Mastriano Bill to Allow Out-of-County Poll Watchers in Pennsylvania Passes Senate

Pennsylvania’s state Senate passed legislation this week that would permit a Pennsylvania voter to serve as a poll watcher in an election precinct outside of his or her county.

Current law lets candidates and parties appoint poll watchers — volunteers who are often party committee members — to election precincts only in those watchers’ respective counties. State guidance allows these appointees to “make good-faith challenges” to an elector’s residence, identity or voting eligibility.

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Oz’s Counsel to Commonwealth Court: ‘The Voters of Pennsylvania Have Spoken’

Attorneys for Senate candidate Dave McCormick on Monday found themselves in the atypical position of arguing in Commonwealth Court alongside Pennsylvania’s Democratic Secretary of State about which ballots to count.

The Republican and former hedge-fund executive is challenging the vote-counting standard that has determined the gap of 922 votes between him and his leading primary opponent, celebrity surgeon Mehmet Oz.

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Pennsylvania GOP and National GOP Side with Oz on Undated Absentee Ballots

The Republican National Committee joined Pennsylvania’s Republican Party this week in a legal effort to effectively help Mehmet Oz sew up last Tuesday’s Senate primary election battle against rival Dave McCormick.

As of Tuesday afternoon, McCormick is 982 votes behind the celebrity surgeon, though vote counting hasn’t concluded. Tuesday marked the final day that absentee military ballots could arrive at their respective counties and still get counted. What impact those final military votes will have on the race remains to be seen, though it bears observing that McCormick himself served in the U.S. Army and noted that fact well throughout his campaign. 

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Pennsylvania Activists Prioritize End of No-Excuse Absentee Voting

A coalition of more than 70 grassroots organizations across Pennsylvania issued a declaration at the state’s Capitol Building in Harrisburg last week urging lawmakers to repeal no-excuse absentee voting. 

The activists would end a provision of Act 77 of 2019, a law passed by the state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly, which permits Keystone State residents to vote via absentee or mail-in ballot without stating an excuse. Formerly, valid reasons for voting away from the polls mainly included out-of-town travel and illness. 

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Corman to Bannon: Election Integrity Will Be Paramount in Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Administration

Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore and gubernatorial candidate Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) appeared on Steve Bannon’s War Room Thursday to discuss his proposed reforms to make elections more secure in his state.

Corman promised to call for a special legislative session on election-related legislation the day he takes office. Items he said he intends to address foremost are requiring identification of all voters, rescinding a state policy allowing people to vote by mail without submitting an excuse, banning absentee-ballot drop boxes and banning the use of private grants for election administration.

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Pennsylvania Senate Passes Election Integrity Measures

Pennsylvania Republican Senators this week celebrated their chamber’s passage of two pieces of election-security legislation.

One bill, sponsored by state Sen. Cris Dush (R-Wellsboro), would prohibit the use of drop boxes to collect mail-in and absentee ballots. The other, sponsored by Sens. Lisa Baker (R-Dallas) and Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-Jacobus), would bar state or county employees from approving the use of private donations to fund election administration.

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Arizona Attorney General’s Report Recommends Election Reforms Similar to Those Sought in Pennsylvania

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) released a report this week on elections in his state—focusing especially on Maricopa County—advocating similar election reforms to those Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers currently seek.

While the report did not make criminal allegations regarding recent elections, it did declare that Arizona’s election system suffers from major procedural vulnerabilities including insufficient time to confirm signatures on ballots submitted during early voting and problems with the chain of custody for ballots placed in drop boxes. Altogether, the attorney general estimates that between 100,000 and 200,000 early ballots were transported without proper protocol being followed.

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Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Denies That Ballot Harvesting Occurred

A Montgomery County, Pennsylvania administrator this week responded to the local Republican Party’s allegations of “ballot harvesting,” insisting that video surveillance does not show that it occurred.

As The Pennsylvania Daily Star reported, Montgomery County Republican Committee (MCRC) Chair Liz Preate Havey addressed the county Board of Commissioners last Thursday regarding numerous election-integrity concerns. She mentioned video footage of a woman depositing handfuls of ballots into a drop box in Upper Dublin Township in the run-up to the 2021 general election. Such drop boxes have been in use in Pennsylvania for absentee-ballot delivery since 2020. 

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Montgomery County, Pennsylvania GOP Asks Commissioners to Consider Election Reforms

NORRISTOWN, PA—Montgomery County, Pennsylvania’s Republican Party yesterday asked the county’s Democrat-controlled Board of Elections to consider several election-security measures, mainly regarding absentee voting.

At a County Commissioners’ meeting, Montgomery County Republican Committee (MCRC) Chair Liz Preate Havey said the reforms her organization proposes will curb alleged breaches of law and foulups in administration that have already taken place in the county during recent elections.

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Tea Party Patriots Action Tours Pennsylvania to Champion Election Integrity

Tea Party Patriots Action (TPPA), a national conservative nonprofit, began a tour of Pennsylvania Monday to emphasize the importance of election integrity.

TPPA kicked off the trek in Grove City and has since visited Du Bois, State College and Altoona. The organization plans to push eastward, penultimately visiting Philadelphia on March 29 and finally the state capital of Harrisburg on March 30. At each stop, organizers will impress upon audiences the need for both legislative reforms and for citizen involvement to improve voting and vote-count processes. Toward that end, TPPA is recruiting citizens for local election integrity task forces to aid area elections.

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Keeps Mail-In Voting in Place

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Tuesday ruled that controversial mail-in voting laws will remain in place for now.

Republicans argue that those laws, which have been in place for two years and were struck down by Commonwealth Court Senior Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt on February 16, violate the Pennsylvania Constitution. 

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Pennsylvania State Rep. Diamond Working on Ending No-Excuse Mail-In Voting Whether or Not It Survives the Courts

As Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) appeals a court ruling against no-excuse absentee voting, a state representative hopes to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to decisively end the practice.

A bill authored by Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon), who is also running for lieutenant governor, would explicitly limit mail-in voting to those who are sick, injured or traveling. This status quo existed before Wolf signed Act 77 in October 2019. 

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Ruling Against No-Excuse Mail-In Voting in Pennsylvania Appealed

Although Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court on Friday invalidated the law that has allowed no-excuse mail-in voting since 2020, the state’s appeal of the ruling means the decision is not yet in effect.

State officials, represented by Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro, will likely face a much friendlier forum in the state Supreme Court, which is controlled by Democrats in contrast to the Republican-majority Commonwealth Court. Democrats denounced the latter court’s ruling and pointed out that Republican legislators overwhelmingly voted for Act 77, which allowed Pennsylvanian’s who were not sick, injured or out of town to vote via absentee ballot.

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Pennsylvania Decision Against Counting Undated Mail Ballots Prompts Supreme Court Appeal

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court this week ruled that 257 flawed ballots in a Lehigh County judgeship election cannot be counted, prompting Democratic candidate Zachary Cohen to announce a state Supreme-Court appeal. 

Excluding these mail-in ballots, which contain no date on their return envelopes, puts Republican David Ritter 74 votes ahead of Cohen in their contest for Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas judge, in which about 22,000 total votes were cast. Ritter initially sued in county court to exclude 261 ballots, four of which displayed a date, albeit not on the correct line. Trial Judge Edward D. Reibman (D) handed down a ruling favorable to Cohen, spurring Ritter to appeal to the Commonwealth Court which handles litigation between governing entities, public officials and candidates. 

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REVIEW: Hemingway’s ‘Rigged’ a Bone Chilling Page-Turner into the 2020 Election

Person with mask on at a computer.

We are a year overdue for the true story of the 2020 elections. Mollie Hemingway has at last delivered it to us in one tidy volume.

It’s a complex story, which makes for a weighty book. The research is thorough, the writing is evidentiary, the style is clinical—like investigative journalism and social science used to be. The endnotes alone run nearly 100 pages. 

Reading Rigged, one isn’t jarred by hyperbole, conjecture, or spin. Hemingway is unequivocal on progressive malice, yet she can be scathing of Republicans, too. She is particularly critical of Rudy Giuliani’s attempts to publicize fraud nationally, thereby undermining prior case-by-case efforts to get particular state courts to recognize particular violations of particular state laws. 

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