Pennsylvania Capitol

Pictured is the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg.

THE ISSUE

As Spotlight PA reports, “Pennsylvania Senate Republicans undertaking a controversial review of last year’s presidential election on Wednesday authorized collecting personal information on every registered voter in the state, despite objections by Democrats who decried it as invasive and unwarranted.” The state Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee voted 7-4 along party lines to demand that the Pennsylvania Department of State, which oversees elections statewide, turn over personal information of every voter registered as of last November. The subpoena also requests “all email and other written communications between the Department of State and elections officials in every Pennsylvania county; all state election directives and guidance to counties; and training materials for poll workers, election judges, and others,” Spotlight PA reported. Democrats said Wednesday they would sue to block the subpoena.

As you read in today’s news pages about the Republican-led election review and related information grab, the LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board asks you to keep in mind the following:

— If you were registered to vote by Nov. 1, 2020, Republican state senators not only want your name, birth date and address, which are public. They also want your driver’s license number and the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Under Pennsylvania law, driver’s license numbers and Social Security numbers cannot be released publicly.

They also want to know when you last voted and whether it was by mail, in person or provisional ballot.

— State Sen. Cris Dush, R-Jefferson County, chairs the state Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee.  According to The Associated Press, Dush said the committee needs this information because “there have been questions regarding the validity of people who have .... voted, whether or not they exist.”

The primary reason there are “questions regarding the validity” of the election is that Republicans like Dush keep pushing a false narrative that the election’s validity should be questioned. This is in service of the Big Lie, the false claim that the 2020 November election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.

It’s true that in a couple of cases, Pennsylvania Republicans tried to vote for Trump using the identities of their dead mothers. But the culprits were caught; the system worked. In the multiple court cases brought by Republicans, no widespread evidence was found that would have altered the election outcome in any state, including Pennsylvania, where President Joe Biden won by more than 80,000 votes.

— Nevertheless, the state Senate Republicans want your personal information. They oppose a school mask mandate because they say they believe in personal choice, but they want your personal information without your permission.

And they want to turn that information over to a contractor they have not named. According to Spotlight PA, Dush even “refused to provide any information about which companies are being vetted for the job.”

— Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman pledged that your “sensitive information” will be secure. But he didn’t detail just how it will be protected.

Are you OK with a verbal assurance? Even though these Senate Republican leaders are not being transparent about which company might be handling your personal information?

— Dush said Wednesday that the private company the Senate hires will be paid with taxpayer dollars.

For an “audit” of an election that’s already been certified by the Republican officials of Lancaster County and other counties.

An election that took place 10 months ago.

An election that returned many Republicans to power, while also putting a Democrat in the White House.

An election that was deemed fair and secure by former U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Trump’s former election cybersecurity chief.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Dush also is considering hiring outside counsel, which likely will cost a bundle.

How do you feel about this proposed use of your taxpayer dollars?

About this proposed use of your personal information?

Are you in the habit of handing over such information to unknown entities for what are clearly political purposes? Because we are not.

Facing questioning by Democratic state Sen. Steve Santarsiero of Bucks County, Dush would not even confirm that the company the committee hires won’t have connections to the 2020 Trump campaign.

— Dush traveled to Arizona in June to get a firsthand look at the election review there. Does that inspire faith?

The Arizona “audit” was deemed even by some Arizona Republicans to be a botched and anti-democratic, partisan sham. It was conducted by a company called the Cyber Ninjas because, in 2021 America, apparently there is no limit to the absurdity.

Like their counterparts in Arizona, state Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania seem intent on ruining their credibility by pretending that the distrust they ginned up about 2020’s presidential election now compels them to investigate that election.

We can try to save them from their reckless efforts to harm our democracy by telling them what we think. Please do.

WHOM TO CONTACT IN HARRISBURG:

Gov. Tom Wolf, Democrat. Capitol office: 225 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120; phone: 717-787-2500. Online contact form: governor.pa.gov/contact/

Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Democrat. Phone: 717-787-3391. Online contact form: attorneygeneral.gov/contact/

Sen. Ryan Aument, R-36, Lancaster County. Capitol office: 9 East Wing, Senate Box 203036, Harrisburg, PA 17120-3036; phone:

717-787-4420. District office: 301 E. Main St., Lititz, PA 17543; phone: 717-627-0036. Email: raument@ pasen.gov; online form: senatoraument.com/voice-your-concerns/

Sen. Scott Martin, R-13, Lancaster County, Capitol office: 183 Main Capitol, Senate Box 203013, Harrisburg, PA 17120-3013; phone: 717-787-6535. District office: 135 East Main Street, Suite 1-A, Strasburg, PA 17579; phone: 717-397-1309; fax: 717-299-7798. Online contact form: senatorscottmartinpa.com/contact/

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