House State Government Committee holds partisan hearing demanding answers in search of problem

HARRISBURG, Jan. 21 – The House State Government Committee today used its first public hearing of the new legislative session to again question PA Department of State officials on issues they’ve already answered regarding the 2020 election, according to the committee’s Democratic Chair Margo Davidson, D-Delaware.

Davidson said such questions were asked by the committee’s Republican chairman Seth Grove and answered by the department on multiple occasions, including comprehensive answers returned to him in March 2019, December 2020 and January 2021.

“Secretary Boockvar was a hero to Pennsylvania voters today as she endured nearly three hours of testimony,” Davidson said. “I applaud Secretary Boockvar and Deputy Secretary Marks for their professionalism exhibited throughout the hearing. The secretary, the Wolf administration, and county election officials did an excellent job carrying out two elections in 2020 on the heels of Act 77 of 2019, which contained the most significant reforms to improve voting in decades, despite obstacles created by COVID-19 and a coordinated misinformation campaign orchestrated and carried out by former President Trump and his surrogates. The Republican majority that crafted the Act 77 law without public hearings now want to hold 14 public hearings to, in their words, ‘conduct a thorough review’ of the current election law and processes.

“I think it is outrageous that three months after a full county, state and national certification of the election process, after a sickening insurrection culminating in 25,000 troops guarding the democratic heart of our nation during the Presidential inauguration, that PA Republicans are conducting these hearings. While the necessity of these hearings was reportedly not to re-litigate the 2020 elections that is exactly what occurred in this first hearing, as member after member on the Republican side re-asked questions that were already provided for on the state website and already decided by the court system, and as they droned on and on for an average of 10 to 15 minutes per member in violation of the agreed upon Committee five-minute rule.

“While there are some voters and some counties in Pennsylvania that will never be happy with the results of this election, the fact of the matter is that it was free, fair, accurate and uniform as declared by Homeland Security officials, the Justice Department, state courts, federal courts, members of Congress and members of the Senate who in a bi-partisan way overwhelming accepted the results of the election despite nefarious objections. When this political theatre has finally ended and we begin to contemplate changes to our state election laws, I hope that this Republican majority does not consider changes that would disenfranchise voters. There are things that we can and should do to improve the voting process, such as allowing counties to pre-canvass ballots in order to ensure timely results are recorded on Election Day.

“I take my role and responsibility on the State Government Committee seriously and hope that the committee can move beyond these settled issues of the 2020 election and look toward passing legislation to help counties avoid extreme pressure on our next election day while ensuring voters’ ballot access and rights,” Davidson said.