we can hope that the influence of these baseless claims will gradually diminish. Increased public awareness of the inner workings of elections will also be crucial in debunking false narratives and rebuilding trust in our election system.

To maintain the integrity of our electoral system, it is essential that counties in Pennsylvania are properly equipped with the necessary training and resources to conduct elections smoothly. Moreover, it is crucial for us to stay vigilant and take proactive measures to address and counter the spread of election conspiracy theories, thereby safeguarding the integrity of our electoral process.

The efficient management of elections in Pennsylvania sets an example for other states. It is crucial to learn from previous elections and leverage the commitment and efforts of poll workers and local officials. To uphold the integrity of our electoral system, we need to provide training and resources to election workers, enabling them to address any potential challenges that may arise. Additionally, continuous education and awareness campaigns are essential in countering misinformation and conspiracy theories that erode trust in our elections.

Pennsylvania’s recent victory for the right to vote is a significant step forward in protecting and preserving our democracy. The dedication and resilience of local officials and election workers have played a crucial role in ensuring fair and secure elections. As we continue, it is important to stay vigilant in safeguarding our electoral system, addressing challenges and promoting public trust. Together, we can uphold the principles of democracy and strengthen our nation.

Velma Redmond, of Carlisle, is the former chief counsel for the Pennsylvania Department of State and a member of the advisory council of Keep Our Republic, a civic education nonprofit.