McDANIEL: Why the RNC Sued the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvanians deserve much better. The Keystone State is the birthplace of some of America’s greatest achievements, but in recent years it has become better known for its disastrous election integrity issues. There are several reasons for this. But perhaps number one is the state’s failure to ensure uniform election practices apply statewide.
Pennsylvania’s Constitution is clear: It says that election rules must “be uniform throughout the state.” But under Gov. Tom Wolf and Democrat leadership, the rules for counting your vote vary drastically depending on where you live. Last week, a coalition led by the Republican National Committee and several concerned citizens sued the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in an effort to help right this significant wrong in Pennsylvania’s unequal treatment of voters.
Our lawsuit seeks to ensure that all counties treat their voters the same when it comes to counting their ballots. In recent elections, some counties have begun the practice of contacting voters who return ballots with mistakes, such as lack of a signature, and allowing them to fix–or “cure”–the problem. State officials admit that allowing for such a practice is nowhere to be found in Pennsylvania law, but many counties are ignoring the law.
To be clear, the Republican Party is not against allowing absentee voters to fix mistakes. Just last year, Republicans in the General Assembly sent a bill to Gov. Wolf that would standardize the process for voters to fix their ballots. However, he vetoed it because the legislation also contained such commonsense measures as voter ID and restrictions against ballot harvesting. That is truly unfortunate and a loss for Pennsylvania election integrity. But it doesn’t change the fact that without a law allowing for curing on the books, counties cannot create one out of thin air.
Our lawsuit simply asks Pennsylvania’s courts to ensure uniformity throughout the state and not punish county election officials or their voters for following the law. Counties that allow for curing may be well-intentioned, but their practices are doing nothing more than undermining the rule of law and causing voters who witness this dysfunction to lose confidence in the state’s elections. It has to stop.
The same rules should apply to a voter voting in the Delaware valley and a voter across the state in Pittsburgh. And these rules should be set by the legislature which is elected by you, the voters. We don’t need counties going rogue and making decisions about election guidelines that should be made by elected representatives in the legislature.
Our recent lawsuit against Pennsylvania was the RNC’s 59th example of election integrity litigation so far this cycle. Since suing North Carolina’s Board of Elections last week, we’re at 60.
This is part of our broad, nationwide effort to ensure transparency and fairness in elections across America. When states like Pennsylvania fail to administer their elections in a standard, fair manner, it falls to groups like ours to step in. We’ll continue fighting to ensure that elections in the Keystone State are free, fair, and transparent – because Pennsylvanians deserve nothing less.
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