By J D Prose
Beaver County Times
Sept 3, 2021 – Lawmakers argued in the suit filed late Tuesday in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court that Act 77, under which no-excuse mail-in voting was allowed, violates the state and U.S. constitutions and should have been pursued through a state constitutional amendment, even though 11 of them voted for the legislation in 2019.
The GOP legislators on the lawsuit are:
- Timothy Bonner, Mercer County, who was not in office when Act 77 passed.
- Mike Jones, York County, who voted for Act 77.
- David Zimmerman, Lancaster County, who voted against Act 77.
- Barry Jozwiak, Berks County, who voted for Act 77.
- Kathy Rapp, Warren County, who voted for Act 77.
- David Maloney, Berks, who voted for Act 77.
- Barbara Gleim, Cumberland County, who voted for Act 77.
- Bob Brooks, Westmoreland County, who voted for Act 77.
- Aaron Bernstine, Lawrence County, who voted for Act 77.
- Timothy Twardzik, Schuylkill County, who was not in office when Act 77 passed.
- Dawn Keefer, York County, who voted for Act 77.
- Dan Moul, Adams County, who voted for Act 77.
- Frank Ryan, Lebanon County, who voted for Act 77.
- Bud Cook, Washington County, who voted for Act 77.
“Last year, over 2.5 million Pennsylvanians embraced mail-in voting and other safe secure and modern forms of voting which Act 77 allowed for the first time in the commonwealth,” said Lyndsay Kensinger, a spokesperson for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.
“The fact that members of the General Assembly who voted for Act 77 and were chosen for office in elections in which it was in effect are now suing to overturn it is hypocritical and a betrayal of voters,” Kensinger said. “We should continue to modernize our election system and make it more convenient for voters to make their voices heard. Instead these members are seeking to silence voters as they perpetuate false claims of a stolen election.”
However, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a likely Democratic candidate for governor in 2022, said Thursday on Twitter: “This lawsuit is not only the height of hypocrisy, but it also has real consequences and damages public trust in our elections.”
After initially supporting mail-in voting, Republicans have followed former President Donald Trump’s calls against the practice and launched several legal attacks on the process, although none of them have been successful.
Trump began baselessly warning about mail-in voting fraud last year before the November election when it became clear that Democrats were flocking to mailed ballots amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
GOP election probe
As Trump’s evidence-free claims continue, Republican lawmakers have repeatedly called into question the results of the presidential election, but not the races that they won.
On Thursday, the state Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee announced that it has created a webpage for Pennsylvania voters to submit sworn testimony about their voting experiences and any irregularities they have witnessed.
The effort is part of what committee Chairman Sen. Cris Dush, R-Jefferson County, called an election integrity investigation. Testimony can be submitted at https://intergovernmental.pasenategop.com/electioninvestigation/.
Dush recently replaced state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin County, as committee chairman after Mastriano was removed amid bickering with Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman over the committee’s efforts to subpoena records from York, Tioga and Philadelphia counties.
Mastriano has been at the forefront of the movement questioning the 2020 election results and was part of a Republican group that visited Arizona to review the GOP-led election audit there.
Dush also said that the committee will hold public hearings and request documents from counties and the Pennsylvania Department of State “to conduct a comprehensive election investigation – including potentially using the committee’s subpoena powers,” according to a statement.