After Pennsylvania Court Ruling on Absentee Voting, Republicans Renew Call for Reform

This week’s decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upholding Act 77 which legalized no-excuse absentee voting in the Keystone State is spurring Republican lawmakers to renew their push for election reform. 

A Republican-led legislature passed and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 77 three years ago. Moderate Democratic Senator Lisa Boscola (D-Bethlehem) initially drafted the bill to get rid of straight-party voting, a policy on which Republican legislators largely agreed with her. More Democrats came around to support the measure once a section was added allowing voters to cast mail-in ballots without providing a reason they could not come to the polls (i.e., illness, injury or travel). 

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New Report: Pennsylvania Suffers from ‘Myriad of Election Issues’

Pennsylvania House State Government Committee Chairman Seth Grove (R-York) released a report Tuesday detailing “a myriad of election issues” in the Keystone State. 

Speaking to reporters at the Capitol Building, Grove reviewed his findings, including inconsistent vote-counting rules, ballot harvesting, fraud and administrative errors. The new report is the third he has issued concerning election problems since November 2020. 

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U.S. Senate Hopeful Lamon: I Would Not Have Voted to Certify Arizona’s Electors Jan. 6, 2021

Neil W. McCabe, the national political editor of The Star News Network, interviewed Arizona GOP Senate hopeful Jim Lamon after his town hall with supporters in Sun City. Lamon told TSNN he would not have voted to certify Arizona’s electors Jan. 6, 2021.

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Pennsylvania Lawmaker Proposes ‘Office of Election Crimes and Security’

Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg) announced on Thursday he intends to draft legislation creating an Office of Election Crimes and Security.

The new division within the Pennsylvania Department of State would be charged with probing all alleged violations of voting laws. The proposed bill also targets “ballot harvesting,” the illegal practice of hand-delivering absentee ballots — usually by depositing them in election drop boxes — on behalf of voters other than oneself. Currently, state law treats ballot harvesting as a misdemeanor; Mastriano’s measure would make it a third-degree felony.

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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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Bill Introduced to Correct Pennsylvania’s Voter Records

Pennsylvania State Sen. Ryan Aument (R-Lititz) announced yesterday he has introduced a bill to correct errors in the state’s voter record-keeping system.

In Dec. 2019, a report by Democratic then-Auditor General Eugene DePasquale detailed a host of problems with that system, known as the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors (SURE). Within that registry, which is maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of State, DePasquale and his staff discovered 24,408 cases of the same driver’s license (DL) number being indicated on multiple voter records. They also found 2,991 voter records containing information matching that on state Department of Health deceased files.

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Pauses Examination of Fulton County Voting Machines

Pennsylvania Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee contractor Envoy Sage cannot yet gather data from Fulton County’s election devices according to a Friday order of the state Supreme Court.

That directive stays part of a recent Commonwealth-Court ruling that allows the investigation to proceed. Fulton County’s commissioners have voted to comply with the Senate probe, which is part of a broader examination of the 2020 and 2021 Pennsylvania elections and has been spearheaded by the committee’s Republican Chairman Cris Dush (R-Wellsboro). The Democrat-run Pennsylvania Department of State and the voting machines’ manufacturer Dominion Voting Systems are litigating to stop it.

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Voter-Integrity Amendments Pass the Pennsylvania House

A set of amendments to the Pennsylvania Constitution, including a voter-identification requirement, passed the state House of Representatives this week on nearly party-line votes.

To become part of the state Constitution, the proposed amendments must pass in two consecutive sessions of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and must gain approval by a majority of voters in an election. State House members voted on these measures as amendments to a Senate bill that would let gubernatorial candidates select their own running mates, whereas current law lets Pennsylvanians vote to elect nominees for lieutenant governor.

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Wisconsin Election Commissioners to Respond to Audit in December

The head of the Wisconsin Elections Commission is promising to answer what she says are “misconceptions and misunderstandings” from the state’s recent audit into the 2020 election.

WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe on Thursday said she and the commission will address the finding of the Legislative Audit Bureau report at the commission’s December meeting.

“We’re pleased that overall, the LAB report confirmed the November 2020 general election was conducted accurately and fairly,” Wolfe said in a statement. “And while there’s always more to be done to ensure consistent election administration in Wisconsin, and we’re working on that every day, we also know there are some misconceptions and misunderstandings built into the LAB’s findings, and that record needs to be corrected.”

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