Dec. 14, 2021

HARRISBURG – Legislation authored by Rep. Eric Nelson (R-Westmoreland) to prohibit all county election officials and the secretary of Commonwealth from accepting private contributions and donations to administer elections has been passed by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

House Bill 2044 would specifically prohibit any contribution to counties or the state for the purposes of operating elections, employing staff, equipping polling places or engaging in voter outreach.

“This bill addresses a major concern brought forth during the 2020 election, that the lure of private money has seeped into the election system. Email evidence has proven Pennsylvania’s highest election officials notified specific counties of grant opportunities weeks before other counties were made aware,” Nelson said. “Our state’s highest offices were vulnerable to perversion by deep pockets with private election contracts. It is just plain wrong, and this bill will stop it.”

Data indicates that money from nonprofit entities, such as the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), was granted in a generous manner to only certain counties. For example, Philadelphia County received nearly $9 per registered voter from the CTCL while several other counties received less than $2 per registered voter.

“Harrisburg’s job is to make certain that polls are accessible to every voter and that elections are held freely and fairly. Harrisburg’s job is not to funnel private election dollars to cherry-picked counties,” Nelson said. “Eliminating these kinds of grants is a strong means to maintaining election integrity.”

The measure will now be considered by the Senate.

The 57th Legislative District includes the following Westmoreland County communities: the city of Greensburg; the townships of Hempfield (part) and Salem; and the boroughs of Delmont, Hunker, New Stanton, South Greensburg, Southwest Greensburg and Youngwood.

Representative Eric Nelson
57th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives