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GIORDANO: Looking into the Crystal Ball for 2024 Politics

Many of the most important events of 2023 are even more significant because they shape the landscape for 2024 which I think will be a more consequential year.

Despite huge voter dissatisfaction with inflation and Biden’s economy, Democrats won many important elections in 2023. They won for two reasons: the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and because of the huge edge they have in mail-in voting.

I’m in the camp that thinks abortion will not have quite as much power in the elections of 2024. However, the Supreme Court is supposed to rule in June on whether or not the abortion inducing drug Mifepristonem which can be mailed over state lines and whether it is safe. If they restrict it, this could be a key issue in 2024.

As far as the mail -in ballot, Republicans still do not the urgency needed to compete with Democrats. President Trump not his supporters to vote this way. In Pennsylvania, I’m convinced that state GOP leaders are not going all out to compete.

Activists like Scott Presler and Citizens Alliance are doing vital work in getting Republicans to use mail-in balloting, but they need a lot more resources. A sign of how intense Democrats are on this issue, is that were outside polling places in November, trying to convince Democrats to vote by mail in 2024 and registering them to receive ballots on the spot.

Probably, the most hopeful sign on the local level, was Cherelle Parker becoming the next mayor of Philadelphia. She will bring a great deal of energy and good ideas to the job. She also defeated extreme progressive and former City Councilperson Helen Gym, who would have been a disaster for the entire area.

In her victory speech, Parker drew a red line with Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner over the issue of retail theft. Her statement, “You won’t be able to go in the store and steal $499 worth of merchandise and just think it’s OK,” is a direct shot at a memo Krasner sent to his attorneys about not prosecuting theft cases under $500.

Speaking of redlines, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Senate and Governor Shapiro recently drew another red line blocking Krasner by giving the Pennsylvania Attorney General the power to appoint a special prosecutor who can prosecute crimes that happen on SEPTA property or its vicinity. Some analysis says this power would extend over huge areas of the city.

The biggest international story with huge local implications was the October 7th Hamas savage attacks on Israelis. This attack and subsequent implied support of it by various groups across the Delaware Valley resulted in the resignation of University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill for not explicitly condemning those calling for the state of Israel to be abolished. It also resulted in two educators on local suburban school boards to be forced to resign.

Let’s hope that Hamas is vanquished soon and peace is restored.

RFK Jr. and Taylor Swift are two people who had big impacts in 2023 and I expect even more in 2024. Kennedy’s announcement that he will run as an independent in 2024, has major parties worried. In what I think will be a very close presidential election, I think he could tip the balance in a swing state like Pennsylvania. Swift was an economic and pop culture force second to none. I believe she will intervene with young women in 2024 supporting Democrats, particularly on the issue of abortion.

The last major “personality” that I worry about for 2024 is AI. What role will AI play in upcoming elections? However, my rock-solid belief is that Delaware Valley Journal won’t have AI writing columns. See you in 2024.

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PA GOP Embraces But Rebukes Mail-In Voting as It Grapples With 2022 Shortcomings

This article first appeared in Broad + Liberty.


To overturn Act 77, Pennsylvania Republicans say they have no choice but to embrace it.

Three and a half years after the elections overhaul became law, it continues to be a central animating force in GOP politics, one that consumes precious time and energy in the party’s efforts to strategize, but also one that still foments resentments in the factional rifts between grassroots versus “the establishment.”

Wrestling with a disappointing showing in the 2022 midterm elections, the Pennsylvania Republican Party convened in Hershey over the weekend  (Feb. 4 & 5) to debate these and other strategic changes with hopes of righting the ship in time for the 2023 elections for school boards, county commissioners, and judgeships.

The party’s resolution committee adopted only two measures. The first says the party will encourage more of its members to avail themselves of the mail-in voting Act 77 created in order to be more competitive. The second measure affirms the party will try to undo the law when it has the necessary levers of power in state government — circumstances that couldn’t even possibly materialize for another four years.

“The lesson from the 2022 election is that never again can we allow the Democrats to spend 50 days banking their votes while we endeavor to bank all of ours on a single day,” Chairman Lawrence Tabas told attendees on Saturday.

Exactly how deep the support was for the two measures is hard to quantify because both were passed on a voice vote, but sources told Broad + Liberty the opposition to each measure was scant.

Act 77 became law in the era of “no excuse absentee voting,” which seemed innocuous to some Republican lawmakers who supported the law in 2019, only to see the technique become de facto voting-by-mail in 2020 with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In last year’s gubernatorial election, Democrat Josh Shapiro received slightly more than a million of his votes by mail, out of his total three million vote total, according to state election returns. Republican Doug Mastriano, by contrast, received only 187,000 mail-in votes out of his 2.2 million vote total — or about eight percent.

Those same percentages held in the U.S. Senate race, even though Republican candidate Mehmet Oz ran a much closer race against Democrat John Fetterman, losing 51-46, whereas Mastriano lost to Shapiro 56-41.

Much of the animosity towards mail-in voting came from the top of the party, as President Trump disparaged the practice repeatedly in the runup to the 2020 presidential vote.

When the General Assembly passed Act 77 in 2019, GOP lawmakers were making legislative compromises in their quest to eliminate straight-party voting, apparently at the direction of the Trump administration and the Republican National Committee.

“In the communications that were taking place between our leadership and the White House and the RNC, the brass ring for them, in their opinion, was getting straight-party voting eliminated,” Republican Rep. Jim Gregory (Blair County) said about the law after its use was radically expanded in 2020.

“In states that had, had it previously and got rid of [straight-ticket voting], you saw an opportunity for President Trump to be re-elected by a range of four to eight percent. They did not concern themselves with mail-in balloting, and they were fine with that, in the communications that I’ve been told,” Gregory added.

One source familiar with a presentation on mail-in voting given at the Hershey conference described the strategy as underwhelming and lacking breadth. That source requested and was granted anonymity by Broad + Liberty because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the closed meeting.

In counter to that notion, a representative with the state party said the presentation was a small overview that was not intended to be comprehensive of the party’s final strategy, and that a task force is still in the process of crafting that strategy.

Several other resolutions from the weekend were shelved, thus either dooming or delaying their implementation, such as one recommending the party issue endorsements in every race. In the case of the “always endorse” resolution, that idea was tabled because the change would require a change to the party bylaws.

Endorsements were a contentious issue in the 2022 races, as the party declined to make endorsements before the primary in both the gubernatorial and Senate races, with both contests hosting wide fields of candidates.

Another resolution sought to censure those Republican House members who voted for Rep. Mark Rozzi, a Berks County Democrat, to become speaker with the new General Assembly that was sworn in last month. That resolution was tabled. Rozzi pledged to become unaffiliated if he were elected speaker — a pledge that has become the focus of political maneuverings and recriminations in the wake of his taking the gavel.

Rozzi’s tenure as speaker was destined to be short given that Democrats were expected to win two special elections which would swing the narrow one-seat majority back to their party. Republicans who voted for Rozzi appear to have been trying to delay a speakership by Rep. Joanna McClinton (D – Philadelphia/Delaware), who is seen as far more partisan than Rozzi.

Signals that Republicans would adapt but also remain hostile to Act 77 had been flashing for some time.

In a radio interview last month, Mastriano acknowledged the insurmountable disadvantage Republicans would burden themselves with if they refused to get in the vote-by-mail game.

“We probably should have used it as the Democrats had, because I don’t see how we win elections without embracing that idea,” Mastriano said. “And once we get a governor, you know, and a General Assembly that’s Republican, you know, restores to ‘voting day’ instead of ‘voting season.’’

“It offends the Republicans. And I get it. You know, I — it’s icky, but if we wanna win, we’re gonna operate within the law.”

Rank and file Republicans have harbored resentment against the GOP lawmakers who voted for the bill. That anger was sometimes even directed at Mastriano, even though Mastriano claimed to represent more of the “grassroots” than other candidates.

Montgomery County Commissioner and 2022 Republican gubernatorial candidate Joe Gale, who is estranged from most of the party and its leadership, embodied those frustrations in a 2021 tweet.

“Yes, we need to repeal Act 77, but we also need to repeal and replace every Republican in Harrisburg who voted for it,” Gale tweeted. “So, don’t give Doug ‘Mail-In’ Mastriano a free pass for pretending he’s going to fix the very problem he helped create.”

LUCAS: Biden’s Big Flip on Voter Fraud

In a recent White House proclamation, President Joe Biden called for Congress to pass the “Freedom to Vote Act,” which imposes national Election Day voter registration requirements, automatic voter registration, and mail-in voting requirements on states.

While researching my book, “The Myth of Voter Suppression: The Left’s Assault on Clean Elections,” I found a startling metamorphosis for Biden.

As president, Biden has joined his party in attacking common sense state election integrity laws such as voter ID, more accurate voter registration lists, and restrictions on ballot harvesting as “Jim Crow 2.0,” or as Biden put it, “Jim Eagle.”

Yet, as a senator, he was concerned about honest elections.

In 1977, Sen. Biden opposed a proposal backed by President Jimmy Carter to have same-day voter registration — a key part of the Senate Democrats’ “Freedom to Vote Act.”

“A reservation I have and one that is apparently shared by some of the top officials within the Department of Justice is that the president’s proposal could lead to a serious increase in vote fraud,” the Delaware senator said.

In 1989, Biden teamed with then-freshman Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to co-sponsor the bipartisan Anti-Corruption Act.

“Current law does not permit prosecution of election fraud,” Biden said. “…This bill makes it a federal offense to corrupt any state or local election process.”

It’s not clear where Biden changed his mind. It seemed to happen when he was vice president and the Obama administration’s Department of Justice began suing states over voter ID laws.

“Why, without any proof of voter fraud, have 81 bills been introduced in state legislative bodies … to make it harder for people to vote?” the vice president said in a 2014 speech at Allen University in South Carolina.

No proof of voter fraud? Where’s the proof of voter suppression?

While there have assuredly been exaggerations and outright lies by sore losers over the years, there have been more than 1,300 proven and adjudicated voter fraud cases, numerous elections overturned, and politicians and operatives convicted of the crime. One of the biggest scams was a North Carolina congressional race outcome in 2018 voided after a Republican candidate won because of a voter fraud scam.

The same presidential proclamation last week claims “nearly 20 states passed laws to make it harder to vote — not only to suppress the vote but to subvert it.”

If that was the goal, states did a horrible job. Of states that passed election reform laws, Biden’s Department of Justice has sued Georgia, Texas, and Arizona. Georgia’s 2022 primary had a 168 percent increase in voter turnout from the comparable non-presidential Georgia primary of 2018. In Texas, turnout was 17.7 percent in 2022 compared to 17.2 percent in the 2018 primary. The 2022 Arizona primary had a record primary turnout of 35.12 percent, compared to the 33.3 percent turnout in 2018.

Humans are allowed to evolve in their views — particularly spanning 1977 to 2022. More recently, though, Biden has had some fairly compressed evolution.

In January, after House-passed federal election bills died of Senate filibusters, Biden sounded like he would be a preemptive election denier.

“I’m not going to say it’s going to be legit,” Biden said when asked about the 2022 midterms. “The increase and the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these reforms passed.”

By September, when delivering his anti-MAGA speech in Philadelphia, Biden said, “Democracy cannot survive when one side believes there are only two outcomes to an election: either they win or they were cheated.”

It seems simple enough in this case. Biden supports federal voting legislation that would seemingly help Democrats and opposes state legislation that could help Republicans.

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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,, 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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