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GOP Files Lawsuit to Ensure Election Integrity in PA Midterms

With only weeks until the important midterm elections, the acting secretary of state ordered counties to disregard a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court requiring mail-in and absentee ballot envelopes to be signed and dated.

On Oct. 11, acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman sent a directive to county election officials saying the high court’s order was “not based on the merits of the issue.”

“It provides no justification for counties to exclude ballots based on a minor omission and we expect that counties will continue to comply with their obligation to count all legal votes,” Chapman wrote in that directive.

The state and national Republican committees, along with some voters, are crying foul.

They filed a “King’s Bench” lawsuit asking the state Supreme Court to order Chapman to follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s order.

In a joint statement, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer, and Pennsylvania GOP Chairman Lawrence Tabas said, “As the Pennsylvania legislature and U.S. Supreme Court have made clear, undated mail-in ballots should not be counted. Republicans are holding Pennsylvania Democrats accountable for their brazen defiance of the (U.S.) Supreme Court and the rules duly set by the legislature. Pennsylvania Democrats have a history of election integrity failures and Pennsylvanians deserve better: this lawsuit is the latest step in Republican efforts to promote free, fair, and transparent elections in the Keystone State.”

In May 2022 the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled ballots with undated envelopes should be counted. The issue stemmed from the close Republican primary that resulted in a lawsuit between Dr. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick.

The 3rd Circuit panel held that handwritten dates on the envelopes do not affect voters’ eligibility. Also, that court ruled voters’ civil rights would be violated if their ballots were tossed due to the omission of a date.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected that finding and upheld Pennsylvania’s election law as written.

The mail-in ballots have been a bone of contention since Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf signed a law, Act 77 that permits no-excuse absentee ballots. While the legislature passed that law with a bipartisan vote, many Republican lawmakers now believe it should be changed, especially since former President Donald Trump blamed mail-in ballots and drop boxes as part of the reason he lost the state of Pennsylvania to President Joe Biden in 2020. However, court challenges to Act 77 have failed to overturn that law, which remains in place.

Wolf appointed Chapman as acting secretary in January. At that time, former Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McSwain, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, decried her as someone too partisan to be confirmed by the legislature. Chapman had previously worked for Deliver My Vote, which is nonpartisan under the tax code; McSwain noted its “founders are on record saying they are pushing mail-in voting to help Democrats” get elected. Deliver My Vote promotes mail-in balloting that “specifically favors Democrats,” said McSwain.

The GOP suit asks the court to order counties to segregate any undated ballots from ballots filed correctly. While some counties plan to do that, others do not which would result in “unequal treatment” of voters, violating the constitution.

“Any counting of ballots that the General Assembly has declared invalid—and the lack of statewide uniformity in the treatment of undated or incorrectly dated ballots—are eroding public trust and confidence in the integrity of Pennsylvania’s elections at a vital moment in the nation’s and the Commonwealth’s history,” the suit said. “The court therefore should take immediate action to uphold the General Assembly’s date requirement and to set aside the secretary’s invalid guidance.”

Liz Preate Havey, chair of the Montgomery County Republican Committee, said Montgomery County will segregate ballots with errors.

“It just leads to more and more distrust. We do have these drop boxes where we’ve seen time and time again, we have video, where over 100 people doing multiple drops in one election cycle. We’re just asking for reasonable election integrity measures to be in place,” said Havey.  If there is a problem with someone’s mail-in ballot, they can go to their polling place and vote by provisional ballot.

“The Bucks County Board of Elections will segregate ballots arriving in misdated and undated envelopes. Those ballots will be included in reported vote totals, but will be scanned separately so those votes can be subtracted if necessary,” said a county spokesman.

James Allen, director of Voter Services for Delaware County said, “We will handle this the same way we did during the Primary. We will process the ballots from undated envelopes in a separate batch, so that if we receive yet another court ruling or different guidance from the Department of State, we would have the option to back out that batch.”

“It’s still too early to give a definitive answer on how Chester County will proceed.  The Board is considering the status of the law in Pennsylvania and will make a decision soon,” said Rebecca Brain, a spokeswoman for the county.

Republican Guy Ciarrocchi, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Berks/Chester), criticized her for a voter education town hall with Chapman that Houlahan held on October 13.

“The chief elections’ official in Pennsylvania has defied the US Supreme Court—and, then directed every county join her in defiance. She then spoke at the Houlahan town hall—essentially a campaign event. Chapman has failed in her primary duty—to be an impartial election official to instill trust.

Houlahan has shown bad judgment in using taxpayers’ money for the event—and, compounded the error by having Chapman speak at her town hall. Sadly, Houlahan continues to act like a partisan politician; not the bipartisan problem solver she alleges in her ads. Actions speak louder than words,” Ciarrocchi said.

Houlahan’s campaign spokesperson, Shane Wolfe said, “This criticism is not only wrong on the merit, but seems to come from a place of misunderstanding the job of our public servants. The town hall had absolutely nothing to do with politics or campaigning. It did have to do with public servants doing their jobs to make themselves available and inform the public — regardless of party affiliation — about how to safely and securely exercise their right to vote. If election officials should not answer these questions now, when voters have questions, when should they?”

In a press release after the town hall, Houlahan said, “Representing a purple community means educating all community members, regardless of political affiliation, on how to cast their ballot. Last night, we had a straightforward conversation about the voting process and answered questions on a wide range of concerns. I will continue to share resources with all constituents who reach out, and I encourage all eligible Pennsylvanians to exercise their constitutional right to vote.”

Chapman did not respond to requests for comment.

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Bucks County Republican Club Fights for Election Integrity

The Pennridge Area Republican Club takes election integrity seriously.

It has been asking politicians to sign a pledge that includes support for requiring voters’ photo identification, proof of citizenship, proof of residency, and ending no-excuse mail-in ballots, with only absentee ballots as provided in the law before Act 77. It also wants voters to use paper ballots.

At least five state senators, including Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, have signed so far according to Pennridge member Stephen Sinclair. Another 16 state representatives, along with county commissioners and sheriffs, have signed the declaration as well. And a growing number of candidates running for the State House are on board, too.

“One of our local state representatives, Craig Staats, who serves the 145th District (the north and northeast region of Bucks County) has committed to this effort,” Sinclair said.

Club president Kim Bedillion said, “Millions of Americans have lost confidence in the election process. State laws were amended without consent, outside money was used to boost vote counts in certain areas, poll watchers were not permitted access to watch the process, drop boxes went unmonitored, and the list goes on. It is important to our Republic that voters remain engaged in the election process. To that end, we must restore confidence in our elections.”

“Our club members are committed to restoring election integrity to Pennsylvania. Our election integrity committee is meeting with local election officials and law enforcement, petitioning legislators, and recruiting poll watchers. That is part of the DNA of our club. We don’t just complain about a problem. We roll up our sleeves and get to work on the solution,” she said.

Since Pennsylvania adopted Act 77, which permitted mail-in ballots and the state Supreme Court added drop boxes, residents have complained about an opaque process that might be a venue for voter fraud.

At a rally in Wilkes-Barre Saturday night, former President Donald Trump mentioned Act 77 and called on the state legislature to repeal it. He also urged voters to go out in person on Election Day, rather than mailing in their ballots or using drop boxes. Trump rallied in support of Mastriano and Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican running for the U.S. Senate.

Although a Commonwealth Court judge ruled Act 77 unconstitutional, the state Supreme Court, which has a 5-2 Democrat majority, overturned that decision.

The Pennridge Republican Club meets the second Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. at Keelersville Club, 2522 Ridge Road in Perkasie.

On Sept. 14, Diane Haring will discuss how to submit Right-to-Know requests to school districts. Megan Brock, a mother who is fighting Bucks County for documents related to the county’s COVID policy and a possible cover-up, is also expected to talk to the group.

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Veteran GOP Operative Caputo Says PA Supreme Court Playing Politics With Act 77

The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court on Tuesday voted 7-2 to overturn a lower court ruling that found  Pennsylvania’s Act 77 violates the state’s constitution. In a recent Delaware Valley Journal podcast, veteran GOP operative Michael Caputo, an outspoken opponent of Act 77, explained why he believes the Supreme Court is putting partisan politics ahead of Pennsylvania law.

Caputo spoke before the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“The Supreme Court had hearings and then stayed the decision of the lower court, which basically overturned Act 77, (The Commonwealth Court) ruled it unconstitutional,” Caputo said. The Commonwealth Court “spelled it out very clearly,” he said.

Michael Caputo

“I worked with Doug McLinko, a county commissioner and an election official from Bradford County, on his challenge of the act,” said Caputo. “He was the primary…plaintiff on the lawsuit that overturned Act 77, which is the legislature-driven, no excuse mail-in ballots law that led to massive, massive use of mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania in 2020.”

While the Commonwealth Court found it unconstitutional because the constitution calls for “in-person voting,” with a few excuses for absentee voting, the state Supreme Court disagreed.

“The Commonwealth Court decision on Act 77 and McLinko v. Pennsylvania spelled it out and said, ‘Look, this is unconstitutional. But the voters in Pennsylvania appear to like no excuse, mail-in ballots, so they need to amend the constitution. Until the constitution is amended, this is going to remain unconstitutional,'” he said.

“I believe the state Supreme Court knows that and still wants the public to have no excuse mail-in balloting at their disposal for the general election,” said Caputo. “I, for the life of me, can’t see the technical reason why they would demand that and allow it. I do have my suspicions, of course.

“Many of the Republican state legislators took a long time to understand just how much they had tilted the entire election of the nation by writing this unconstitutional law in their own state. For many, many months, over a year, they could not take the blame for what they had done…The problem is we’re going to go through the midterm, I think, with no-excuse mail-in ballots because it took so long for any effective legislative fix.

“Act 77 needs to be repealed entirely,” Caputo said.  “And if the Democrats and even some Republicans want no excuse, mail-in ballots, they need to amend the constitution.  The problem is…there’s no way to pass a constitutional amendment to get mail-in ballots for the 2024 presidential election. It’s a conundrum for Democrats, including Democrats on the Supreme Court because they really want that ability to have no excuse mail-in ballots in the presidential (election) just two years from now.”

Asked if mail-in ballots were one reason former President Donald Trump lost Pennsylvania in 2020, Caputo said, “I do believe that. I’ve seen some reports done by Pennsylvania investigators, Pennsylvania lawyers, Wally Zimolong, the attorney on our case, makes a great case that this led to widespread fraud.”

 

 

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PA Supreme Court Upholds No-Excuse Mail-In Ballots

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Tuesday upheld the no-excuse mail-in ballot law, overturning a previous decision by the Commonwealth Court ruling Act 77 was unconstitutional.

In a 7-2 decision, the high court held the state legislature had the power to write election law, which changed a longtime process in Pennsylvania that had required voters to give a valid reason when they wanted to vote by absentee ballots. It also led to ballot drop boxes, which critics have complained brought ballot-harvesting, where people illegally turned in numerous ballots.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is the Democratic candidate for governor, welcomed the decision.

“With this ruling, the court has provided certainty to voters — certainty that however people cast their vote, in person or by mail, it will be counted. After two years of consistent attacks on our election system and our voters, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stated loud and clear that Act 77, which modernized our election code, is constitutional,” said Shapiro. “We must continue to stand up to attacks by those who want to pick and choose the laws to follow and the votes to count.”

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican running for governor, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Wally Zimolong, a lawyer involved in the case said, “We are disappointed by today’s ruling. It is an outcome-based opinion used to justify overturning 160 years of judicial precedent and redefining the phrase ‘offer to vote.’ We believe that we made a clear, concise, and constitutional argument that permitting mail-in ballots required a constitutional amendment. The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania agreed with our position and, unfortunately, the Supreme Court did not. This is also a reminder that elections matter and changes to Act 77 must be made at the ballot box.”

During a recent DVJournal podcast, longtime GOP political operative Michael Caputo also made the case that the state Supreme Court is playing politics and ignoring the clear language of the law. “We’re going to go through the midterms, I think, with no-excuse mail-in ballots because it took so long for any effective legislative fix. Act 77 needs to be repealed entirely,” Caputo said.

Linda Kerns, a Philadelphia attorney who handles election law cases, said, “Justice (Kevin) Brobson’s dissenting opinion boiled it down to, ‘The majority overruled 160 years of this Court’s precedent to save a law that is not yet three years old.’ I found it peculiar, as did Justice (Sallie) Mundy in her dissent, that the majority spent so much time discussing the so-called popularity of the law and who voted for it or signed it. None of that has anything to do with whether it should survive a challenge under the Pennsylvania Constitution.

“Until now, our Supreme Court has consistently placed a check on the legislature when they tried in the past to expand voting by means other than in person,” Kerns said. “Based on its other election-related decisions, I am not surprised by this ruling but I believe that the Court failed Pennsylvanians in what appears to be a zeal to protect no excuse mail balloting, whatever the cost,” Kerns said.

 

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Rep. Grove Says Federal Court Ruling May Invalidate Mail-In Ballot Law

A Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against the signature requirement of Act 77 –the 2019 law that gave Pennsylvania no excuse, mail-in ballots– may have triggered a “non-severability clause” in that law invalidating it.

The result, say Act 77 opponents say, could be, “Bye-bye ballot boxes.”

That is state Rep. Seth Grove’s premise in a July 12 letter he wrote to Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of State Leigh Chapman. Grove (R-York), chair of the House Governmental Affairs Committee overseeing elections, noted that if any section of Act 77 is ruled invalid, the remainder of the law is also invalid.

“Non-severability clauses are an important tool of the General Assembly in ensuring the legislation it enacts will be applied in a way consistent with the legislature’s intent when considering and approving the legislation,” Grove wrote. The section shows “it does not intend for the individual provisions of the law to stand on their own.”

Chapman did not respond to Grove’s letter, nor did her spokesperson respond to the Delaware Valley Journal’s request for comment.

During a Tuesday press conference, Grove noted problems with how Pennsylvania’s elections have been conducted in the past two years. Grove has released reports on the general elections of 2020 and 2021 and most recently the 2022 primary entitled “Missed Opportunities and Continued Chaos.”

“Today is July 19, 2022, over two months from the May 17 primary election. We still do not have a certified 2022 primary election,” Grove said.

“On June 30, 2021, Gov. Wolf vetoed HB 1300 without reading it or understanding the provisions contained in it. Further, his administration had refused to even discuss election changes,” Grove said, noting that a bipartisan bill would have gone a long way toward improving Pennsylvania’s elections. A new version of that law remains pending in the legislature.

“Regardless, House and Senate Republicans sent the governor sweeping election changes addressing three major areas of elections: increasing voter access; providing integrity and security in every process; and modernization.

“To date, our elections have been anything but smooth,” Grove said. “This report highlights repeated election failures, which have been categorized as ‘smooth elections’ by Wolf administration secretaries of state.”

He added, “Ask thousands of Montgomery County voters if receiving wrong ballots in the mail is ‘smooth.’ Ask candidates in Montgomery County who went to bed thinking they won and waking up losing because they, the press, and residents didn’t know…thousands of sequestered mail-in ballots existed and were sequestered because of errors.

“Ask Bucks County voters if elections are ‘smooth’ after the Board of Election had to sequester ballots because of illegal voting at drop boxes, which delayed returns. Ask Lehigh County voters if there are smooth elections after DA Jim Martin verified hundreds of illegal votes were cast in their local elections using drop boxes.

“Ask Election directors if our undated ballot soap opera created ‘smooth elections’ or the reality the last court ruling by the Third Circuit Court invoked the non-severability clause of Act 7,7 making those provisions void. Ask voters if they have ‘smooth elections’ when we had to threaten two different county Boards of Election with impeachment because they voted to violate the election laws,” Grove said.

Grove added, “We can’t continue with what has occurred in the commonwealth. Our voters are demanding change. Our election administrators are demanding change.”

 

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GIORDANO: Do PA Republicans Want to Win? Here Are Three Things They Need to Do.

After being in the ring for months with all the candidates, countless surrogates, and many election officials, I have come to some clear conclusions about what needs to be done on the Republican side in races for the U.S. Senate and governor in Pennsylvania.

The first thing that needs to be fixed is the process for counting votes in Pennsylvania races. We have become the laughingstock of the nation. Urgency is not the watchword of the people in charge of counting votes in most counties. I realize that Pennsylvania Act 77, which paved the way for the mail-in ballot nonsense, needs to be repealed. I know that Josh Shapiro, the Democratic Party nominee for governor, would veto any attempt to rid us of this current cumbersome and possibly corrupt system.

So, we must allow counties to count mail-in ballots a few days before Election Day. But we should also tighten the deadlines that they face to get all votes counted. For example, the current deadline of getting votes counted in the recount vote process of June 7 for the May 17 primary is offensive.

Each day that goes by without a resolution weakens confidence in the validity of our elections.

Second, I believe it is time for Dave McCormick to drop all the lawsuits he has filed arguing that mail-in votes received without a date written on the envelope by the voter should be counted. I have grown to respect and like McCormick during our nearly weekly interviews over the course of the campaign. But his lawsuits following a Commonwealth court’s ruling saying that mail-in ballots without a date should be counted are playing right into the hands of people like national Democratic lawyer Marc Elias who are trying to weaken any restrictions on the counting of mail-in ballots.

I understand McCormick fought a very hard race against Dr. Oz and spent probably $10 to $12 million of his own money, but the recount should be his last action in this election. I’d like to see him named chairman of the Pennsylvania GOP and I’d like to see him become the nominee for the upcoming Senate race against Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. I believe Casey has essentially coasted on the family name and is very beatable.

It is also clear to me that election integrity is a critical issue with Pennsylvania voters. However, I don’t think the Republican nominee for governor state Sen. Doug Mastriano, is approaching it in the right way. His rantings about voting machine conspiracies and his suggestion that as governor he could overturn election results in the 2024 presidential race are not a statewide winning strategy. I like that he is talking about the importance of the Secretary of State’s Office in running elections and I’d like to hear him flesh out the types of people that he would consider for the office.

I’d also like to see Mastriano engage with more media outlets rather than just that small number that seem to amplify some of his more radical views. He refuses to come on my show–and much of talk radio in the state–apparently because he can’t any kind of challenge even from conservative hosts.

His decision to hang up the phone during an interview with DelawareValleyJournal.com is a prime example of a strategy that will fail.

The bottom line is I think Dr. Oz is the presumptive Republican nominee for the Senate and I think he can beat John Fetterman. Doug Mastriano can beat Josh Shapiro, but he must make some big–but doable–changes.

 

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SKLAROFF: Act 77 Can And Should Be Trashed

Election Integrity activists have led the attack on Pennsylvania’s current voting law and, specifically, they want its validation of no-excuse absentee ballots to be eliminated.

Regardless as to whether Senate candiate Dave McCormick’s electoral challenge will salvage his political effort after a recount, his lawsuit must be supported, for it provides a shortcut to kill Act 77.

In January, the Commonwealth Court ruled Act 77 was unconstitutional, reasoning that I vigorously supported.

Yet, this issue is stuck in the PA Supreme Court, probably due to “politics” because its Democrat-majority can’t discern a cognizable method to refute these analyses.

Recently, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it’s “immaterial” that the outside envelope of an absentee ballot be dated; its timely return could easily be validated by noting the postmark and confirming the date when it had been received by the county election officials.

This mandate is in Act 77:  “Section 1306.  Voting by Absentee Electors.–(a)  … The elector shall then fill out, date and sign the declaration printed on such envelope.”

Pivotal is its non-severability clause:  “Section 11. … If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remaining provisions or applications of this act are void.”

Litigating this via the federal court precludes the ability of the Pennsylvania Supremes to be dilatory when faced with an obvious glitch in the law; it’s doubtful that the SCOTUS would intervene when the lower court had already ruled.

This is black-letter language that seemingly provides no legal wiggle-room. Thus, dumping Act 77 “ab initio” [from the date when it was signed] would invalidate non-excuse absentee voting.

Some people enjoy the convenience of mail-in voting, but they ignore the traditional reasons for functioning as citizens and the unnecessary introduction of fraud in the absence of voter/photo-ID.

This has been the cause célèbre of electoral reform advocates, for it carries profound implications.

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GIORDANO: Ban No Excuse Mail-in Ballots, Drop Boxes For Fair Elections

One issue that has risen to the top in this election cycle is Pennsylvania Act 77. This act was supported by many Republicans when they agreed to essentially remove any requirement to be able to vote by absentee ballot in exchange for taking away the ability of voters to vote a straight party vote at the flick of one button on election day.

Democrats essentially turned the removal excuses for absentee ballots into the ability to vote by mail in Pennsylvania–no reason required.

State Senators Doug Mastriano and Jake Corman are two of the candidates in the Republican primary for the governor’s race. They have tried to spin this misjudgment by saying Democrats distorted the intentions of Act 77 and gave us the current system that many people believe is much more open to ballot harvesting and election fraud.

In addition to mail-in ballots, Democrats in Pennsylvania approved a drop box system across the state that allows people to deposit ballots that they receive in the mail into secured boxes across the state. The law on this requires that a person may deposit only their own ballot.

On April 4, Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin issued a report that indicated that at least 288 people deposited more than one ballot at five area drop boxes between October 18th and election day, November 2, 2021.

On my radio show, Martin told me that he declined to prosecute anyone because only a few of the 288 people could be identified due to the mask mandate at the time and the poor quality of the video surveillance at the drop box locations. I objected to this approach and told him that much more must be done on this front to ensure that people believe in the results of our elections.

After that conversation, I was pleasantly surprised that my producer was contacted by Martin’s office, and he came on my show to announce three reforms that he was instituting or calling for. First, he wants more precise and prominently placed warnings against depositing more than one ballot to be placed on and around the drop boxes. Second, he wants the drop box at the Lehigh County Government Center to be restricted to “normal” business hours. He wants voters to believe that someone might be watching.

Finally, he will dispatch county detectives in plainclothes to periodically monitor the drop boxes. This last reform has set off some Lehigh County Democratic leaders who say these detectives are intimidating and they have to deduct from their pay for any time spent observing the drop boxes.

I believe this local battle over drop boxes is occurring all over the country and that’s why I watched the debut of Dinesh D’Souza’s new film “2000 Mules,” at an area theater with my listeners. The premise of the film, as presented by D’Souza and True The Vote, is that by using cellphone geo-tracking and surveillance video, they were able to follow a network of “mules “in battleground states collecting ballots from get-out-the-vote outfits and then stuffing them a few at a time in multiple drop boxes, often in the middle of the night.

D’Souza concedes that in Michigan and Wisconsin the “mules” they have observed would not have deposited enough votes to overcome President Joe Biden’s margin of victory. However, he maintains that in Georgia and Arizona, their observations turn up more than enough votes to secure victory for former President Donald Trump in those states.

Incredibly, in Philadelphia alone, he maintains that 1,100 mules averaged 50 drop box visits each giving us 275,000 suspect votes that could have flipped Pennsylvania from Biden to Trump.

The film is well researched and tells the story in great detail. Even if you reject its premise about the numbers of suspect drop box votes, it underlines the need to remove mail-in balloting from our elections or continue to suffer a lack of confidence in election results.

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Group Wants GOP Primary Voters to Press Officials to Repeal Act 77

A new group is telling Pennsylvania residents to rise up and reclaim the voting process it says went awry when the state legislature passed Act 77 in 2019.

Act 77, among other things, gives voters 50 days of no-excuse mail-in voting before an election and brought ballot boxes, which have proved controversial. The group, BallotSecurityNow.org, is sending text messages to Republican primary voters targeting state representatives and senators who passed Act 77

Messages sent on Wednesday targeted Rep. Seth Grove (R-York). Texts are going out to Sen. Jake Corman’s district on Thursday. Corman (R-Centre) is a candidate for governor.

“Blame GOP State Rep. Seth Grove for the 2020 election fraud in PA. He voted for the unconstitutional Act 77, which led to ballot-box stuffing and the defeat of President Trump. Now Grove will not do what it takes to repeal the bogus law. Help us convince him to do what is right.”

Ballot Security Now wants voters to demand their representative or senator sign a pledge to support action to repeal Pennsylvania’s unconstitutional Act 77 and restore all voting methods to those clearly described in the state constitution; support an amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution to specify voting will only be by processes in the constitution with no universal mail-in voting allowed; support a law to require photo identification for all methods of voting, in-person or by mail; support a law to require that all voter rolls be cleaned (removing dead voters or those who have moved away) before every election; support a law which requires that all ballots except military ballots must be received in the election office by poll closing time on Election Day.

Grove declined to comment about the texts, although he acknowledged receiving one.

“I have launched our state constitutionally mandated review of the 2020 election in a transparent fashion,” said Corman. “I have significant issues with Act 77 and how Gov. Wolf violated the law. As governor, I’m going to pass legislation that eliminates drop boxes, institutes photo ID requirements, and ends what has been a disastrous, no-excuse mail-in-ballot program. All Pennsylvania voters, regardless of party, must have confidence that their vote will be counted. If we don’t have faith in our elections, we have nothing.”

Locally, the Montgomery County Republican Party has accused Democrats of ballot-box stuffing and aired a video showing a woman placing multiple ballots in a box in Upper Dublin in November 2021. However, county officials claim that what she did is permitted.

Doug McLinko

Doug McLinko, a Bradford County commissioner, is passionate about fair elections. McLinko, also a member of the Bradford Board of Elections, is a plaintiff in a case against the Pennsylvania Secretary of State, who is in charge of elections. He contends that because the move to mail-in voting was done unconstitutionally, he was placed in the untenable position of being required by the state to “act unlawfully.”

He argued on constitutional grounds and won in Commonwealth Court, which found Act 77 violates Pennsylvania’s constitution. Attorney General Josh Shapiro appealed to the state Supreme Court, where it is pending.

McLinko argues Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has long held that the state constitution requires in-person voting.

McLinko, a Republican, blames his party for Act 77 since Republican legislators passed it without Democratic votes.

“They destroyed the voting system in Pennsylvania,” he said. “And they never did anything to fix it. They can say they have, but they haven’t.”

While many people believe the pandemic led to mail-in ballots, Act 77 was approved before COVID.

While the legislature has held hearings and discussed auditing the vote, McLinko called that “smoke and mirrors,” which has not led to any meaningful action. A constitutional amendment needs to be placed on the ballot as soon as possible, he said. Otherwise, Pennsylvania and its crucial Electoral College votes will go to the Democrats in the 2024 presidential election and beyond.

He believes the Keystone State is the key and necessary for any Republican to retake the White House.

“Pennsylvania is the prize of swing states,” he said. And even if a Republican is elected governor in the fall, without removing Act 77, the 2024 election remains in jeopardy. The legislature must act to repeal the bill, he said.

“They screwed it up once, and they are capable of screwing it up again,” McLinko said.

If elected representatives will not take the Ballot Security Now pledge, McLinko called on voters to mount primary challenges.

“The deplorables are angry in Pennsylvania,” said McLinko. “And when you find out how bad this is, and what the state legislature did to your precious right to vote, you are going to be furious, too. And they don’t have any desire to fix it.”

“They all say they want investigations and audits, which means nothing,” said McLinko. “We need a constitutional amendment.”

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McSwain Criticizes ‘Partisan’ Appointed by Gov. Wolf to Oversee Elections

The woman recently appointed by Gov. Tom Wolf to be acting Secretary of State has come under fire as being a partisan Democrat and an advocate for mail-in ballots.

Republican Bill McSwain, the former U.S. Attorney who is running governor, took aim at Wolf’s appointment of  Leigh Chapman and to name her as an acting secretary rather than going to the state legislature for approval.

McSwain said Wolf knew Chapman “could not be confirmed” and, by appointing here, he is “disrespecting the legislature,” which is majority Republican. Wolf, who is in his last year in office because of term limits, is a Democrat.

A spokeswoman for Wolf did not respond to the Delaware Valley Journal’s request for comment. Chapman, who took office on Jan. 8, also did not reply to a request for comment.

McSwain noted that it is “important to restore people’s faith in the elections,” but instead Wolf chose to appoint someone who is “nakedly partisan.”

Leigh Chapman

Prior to this appointment, Chapman had worked for Deliver My Vote, which is nonpartisan under the tax code, but McSwain noted its “founders are on record saying they are pushing mail-in voting to help Democrats” get elected. Deliver My Vote promotes mail-in balloting that “specifically favors Democrats,” said McSwain.

McSwain also came out swinging against Act 77, the 2019 legislation that permits 50 days of mail-in ballots prior to elections.

“I think no-excuse mail-in balloting is unnecessarily chaotic,” said McSwain. And Act 77 as it has been carried out is “deeply flawed.”

“I believe in in-person voting,” said McSwain. “I believe in the sanctity of the voting booth” where “nobody can influence you.”

“In-person voting fosters trust in elections,” he said.

“The people who voted for act 77 need to be held to account,” McSwain added, taking a swipe at the state senators who are competing with him for the GOP voters’ nomination to run for governor: Jake Corman, Scott Martin, and Doug Mastriano.

“That is a disqualifying vote, if you voted for Act 77,” said McSwain.

And with the appointment of Chapman as secretary of state, “the deck is being stacked for the Democrats,” he said.

In the 2020 election, former Secretary of State Kathy Boochvar permitted majority Democratic counties to “ engage in illegal ballot curing” or to allow officials to “call up folks and say you can do it again,”  who failed to include the secrecy envelope with their mail-in ballot, while Republican-leaning counties did not.

She and Wolf also allowed money from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg– “Zuckerbucks”–to flow into “counties that favor Democrats.” The money was spent on “voter drives to get more Democrats registered, advertising and media outreach to get more Democrats to vote,” he said. And also for more “unsupervised” ballot drop boxes, he added.

“There was almost no oversight in how they spent the money,” said McSwain.  “And to have a governor to sign that law (Act 77) and he violated it himself without even caring or realizing, allowing his wife to vote for him, is all you need to know about the lax attitude of Gov. Wolf.  It’s crazy but very, very telling.”

“It’s all part of his playbook,” said McSwain. “He’s continuing it…to prop up Josh Shapiro.” Shapiro, the current attorney general, is a Democrat running for governor.

“The Democrats are going to do everything they can to tilt the playing field in their favor,” said McSwain. “They don’t care about fair elections. They care about partisan victories and a part of that is appointing a secretary of state who is a partisan.”

Chapman graduated from the University of Virginia earning an undergraduate degree in American Studies and History and received her J.D. from Howard University School of Law.

She was senior director of the Voting Rights Program at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. She has experience working on voting issues for nonprofit organizations, state government, and a political organization.

“I am honored and excited to be returning to the Department of State to serve as acting secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Chapman said in a press release. “Throughout my career, I have worked to ensure that voting rights are protected and to improve access to the ballot box. I look forward to continuing that work in my new role, and to build on the tremendously successful election reforms in Pennsylvania over the last several years.”

 

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