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CUTLER: PA Democrats Want to Make Our Elections More Questionable

Ever since the election failures of 2020, Pennsylvania has been working to address the shortcomings in our state election law.

Through the work of Republicans in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, over the last four years, we have passed legislation that better funds county election administration while providing quicker and more accurate election reporting.

Thanks to those efforts over the last several election cycles, we have reduced wait times for election results and mail-in ballots are often the first reported election results on election night, rather than waiting days for those results to be processed.

Unfortunately, Democrats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives recently passed legislation along party lines that would take a step backward and return us to the days of not having election results on Election Day. This same bill would allow counties to count mail-in ballots after Election Day, which would inject more questions into ongoing concerns about the integrity of our elections.

In the legislation, House Bill 847, which passed with only support of Pennsylvania House Democrats, counties would be afforded additional time to pre-canvass mail-in ballots. While this is an election reform that has been asked for by election administrators, it is not something the public has widely supported when asked about needed election reforms.

In fact, it is a change that would only make the act of government easier for the government itself and does nothing to improve trust and confidence in the outcome of our elections.

If the legislation stopped there, it would be merely a solution in search of a problem. The calls for additional pre-canvassing time harken back to the early days of no-excuse absentee voting in Pennsylvania, which occurred during the pandemic. That unique set of facts at the time caused an over-reliance on a newly expanded voting option in Pennsylvania.

However, in the years since, counties have been able to adapt, more people have returned to voting in-person, and new legal requirements and additional funding have ensured counties process ballots quickly and accurately.

But in addition to addressing this unnecessary pre-canvassing change, House Bill 847 goes a step further by removing the current requirement that counties begin pre-canvassing at 7 a.m. on Election Day and that they cannot stop counting until all votes are counted.

That means while counties are afforded the opportunity for additional pre-canvassing time, they are also given the option of counting mail-in ballots after Election Day and are not required to provide election results under any specific timeline other than the required certification date.

As a result, some counties may take days after Election Day to process mail-in ballots and delay the announcement of results.

This will surely only add to existing suspicions and questions about our elections.

In what is sure to be an election year with many contested races from president down to the General Assembly, adding questions and suspicion back into the process to achieve an election reform that is not widely supported and is objectively unnecessary is the kind of legislation we should avoid.

Meanwhile, the same Democrats continue to bottle up popular election security reforms that would continue Pennsylvania on a path of increased trust and satisfaction with the election process.

A constitutional amendment that would require Pennsylvanians to show identification each time they vote has been bottled up in a Democratic-controlled committee for over a year.

After House Republicans moved forward with an effort to try to get this amendment out of committee, 100 members—from both sides of the aisle—signed on to the petition to make that happen. But Democrat-crafted House operating rules continue to allow this bill to sit stagnant, despite almost half of the entire Pennsylvania House of Representatives supporting it.

And that flies in the face of public opinion. Last month, a poll by Franklin & Marshall College found that 73 percent of Pennsylvanians support requiring voters to show identification each time they vote. The same poll found that only 50 percent of Pennsylvanians support additional pre-canvassing time.

With 100 signatures on the voter identification constitutional amendment discharge petition, it is clear House Democrats need to get out of their own way and put up this easily achievable, and highly popular, election reform for a vote in the House.

Just months away from a national election where Pennsylvania will again play center stage let’s get politics out of the way, let’s stop passing “talking points legislation” that makes government better for government, and let’s start putting the people of this Commonwealth first by doing what they believe will increase election confidence instead of adding more questions into the process.


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LUCAS: Voting Fraud Is Widespread

The 2020 election involved a criminal voter fraud scheme with mass absentee ballots and phony voter registrations, according to the Justice Department and the New Jersey attorney general.

This verdict and indictment happened in 2023. Prosecutors in Massachusetts and New York brought election fraud charges in the closing weeks of December.

The Justice Department secured a guilty verdict against a congressional candidate’s spouse  — Kim Phuong Taylor — from a federal jury in November in Sioux City, Iowa, on 52 counts regarding causing absentee ballots to be fraudulently requested and cast that occurred in two elections. Her husband, Jeremy Taylor, ran unsuccessfully in the 2020 Republican primary for the U.S. House in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, then successfully in the general election to be re-elected as a Woodbury County supervisor.

In late October, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced Paterson City Council President Alex Mendez is facing more charges in his election fraud case stemming from his 2020 race. He was previously indicted in 2021 regarding actions in the election. The attorney general’s office alleges Mendez personally collected ballots and oversaw the fraudulent mailing of ballots while members of his campaign stole ballots from residential mailboxes and discarded several that did not cast a vote for their candidate. He had three alleged co-conspirators in the case.

As explained in my book “The Myth of Voter Suppression,” election fraud cases are more easily detectable in some states than others. And far too often, remedies to curb absentee ballot fraud are unfairly smeared.

Some high-profile stories have prompted Democratic politicians and much of the media to trot out their talking point that voter fraud is a farce. Another talking point is that those rascally red states are prosecuting election fraud cases as a means to infringe on voting rights.

But in the last quarter of 2023, indictments or adjudicated court cases occurred in various states.

On Dec. 21 in Lawrence, Mass., City Councilor-elect Fidelina Santiago and an ally were indicted on charges including illegal voting, conspiracy to vote illegally, and obstruction of voting, WBZ CBS News Boston reported. The charges, brought by Essex County District Attorney Paul Tucker, stem from the November 2023 election after first being reported by the Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin’s office.

Also, just days before Christmas in Queens, New York, a 32-year-old man was indicted on charges of casting 20 falsified absentee ballots in the Democratic primary in 2022, Fox News reported. Queens County District Attorney Melinda Katz emphasized: “Every vote has to count. Election integrity is the foundation of a viable, working democracy.” The Queens man faces 140 charges. Beyond casting fake ballots, prosecutors say the man obtained approval for 32 out of 118 ballot applications.

Among the most high-profile cases is one in Bridgeport, Conn., where some of the alleged fraud from the September Democratic mayoral primary seemed to have been caught on camera. This led Mayor Joe Ganim — who served time on a previous public corruption conviction when he was mayor of the city about two decades earlier — to accept full responsibility, WSHU reported.

Ganim, however, said he wasn’t aware that a Democratic operative was allegedly stuffing ballots into a drop box outside Bridgeport City Hall and caught on camera in the act. A state judge tossed Ganim’s primary victory a week before the November general election, calling the evidence of fraud “shocking.”

A Texas state appeals court overturned the result of a Laredo City Council race, ruling that Ricardo Rangel Jr. was the rightful winner of a 2022 election. This came after the alleged involvement of city police officers in casting illegal votes, the Laredo Morning Times reported.

These legal cases highlight how voter fraud can be committed, emphasizing the critical need for robust election integrity laws.

The prosecutions and convictions brought within the last three months — ranging from illegal voting and ballot tampering to fraudulent registration — underscore the vulnerabilities in the electoral system.

As these cases unfold, they underscore the importance of continuous efforts to strengthen election laws and protect the vote as we move into 2024 — enabling us to safeguard the democratic foundations of the United States.

New State Rep. Donna Scheuren: I Felt a Calling to Serve

Despite most Montgomery County residents sending Democrats to Harrisburg and Congress, 147th House District voters elected Republican Donna Scheuren in 2022.

“No doubt the 147th House District is unique, as it is a district completely within the confines of Montgomery County that chose a Republican to represent it,” said Scheuren. “I believe the voices of all residents need to be heard, whether those beliefs are from the left, the right, or the center.”

“I feel my responsibility is great,” Scheuren told Delaware Valley Journal. “I am honored to have been elected on the values and principles that I aspire to, and I know those shared values of good schools, low taxes, safe communities, opportunity, and decent paying jobs are held by the majority of the voters in the 147th district.”

Donna and Dave Scheuren

The 147th District consists of part of Montgomery County consisting of the Townships of Douglass, Franconia (part), Lower Frederick, Lower Salford, New Hanover, Upper Frederick, Upper Pottsgrove and Upper Salford.

It was formerly represented by GOP Rep. Tracy Pennycuick, now a state senator.

Scheuren served on the Souderton Area School Board where she chaired the finance committee, and touted her 30 years of business experience in her campaign.

“I have always fought for the best interests of the people,” said Scheuren. “As a small business owner, I’ve created jobs and know the pressures of meeting payroll. As a manufacturer’s rep, I’ve worked every day to grow or save jobs for thousands of employees in factories and manufacturing plants across the country.”

She has worked to “control and cut costs, negotiate contracts, grow revenue, improve processes, invest in people, and deliver quality outcomes in manufactured goods and services, or the total life experience of a student’s education.”

“I’ve been hearing both sides of an issue for most of my adult life and making the tough decisions that are in the best interest of all stakeholders – whether (they are) are business owners, factory workers or the consumer of finished goods, or local tax-paying residents, parents, staff, and students,” she said. “For in these volatile and challenging times, the voters of the 147th need to know they elected a leader with the qualified experience to serve on day one and should feel confident knowing that I will always work to implement the district’s legislative priorities.”

As the legislative session gets underway, Scheuren said she hopes to promote jobs, technical education, voter ID, and reduce taxes and crime.

“We must continue to reduce taxes and burdensome regulations, along with waste, abuse, and fraud, for our state to thrive and be an economic leader,” she said. “Building that trust also includes acknowledging the wishes of more than 70 percent of voters across the country that support Voter ID to restore confidence in our electoral process. Pennsylvania voters deserve to see that question on the May primary ballot.

And, “there is nothing more fundamental than a free and safe society, yet with crime on the rise in our cities and suburbs, residents are finding themselves more at risk. I fully support the law enforcement community and the training, technological advancements, and funding necessary to keep our businesses, schools, and homes safe from violence,” said Scheuren.

Asked why she decided to run, Scheuren said, “I have always been passionate about politics and felt a calling to serve. Once I saw the widespread effects of our state and nation being shut down by COVID, it was clear that common-sense solutions were needed in many aspects of government.”

Scheuren and her husband, Dave Scheuren, live in Lower Salford, where he serves as a township supervisor. In their free time, they enjoy cheering for Penn State.

“With generations of Scheuren family members graduating from Penn State, we are a PSU football family with the tailgating RV to prove it,” Scheuren said. “I enjoy interior design and decorating throughout the year for the change of season. I relish, however, planning and hosting parties, events, community gatherings, and all functions that help to bring family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues together. Life is short and meant to be celebrated.”


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PENNYCUICK: PA Must Join Majority of States and Nations With Voter ID Laws

Pennsylvania’s failure to enact a key component of election integrity has put it behind not only a vast majority of states and most developed countries but behind many developing nations as well.

The lack of a voter ID requirement in our commonwealth is even more frustrating because an overwhelming number of citizens polled have voiced support for this commonsense measure.

The Pennsylvania Senate recently acted to remedy this embarrassing situation by passing a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow voters to finally decide the issue themselves. Implementing these voter verification standards will help weed out any bad actors and ensure legality. Legitimate votes are the only votes that are counted.

Election security is not a one-party issue. Many claims have been filed in courts by both Democrats and Republicans throughout the years, questioning the validity of voters. The goal of this is to erase those concerns.

Every excuse used to block this rational election reform has been shown to be false. Requiring proof of identification before voting does not suppress turnout, and acceptable IDs are not difficult to obtain.

Opponents of voter verification proposals have made false claims that the legislation would reduce voter turnout and have a disproportionate impact on African American and other minority voters.

This is strictly not true. In some cases, the opposite has been true.

For instance, when photo ID was added as a requirement in Georgia, overall turnout and African American turnout went up, not down. Academic studies and large surveys conducted of non-voters by both liberal and conservative entities consistently show voter ID laws don’t keep people from voting regardless of their age, sex, race, income, and education.

Most developed countries, and many developing ones, have voter photo ID requirements. They also have higher voter turnout than the United States.

Voter ID requirements are the norm around the world. All 27 European Union countries require photo identification for voting. Mexico and Columbia require government-issued biometric IDs to vote.

Canada requires voter ID, which must be a driver’s license or any other card issued by a Canadian government with photo, name, and current address. If the individual doesn’t have one of those, the voter must present at the polls at least two pieces of ID with his or her name and at least one current address, such as a birth certificate and a residential lease.

IDs are not difficult to obtain. Voters have 15 ID options approved by the Pennsylvania Department of State. Any individual who does not possess a valid form of ID could receive one at no cost to ensure no voter is prevented from participating in the election process.

Nationally, the calls for voter ID come from Democrats and Republicans alike. The 2005 Bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, co-chaired by former President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, and former Secretary of State James Baker, a Republican, recommended voter identification in its final report.

Former President Carter said requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls was just as “practical” as the many other ID requirements of daily life. “Americans have to remember you have to have the equivalent to what we’re requiring to cast a ballot to cash a check or board a plane,” he noted.

A Franklin and Marshall College poll found that 74 percent of Pennsylvanians support requiring voters to present identification to vote. A Monmouth University poll found that 80 percent of Americans favor voter ID nationwide.

If voter ID is not a barrier to voting and the people want it, why does Pennsylvania remain so out of step on this issue? The first obstacle was former Gov. Tom Wolf. The General Assembly passed a voter ID requirement in 2021, but the governor vetoed it.

Unwilling to let the voice of the people fall on deaf ears, lawmakers in the previous legislative session passed a proposed constitutional amendment that would bypass the governor and send the question straight to the voters as a ballot question.

Constitutional amendments must be passed in two consecutive legislative sessions before they can go before the voters. The Senate did so this month, sending the measure to the House of Representatives, which also needs to pass the proposal in order to have the question placed on the ballot.

Voting is a cherished right. Confidence in our elections is vital to holding our good and decent republic together. Unfortunately, polls in recent years indicate that more than half of voters in Pennsylvania question the outcome of elections. This cannot go unaddressed.

The House of Representatives should pass voter ID legislation immediately and let the voters decide in this year’s primary election.

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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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