LEWISBURG – Congressman Fred Keller (R-Pa. 12) acknowledged on Thursday that mail-in balloting was a viable way to vote.
Keller made a distinction between the two-stage process, as practiced in Pennsylvania, and mass mailing of ballots.
“Maybe mailing out an application for a ballot is different than mailing out a ballot,” Keller said. “Say for some reason the voter rolls don’t get changed and we mail a ballot to somebody that has moved, there should be a way that if it gets returned there should be a way that if it gets returned there is some identification on it to make sure the election is secure.”
Keller, in a telephone interview, noted it was up to each state to run elections. He added that Act 77 of 2019 introduced mail-in balloting for the spring primary and allowed registration closer to the date of an election.
The topic of mail-in balloting was the subject of recent presidential scrutiny. Other states, notably California, have declared that all voters be sent a mail-in ballot for the General Election.
Keller advised caution as things proceed.
“Ballots can get lost, things can happen,” Keller said. “I’d want to make sure there is some accountability there.”
To date, vote-by-mail has received favorable comments among local officials and election overseers like the League of Women Voters of the Lewisburg Area.
Keller sided with the minority last week in voting against a $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill. It was the latest proposal to follow the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act, a measure which passed in March with broad bipartisan support.
Keller said there was much in the latest bill which had nothing to do with pandemic recovery. He claimed the 1,800 page bill “mentioned cannabis more than it mentioned the economy.”
Fellow Republicans also balked at the latest measure.
“A lot money in the CARES Act hasn’t been put out to the different areas,” Keller added. “The best stimulus is a job. We need to make sure that we look at what is happening in our communities and what we are doing to reopen our economy safely.”
Keller suggested Gov. Tom Wolf safely open up the economy. He said it would be a show of confidence that citizens, small business and its employees can flatten or reduce the curve of coronavirus while safely tending to commerce.
Keller had hoped to attend Memorial Day observances at the Selinsgrove VFW before proceedings were canceled. Keller said he would in the meantime find other ways to honor Americans who died in military service.