At Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of State Al Schmidt’s initial confirmation hearing on Wednesday, many senators inquired about the commonwealth’s participation in a controversial voter data-sharing program.
Schmidt, a moderate Republican former Philadelphia city commissioner who subsequently was president of the left-leaning nonprofit Committee of Seventy, will sit for a second hearing covering non-electoral issues his department oversees (e.g., professional licensure). But Senate State Government Committee Chair Cris Dush (R-Bellefonte) suggested discussion of Pennsylvania’s participation in the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) will come up then as well.
At a Pennsylvania Senate hearing Tuesday, Republican Philadelphia City Commissioner Seth Bluestein joined his two Democratic colleagues in supporting continued allowance of private grants for election administration.
Left-wing nonprofits, particularly the Chicago-based Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), awarded many such grants to election offices in Pennsylvania and across America in 2020. The organization received $350 million that year from Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.
Philadelphia City Council on Thursday confirmed Seth Bluestein, a longtime aide to retired City Commissioner Al Schmidt, to replace his former boss.
Like Schmidt, Bluestein is a Republican who will serve in the minority-party seat on the three-member board which oversees elections in Philadelphia. After the former was first elected in 2011, Bluestein joined his staff and eventually rose to the position of chief deputy. Last autumn, Schmidt announced he would leave his position to head the Committee of Seventy, an advocacy group working on governance issues.