Pennsylvania’s Constitutional Amendment Is Dangerous: An Opinion

Elections have consequences. We hear that statement every election season, and the 2022 election is no exception.

Who we elect at the November 8th General Assembly could shift the balance of power, stop efforts to amend the state constitution to eliminate abortion rights and impose stricter voter ID requirements.

During the final days of summer vacation, members of the Pennsylvania legislature rushed through a series of major constitutional amendments through the first stage of legislative approval. They were able to do this by waiving the rules so the vote could take place after 11pm.

Undoubtedly, amending the Constitution is a big deal as it is the foundation upon which our state government rests. The Constitution should not be amended in lieu of legislation to circumvent the governor’s veto and deprive individuals of their rights. This should not be accomplished by late-night, last-minute procedural manipulation.

This law will change the political landscape in several ways.

  • The State Constitution does not confer any rights related to abortion, nor does it declare that it has the right to provide public funding for the procedure. to eliminate the means of challenging the law that
  • Gives legislative power to suspend any regulation with a simple majority vote not subject to the governor’s signature or veto power. This change would significantly alter the separation and balance of powers as defined in the Pennsylvania Constitution.
  • Limit the types of voter IDs approved and require voters to present their ID at every race, even if they have been voting in a constituency for many years. The amendment does not require the government to make an approved form of voter ID widely available to voters.
  • Requires an audit of elections by the Comptroller General that fosters a lack of confidence in election administration at both the county and state levels.
  • Change the lieutenant governor election process, stripping voters of the power to elect lieutenant governors and allowing political parties to select their candidates instead.

As required by the Constitution, the Secretary of State has published announcements of the proposed constitutional amendments in local newspapers in August, September and October.

The bulletin informs voters about the constitutional amendment process and the nature of the proposed changes.

You may ask: If the proposed amendment was not included in the November ballot, why is this information important to know now?

In order for the constitutional amendment to be put on the ballot, it must pass the bill without change in the next parliament, which begins in January 2023. From the May 16, 2023 primary vote, at the latest he will be on the November 2024 general election vote. Who is elected at the November 8 General Assembly will determine whether constitutional amendments pass his second round.

What You Can Do: Learn about this law. The League of Women Voters has created a helpful explainer.

Ask any candidate running for the state House and Senate their position on these proposed constitutional amendments and how they would vote if they were elected or re-elected.

Use the November 8th poll to send your message against these proposed constitutional amendments and the process used to put them on the ballot. And I don’t want to see them in the 2023 or 2024 polls.

Weisenberg Township resident Rochelle Kaplan is the Director of Voter Services for the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s Constitutional Amendment Is Dangerous: An Opinion

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