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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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RNC Sues to Ensure Uniform Voting Rules in PA

As the midterm election approaches, the Republican National Committee joined other organizations to sue Pennsylvania for what it calls “unfair” voting practices. The suit argues that because various counties handle ballots with mistakes differently, that results in unequal outcomes for voters.

Some counties will fix or “cure” mistakes and count those ballots, while other counties do not.

“A Pennsylvania voter’s ballot should be treated uniformly, no matter where they reside in the commonwealth,” said Philadelphia lawyer Linda A. Kearns. “This lawsuit seeks to correct a glaring disparity – some counties follow the Pennsylvania election code and do not provide voters a second bite at the apple but some counties improperly look at ballots before election day and contact voters and allow them to correct mistakes. This type of uneven treatment of voters can tip the scales unfairly, especially if it only happens in counties where the majority of voters are Democrats.”

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel released a statement supporting the effort.

“The RNC is joining with the NRSC, NRCC, Pennsylvania GOP, and concerned Pennsylvania voters to sue the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for unequal treatment of its citizens at the ballot box,” McDaniel said. “Pennsylvania Democrats, led by Gov. Tom Wolf, are unconstitutionally flouting the law by failing to adopt uniform rules for how elections in the Keystone State are run.

“This lawsuit will ensure that Pennsylvania voters have confidence in their elections and underscores the Republican Party’s commitment to making it easier to vote and harder to cheat in Pennsylvania and nationwide,” she said.

According to the lawsuit, “The court should restore transparency, fundamental fairness, and integrity to Pennsylvania’s elections by upholding the plain text of the election code and the clear holding of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and declaring that county boards of elections may not adopt cure procedures other than as the General Assembly has expressly provided in the election code.”

Also, “Despite the election code’s plain text and the Supreme Court’s clear holding, and the veto by the governor of the bill enacted by the legislature to implement a cure procedure, several boards, without legal authority, have developed and implemented cure procedures for the 2022 general election and beyond. These boards’ development and implementation of cure procedures exceed the boards’ authority under state law and the election code. These boards have, in effect, usurped the exclusive legislative authority of the General Assembly in contravention of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s holding,” it stated.

The Republicans contend “it is the Pennsylvania legislature’s responsibility to uniformly enact these procedures and for them to apply across the state. The U.S. Constitution is clear that state legislatures should set the rules for how elections are run.”

“Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed and opposed Pennsylvania Republican-led legislation to remedy this issue. Now, a coalition of Republican groups and concerned citizens are stepping in to protect and standardize Pennsylvania elections,” the suit said.

The lawsuit asks the court to issue a permanent injunction to require the boards of election to follow the letter of the law and not to “cure” ballots where voters have made mistakes and then count those ballots


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