Garret responded to the League of Women Voters’ Vote411 questionnaire. Vote411 is a website that provides information on who will be on your ballot when you go to vote, so you can learn more about all the candidates before making a decision. Vote411 also asks a few questions of all candidates about their support for elections and voting reform.
The questions and responses are given below:
Access to the ballot box is one of the most important rights for a citizen. Although Pennsylvania recently modernized its election code, there are other reforms that would further modernize Pennsylvania’s elections. If elected, what reforms would you support to ensure that all citizens who want to vote are able to securely, privately, and independently cast a ballot?
Transportation is a major barrier for many voters, particularly in suburban areas without good public transit. A temporary fix would be state funding for municipalities to provide shuttle service on election day to all residents; long term, we need to expand public transit services. Let’s have state funding to pay poll workers more so we can recruit more workers and have more voting locations open, so there’s minimal wait time. Both poll workers and voters need the time off work to serve and vote; that time should include enough time to learn more about all the candidates on the ballot. I support making election day a statewide paid holiday. Automatic and same-day voter registration must also be implemented. Many states already do so.
While there have been some positive legislative actions recently, partisan gridlock in Harrisburg has taken its toll, and many people feel that Pennsylvania’s state government is dysfunctional. What types of reforms, if any, would you support to make the legislative process in Harrisburg more effective?
Gridlock and dysfunction come from hyper-partisanship, “top-down” control by a few top party officials, and lack of accountability for legislators. I support mending legislative rules to allow legislation to advance to a vote when it has sufficient co-sponsors and support, instead of letting party or committee leaders hold up bills indefinitely even when those bills have large legislative and popular support. Partisanship can be lessened with ranked choice voting, which research has shown tends to result in more “friendly” elections and less extreme candidates that know how to compromise. Ending gerrymandering and easing ballot access requirements allows more candidates so voters have choices to hold incumbents accountable for dysfunction.
Do you support a state constitutional amendment to form an independent commission to redraw Congressional and legislative districts? Why or why not?
I support establishing an independent redistricting commission, as long as it is truly independent of the legislature and represents ALL voters (meaning registered minor party, political body, and independent voters must be represented too, not just Democrats and Republicans). I also support adopting ranked choice voting and multi-winner districts (a form of proportional representation) to fully address gerrymandering. Ranked candidates in multi-winner districts allow us to elect multiple people at once from a single, larger district, making gerrymandering for all seats all but impossible. These reforms were historically used in many US cities to end the rule of party bosses and ensure diverse community representation in government.
2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, many barriers still exist for people with disabilities. What will you do as a state legislator to improve accessibility for people with disabilities across the Commonwealth?
One complaint I hear from neighbors is the poor condition of roads and sidewalks in our region. I support more state funding to ensure sidewalks and crosswalks that are accessible by wheelchair as well as for deaf or blind folks. In general, municipalities must be expected to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act. If funds are not available to do so, then I will work with municipalities to secure needed state funding, and will advocate for greater state funding to be available. A shrug and no action from municipal authorities is unacceptable.
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