inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

DIAMOND: Pennsylvania Republicans Need a 3-Point Game

I loved basketball when I was a kid. I spent my free time shooting hoops in my parents’ driveway. I played on my elementary, junior high, freshman, and junior varsity teams in school.

I got cut from the varsity team in my junior year because, despite my love of the game, I wasn’t very good at it. I was a benchwarmer. I was short, so I had no advantage under the basket. My ball-handling skills were rudimentary at best, so playing point guard was not in the cards either.

I was somewhat passable in one skill on the court, though – shooting from way outside. Unfortunately, shooting from way outside was frowned upon back then because there was no such thing as the 3-point shot. Every basket counted for two points, so layups and inside shots were preferred over tossing one up from anywhere greater than 15 feet out.

The 3-Pointer Changed the Game

The NBA adopted the 3-point shot in 1979, the year I got cut from the varsity team. The NCAA fully adopted it in 1986, and high school basketball quickly followed suit.

The 3-pointer was a game changer. Outside shooters were fostered, and teams altered their offensive strategies accordingly. If the 3-pointer existed when I was playing, perhaps I could have squeaked my way onto the varsity squad.

While the 3-point shot is now an integral part of the game, imagine being a coach or player back when it first came on the scene. Would you have taken advantage of it? Of course you would, as it enables you to increase your point total by 50 percent every time your team goes down the court.

Stubbornly refusing to take 3-point shots would be a fool’s errand, putting your team at a distinct disadvantage. You gotta play to win, as they say.

The Political 3-Point Shot

In Pennsylvania, no-excuse mail-in voting is the equivalent of the 3-point shot in its early days. Unfortunately, Republicans have been operating as if this new rule doesn’t exist – and it shows. We’ve routinely been trounced by the Democrats in mail-in voting.

Regardless of whether we like mail-in voting, nothing changes the fact that it’s legal and will remain legal for the foreseeable future. Republicans must embrace a winning mail-in strategy or we’ll suffer the same fate as basketball teams who fail to embrace a 3-point strategy: we’ll continue to lose elections.

The winning strategy is not convincing in-person voters to vote by mail, but to cultivate mail-in votes from Republican voters who might not otherwise show up on Election Day.

Before the advent of no-excuse mail-in voting, Pennsylvania Republicans regularly won the absentee ballot game. Winning the mail-in game is a larger task, but not entirely new or impossible.

A Turning Point

On January 31, Republican Lynda Schlegel Culver won a state Senate seat in a special election. Culver won the mail-in vote in two of the five counties in her Senate district. In the other three counties, the mail-in margins Democrats earned during previous elections were significantly reduced.

Of note is that under Pennsylvania election law, those who applied to vote by mail in 2022 were automatically mailed a ballot for this special election. As a result, over 10,000 ballots were automatically delivered to Democrat voters, while only around 5,000 were sent to Republicans.

Efforts to cultivate the Republican mail-in vote were smoothly coordinated between the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, five separate Republican county committees, Senate leadership, and the Culver campaign. This cooperation also led to Republicans outperforming Democrats in new mail-in applications by an 8:1 ratio.

It’s clear that some Republicans like voting at home, and will cast their vote from home if made aware of the opportunity to do so. It’s also clear that cooperative efforts by Republican candidates and committees can lead to success.

Pivoting to Shoot the 3-Pointer

Republicans can no longer remain on the sidelines complaining about the new rules. We must get on the court and utilize the rules to compete in all aspects of the game. By learning from our past success with absentee ballots and emulating the cooperative efforts behind the Culver win, we can use the political 3-point shot to earn more wins.

Republicans have succeeded at this in other states. There’s no reason we can’t do it here in Pennsylvania. We need to pivot to a new strategy, and we need to do it yesterday. If we fail to even attempt the 3-pointer, we so do at our own peril.

Rep. Russ Diamond is a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, and the Lebanon County Republican Committee.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or


GIORDANO: Why the GOP Should Embrace Mail-in Ballots

Republicans can and should beat Democrats at the mail-in ballot game.

Liz Preate Havey, chairperson of the Montgomery County Republicans, floated the idea last year that Republicans had to both elect a Republican governor who would lead the charge to get rid of Pennsylvania Act 77, which opened the door to Democrats instituting mail-in balloting in the state. Still, simultaneously, the GOP should have a better mail-in ballot game to elect more Republicans in the 2022 elections.

Liz made this point cautiously. I think it’s time to boldly embrace her idea. It’s time to compete and win in the mail-in ballot arena.

Last month, Democrats dominated Republicans in getting their vote out well before Election Day. Andy Reilly, a Republican National Committeeman in Pennsylvania, put it well when he told Politico, “When one party votes for 30 days and one-party votes for one, you’re going to lose.”

Republicans must persuade all voters, particularly those who vote somewhat irregularly but lean toward the GOP, to vote by mail. On his website, Conservative GOP State Rep. Russ Diamond said, “Our goal isn’t to convince regular voters to vote by mail, but to figure out how to cultivate mail-in votes from those registered Republicans who vote infrequently or don’t vote at all.”

Athan Koutsiouroumbas, a local Republican strategist has brilliantly, on my show, broken down how Democrats were relentlessly effective in their mail-in ballot campaign. In the local Statehouse races, they offered people mail-in ballot applications on their door-to-door visits, and they repeatedly followed up to see if people submitted their ballots. They effectively used local media to promote mail-in balloting.

They are a template to study how to do this. It mostly takes commitment to the details and a lot of elbow grease. Delaware County used to be Republican almost as much as Philadelphia is Democratic. I know more people who lean toward the Democrats have moved into the county, but they are also outworking Republicans.

Many listeners who call me or interact on social media accept that for the big 2024 election, Republicans must match the Democrats’ mail-ballot ground game. However, on my Twitter feed, I’ve started to see people who can’t accept this. They make the argument that many Americans have died to protect our right to vote and going along with mail-in balloting negates degrades that sacrifice.

I’d liken my approach to things that I don’t like in sports. I wouldn’t say I like the designated hitter rule. However, if I’m managing, I will have the best designated hitters and the biggest advantage possible. In sports, even if you use the rule to your advantage, it doesn’t mean you can eliminate it. In elections, if you win enough, you can get rid of things like mail-in ballots. In the meantime, you must play by the rules you’re given.

I put this new commitment to winning the mail-in ballot campaign in the same category of importance as Republicans preventing any candidate for statewide office from getting the nomination if they refuse allow exceptions for rape, incest or life of the mother regarding abortion restrictions. You can call it the “Mastriano Rule.” It’s proven you will not win statewide if you go down Mastriano’s path and you will hurt other Republican candidates.

Liz Preate Havey was ahead of her time when she proposed developing strategies that would commit Republicans to the mail-in balloting world that we live in. Apparently, Republicans used to do very well in the absentee ballot arena. This is just an extension of that field.

The time to start is now while the point is fresh.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

PA GOP Wins Case Over Flawed Mail-In Ballots, Handing Chapman a Loss

With the election less than a week away, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in favor of a Republican bid to keep improperly cast ballots from being counted.

The Republican National Committee (RNC), the state Republican Party and the National Republican Congressional Committee filed a lawsuit last month asking the high court to require ballots without the correct date and any date not be counted. The move was in response to acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman’s guidance to county election departments to count those flawed ballots, despite an order from the U.S. Supreme Court prohibiting it.

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.

“This ruling is a massive victory for Pennsylvania voters and the rule of law,” said Ronna McDaniel, RNC chairwoman. “Following an RNC, NRCC, and PAGOP lawsuit, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has made clear that incorrectly dated and undated mail ballots cannot be counted. Republicans went to court, and now Democrats and all counties have to follow the law: this is a milestone in Republicans’ ongoing efforts to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat in Pennsylvania and nationwide.”

According to state law, voters who use mail-in ballots are required to follow rules that say those ballots must be signed and dated on the envelopes. However, the court’s brief ruling said it was divided on the question of whether throwing out the ballots violates federal law. The court ordered Pennsylvania county boards of elections to “segregate and preserve any ballots contained in undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes.”

Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) issued a joint statement:

“Dates matter, and the dating of important documents has been a critical tool in officiating the legality of documents for centuries. We thank the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for re-confirming what we have said all along: Pennsylvania’s election law is undeniably clear that mail-in ballots and absentee ballots must be correctly dated to be valid.

“We are also glad to see the Pennsylvania Supreme Court order that incorrectly dated or undated mail-in ballots and absentee ballots should be segregated, something we requested the Pennsylvania Department of State advise counties to do weeks ago.

“Today’s decision is not only a win for the plain language of Pennsylvania law, but also for upholding the security and integrity of our elections,” Cutler and Benninghoff said.

Pennsylvania is one of the most-watched states, with the hotly contested race U.S. Senate race between Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz and Lt. Gov John Fetterman, a Democrat. It could determine control of the Senate. While Fetterman had been leading for several months, a Muhlenberg College/Morning Call poll released Tuesday showed the race is now tied.

The RNC is involved in 75 cases of election integrity litigation in 20 states this cycle. This latest victory follows other recent legal wins, including winning a lawsuit against Michigan’s Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson for restricting the rights of poll challengers.

And winning a lawsuit against the North Carolina State Board of Elections’ attempt to restrict the rights of poll watchers.

Chapman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

However, she did publish an op-ed warning the results of the 2022 midterms might not be known for a few days after the election.

“While we would all like to go to bed on Election Night knowing who won in every race, it will likely take a few days for complete unofficial results,” Chapman wrote.

“An accurate count is paramount and cannot be rushed. County election workers must be given a reasonable amount of time to do their jobs and follow the law. That short interval of time will not be because anything nefarious is occurring; rather, it simply means that the careful, deliberative process and timeline prescribed by Pennsylvania’s Election Code is at work to achieve a thorough count of every eligible vote.

“It takes time to count more than 1.3 million mail ballots. And current election law does not permit counties to begin pre-canvassing these ballots until 7 a.m. Election Day,” Chapman said.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

Lawsuit Seeks to Prevent Double Voting in Philadelphia

An organization that defends election integrity says the City of Philadelphia isn’t doing enough to protect the election system from fraud, and it has gone to court to make its case.

Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections (RITE) has filed a lawsuit against Philadelphia’s city commissioners demanding that poll workers be trained to prevent duplicate votes from being counted. Every one of those ballots, the group argues, cancels a legitimate ballot cast by a law-abiding voter.

In a press release, RITE said the commissioners are “threatening to discontinue critical, commonsense, and legally required election integrity measures that safeguard against duplicate voting. According to a recent report, the justification for this shocking conduct is officials’ unjustified belief that identifying and eliminating duplicate votes somehow jeopardizes their ability to access state election administration funds. The commissioners, who were recently caught deceiving the public regarding the distribution of absentee/mail-in ballots, have ignored RITE’s repeated attempts to correct this misunderstanding of the law, threatening to conduct the 2022 election without these crucial security measures in place.”

The lawsuit asked the court to require the commissioners to conduct a basic audit of the ballots at the conclusion of the election, known as a poll book reconciliation. That matches absentee and mail-in ballots received against in-person votes.

“This simple process identified 40 such duplicate votes during the 2020 election in Philadelphia, and it is becoming increasingly important as absentee/mail-in voting grows more popular in the city and throughout the state,” the organization said. “The lawsuit also challenges Philadelphia’s inadequate training and checks at the polling place on Election Day, which, if done properly, would further reduce duplicate voting opportunities.”

Philadelphia election officials declined to respond to requests for comment.

“As reports of election abuses in Philadelphia continue to come to light, Pennsylvania voters deserve to know that local election officials are doing all that they are required to do to prevent and eliminate duplicate voting,” said Derek Lyons, RITE’s president, and CEO. “Just weeks before the election, however, officials appear determined to weaken crucial election integrity measures without any justification. Duplicate voting is antithetical to election integrity. RITE is proud to support Pennsylvania voters fighting against this flawed, dangerous, and illegal plan that would undermine the public’s trust and confidence in their elections.”

Joshua Voss, the attorney who filed the suit, said, “Election officials must protect the ballot box from duplicate voting that can occur when someone votes by mail and then later votes in person. Unfortunately, even as mail-in ballots have become more popular, Philadelphia officials have suggested they might weaken safeguards against double voting that have proven effective in the past. Our lawsuit seeks to defend the integrity of Philadelphia’s elections by ensuring that robust protections against double voting remain in place, as required by law.”

Albert Eisenberg, a Republican consultant with RedStateBlue, said that while he does not know the specific details of the lawsuit, “there absolutely needs to be more oversight on the absentee voting, drop-boxes, etc. in Philadelphia so people of all political backgrounds trust our elections. Open drop boxes with no supervision are a bad idea in a first-world democracy.”

Eisenberg added, “I believe (Senate candidate) Dr. Oz will be the first Republican in generations to get to 20 percent of the citywide vote in Philadelphia due to John Fetterman’s radicalism and a growing alienation among working Democrats toward their party’s main priorities, which are all related to social issues as life gets more expensive–and dangerous–for Philadelphians.”

Co-founded in 2022 by Steve Wynn, Karl Rove, and Bobby R. Burchfield, RITE is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the rule of law in elections.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

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.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

County Election Officials Upset Over Proposed Voter Registration Form

County election officials are registering their displeasure with the Pennsylvania Department of State (DOS) over a proposed form that would combine voter registration with a request for a mail-in ballot, according to letters obtained by Broad + Liberty. Both letters are embedded at the end of this story.

The development is just the latest in the continuing fallout from Act 77, the massive election reform Republicans passed in 2019 and have since largely turned against, and that Democrats initially opposed but have now embraced. The law greatly expanded voters’ ability to cast an absentee ballot, and ushered in no-excuse mail-in voting across the commonwealth.

Currently, voter registration forms and mail-in ballot request forms are completely separate. According to the letters, combining the two elements into a single form would create confusion for the voter and election workers, and would almost certainly lead to lawsuits from various political campaigns.

Dauphin County sent a letter to the DOS on Friday, while a letter from Bucks County is undated but could only have been written and sent after Aug. 10, given certain references made in the letter.

“We believe this proposed form is likely to stoke new and undue confusion, concern and skepticism among voters at a time when it is imperative that we rebuild trust in our election system,” Bucks County Elections Director Thomas Freitag wrote, in bold.

The Bucks County letter also alleged that the Department of State didn’t inform counties of the proposed “combined” form until about three weeks ago on July 29.

Freitag said in his letter that as county election officials from across the state began to discuss the idea, the “consensus against this move was so resounding that a workgroup was formed to provide meaningful feedback to the State regarding this combined form.”

Dauphin County Elections Director Gerald Feaser Jr. echoed those concerns while emphasizing that he has been “unequivocal” in his support of other online processes for someone to request an absentee or mail-in ballot.

“However, this dramatic change in front-line service of voters with a dual registration/mail-in ballot application so close to a potentially pivotal election is a terrible idea. My concern is based on my experience — and the shared experience of the other 66 election directors across Pennsylvania — since Act 77 of 2019,” Feaser wrote.

“It has been clear from the outset that this idea was developed in a vacuum,” Feaser added.

Both Feaser and Freitag said the biggest concern was that the two different “requests” on the form had different statutory deadlines.

“[W]hat do I do if a voter registered in another county submits one of these dual applications changing their address to Dauphin County, but it is received on Oct. 25, which is after the deadline to register or make changes to a voter’s’ status, and they are requesting a mailed ballot at the same time?” Feaser asked. “Do I set it aside as received after deadline? Do I forward it to the county in which they are presently registered to vote and hope that the county decides to issue a mailed ballot for the voter’s current election district in that county but mail it to the voter’s new address in Dauphin County?”

Feaser said a new round of frustrations would mean more disenfranchised voters, not fewer.

“We were flooded with duplicate applications, and irate voters who received a mail-in ballot for the 2020 election who wanted to vote in person and were forced to cast a provisional ballot,” Feaser also told the Department of State. “We lost large numbers of poll workers because of the threats and anger directed at them by voters who became permanent mail-in voters in error. By rushing this form through, without putting in place appropriate safeguards, the Department is putting political interests ahead of the safety of Pennsylvania’s election workers.”

Feaser went so far as to say that the combined form was likely causing the Department of State to take its eye off of other, higher-priority tasks needed for the November election.

“What we, as counties, presently need from the Department is a list of candidates and SUREVote candidate codes to facilitate election night reporting so that we can complete ballot preparations to mail ballots to voters by mid-September,” Feaser specified.

The Department of State did not return a request for comment.

Act 77 has been a political battleground ever since its implementation, and to see how unsettling it has continued to be, one must look no further than the dispute over the requirement that the outer envelope containing a mail-in ballot be dated by the voter.

That dispute led to several court cases, and on Friday, a state court judge ruled that undated ballots must be counted. But that ruling was only one of several, as the battle over this particular provision of the law had been heard at least twice in federal courts, and numerous other times in state courts.

Republicans and Democrats agreed on some election-reform compromises last month as part of a larger negotiation towards passing a state budget. Among some of the reforms, for example, Republicans got their wish to eliminate any potential third-party funding of county election offices, which had become controversial in the 2020 election. To counteract that, Democrats got $45 million to dole out to county election offices in grants to help upgrade equipment and other needs.

This article first appeared in Broad + Liberty.

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.


Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or



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.”


Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

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 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.


Follow us on social media:Twitter: @DV_Journal or

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.

Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or