Sep 30, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Thornburgh, President and CEO
Committee of Seventy
STATEMENT ON HR 1032 TO CREATE A SELECT COMMITTEE ON ELECTION INTEGRITY
Seventy expresses concern over partisanship, failure to provide ballot-processing time for counties
The Pennsylvania House State Government Committee today voted along partisan lines to advance a resolution creating a new Select Committee on Election Integrity to investigate the regulation and conduct of the 2020 general election.
Amid an election year rife with fierce partisanship, it is essential that legislation and activities of our General Assembly be bipartisan and reform-focused. This resolution does not pass that test, unlike Act 77 of 2019 and Act 12 of 2020, which provided critical tools for Pennsylvania to begin modernizing its generations-old election law.
County election officials have stated clearly for months what they need from the Legislature to support their herculean efforts to prepare for the fast-approaching November 3 election. Time to pre-canvass ballots before Election Day would help counties and our Commonwealth stave off not only intense national scrutiny but dangerous mis- and dis-information that we anticipate will envelop Pennsylvania on Election Day and the days that follow.
Regardless of the significant investments in equipment and staff that county officials have been compelled to make, our counties will not be able to process by the end of November 3 all of the in-person and mail-in ballots cast. Our local officials will do their jobs with integrity on the ground. But we are deeply concerned about the narrative already being spun on social media, cable news, and elsewhere about how elections work in Pennsylvania.
If the General Assembly intends to use a special vehicle to examine election issues and provide recommendations around the numerous, still-needed updates to the 1937 Election Code, the bipartisan PA Election Law Advisory Board -- created as part of Act 12, and whose members have been confirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate -- should begin its work. But if our lawmakers intend to help our counties now, with less than five weeks before polls open, we again urge them to provide more time for the pre-canvassing of absentee and mail-in ballots before Election Day.
The Committee of Seventy is an independent nonprofit advocate for better politics and better government in Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For more information, see www.seventy.org.