There I was, standing outside a home in 20 degree weather and from about 8 feet back. I was talking as loud as was normal about my plans if I were elected to Aspinwall Council. It came to that pivotal time when I would ask if the individual would sign my petition to appear on the ballot. But then, he asked a great question, “Where can I e-sign online?”
I had spoken to him for about five minutes and it was clear that he was willing to sign my petition, but to him, it was a pandemic and there were attendant risks in signing my petition with an ink pen. I had to respond that “Unfortunately, Pennsylvania doesn’t allow for electronic petition signatures,” and move on.
He was right to ask. It’s 2021 and we are dealing with a dire pandemic. Why on earth am I asking people to sign with my pen? (To be clear, I am sanitizing my pen after every signature). The simple answer is that Pennsylvania requires “wet signatures” on election petitions. This is not the case everywhere however, in 2012, Arizona implemented E-Qual. This is a system that allows voters to sign petitions online through a website. Both Denver, Colorado and Washington, DC also have E-sign capabilities. Even New Jersey’s Governor issued an executive order to allow for e-signatures during this pandemic.
The primary ways to change the law are by statute or executive order. However, neither method was pushed forward in Pennsylvania despite increasing Covid-19 numbers. Working towards common sense changes in our community and throughout Pennsylvania is just one reason why I want to work on Aspinwall Council. I may not be able to gather e-signatures this year, but you can anticipate that I work towards lifting the “wet signature” requirement during times of a pandemic or outbreak like we are currently experiencing.
BallotPedia, “Methods For Signing Candidates Nomination Petitions,” online available at: https://ballotpedia.org/Methods_for_signing_candidate_nominating_petitions (Accessed 2/18/2021).