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Each legislative session thousands of bills and amendments are introduced in the Pennsylvania Legislature. Only a fraction become law, and an even smaller portion receive wide media coverage.

These bills impact the lives of people living in Pennsylvania every day.

Each week The Sentinel will highlight one bill that has not received widespread attention.

About the bill

Voting is a civic duty.

Whether it is for local, state or national office, the ability to go into a voting booth and cast a ballot to decide who will provide representation in government is one of the main underpinnings of the American democratic system.

But, on the way to the voting booth, voters almost inevitably are met by people making one final pitch to get them, or the candidate they support, elected.

Rep. John McGinnis, R-Montgomery County, has introduced a bill that would move those people back and provide voters easier access to the polls.

Currently, individuals are allowed to be within 10 feet of the polls doing things like promoting candidates or issues on Election Day, so long as they do not block access to the polling place.

McGinnis’ House Bill 1589 would change that.

“My proposal would be to extend the distance to 100 feet where voters will feel secure and be undisturbed as they engage in their civic duty,” McGinnis wrote in a co-sponsorship letter.

More than 30 states have an electioneering-free zone of at least 100 feet, according to McGinnis, and roughly a dozen more have zones of 200 feet. Pennsylvania is currently tied with New Hampshire for the smallest electioneering-free zones.

Only two other states have zones of less the 50 feet, according to McGinnis.

Those are Alabama at 30 feet and Virginia at 40 feet, McGinnis wrote in his co-sponsorship letter.

McGinnis wrote that his bill will “make voting in Pennsylvania a more positive experience for voters.”

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