HARRISBURG – Working to restore public trust among citizens in the state’s elections, Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) joined a majority of House lawmakers today in approving legislation that would prohibit any third-party funding of the state’s elections.
“It’s fundamentally wrong to allow outside interests to have ANY say in how our Commonwealth – or any state – administers elections for their citizens,” Owlett said during debate in the House Tuesday. “It’s our job to debate those terms here and not allow outside interests to influence it.”
House Bill 2044
would prohibit all county election officials and the secretary of the Commonwealth from accepting private contributions and donations for the purpose of operating elections, employing staff, selecting and equipping a polling place, or for use in voter education or outreach.
In November 2020, organizations including the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) awarded millions in grants to the state, primarily in urban counties and with strings attached as to how the money had to be used. Specifically, data shows Philadelphia County received nearly $9 per registered voter from the CTCL while several other counties received less than $2 per registered voter. Many others received no funding.
“Taking outside money for our elections is bad public policy, bad for the Commonwealth and bad for voters,” Owlett said. “While I am certainly disturbed by HOW this money was doled out, the mere idea that any non-government entity was ‘investing’ in our elections is the real problem. House Bill 2044 will ensure this never happens again.”
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Clint Owlett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives