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Letter to York County Commissioners Regarding Partisan Election Review

August 13, 2021

The following letter was emailed to York County Commissioners Julie Wheeler (President), Doug Hoke (Vice President), and Ron Smith on August 12.

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Dear York County Commissioners:

The staff and board at the Committee of Seventy, Pennsylvania's oldest nonpartisan good government group, appreciate the steadfast leadership you have demonstrated time and again throughout the pandemic. We appreciate the challenge of providing core county services under these trying conditions, and on top of that know well that administering elections under these conditions---including an Election Code in desperate need of further modernization---has been incredibly difficult.

So it has been deeply troubling to see the strain on your leadership unnecessarily exacerbated by disinformation around our democratic process and specifically targeting the 2020 General Election. Senator Doug Mastriano's proposal has only made the matter worse, and it will take all of us years to build back the trust in our elections that he and others have cynically torn down.

As you are no doubt aware, Senator Doug Mastriano's misguided proposal meets none of the criteria of a legitimate election audit and would provide no value in addressing the various issues that election officials across the state have already raised to the General Assembly. Rep. Seth Grove and others had it right when they immediately rejected this call to replicate the sort of fiasco that took place in Maricopa County this year.

We do understand that a group of your constituents, joined by activists from outside the county, are asking that you comply with Sen. Mastriano's demand. The Committee of Seventy urges you to stand firm with your fellow county commissioners in the Commonwealth in officially declining.

As you know well, a more effective way to address any integrity-related concerns being raised would be to expand your efforts to invite York County residents to become a part of the existing election process---to serve as a poll worker, a poll watcher, or a canvassing volunteer. Our organization has over a hundred years of experience in that regard and we would gladly offer our possible assistance.

Thank you again for your commitment and service.

Sincerely,

David Thornburgh
President & CEO
Committee of Seventy