Pennsylvania Republicans will not hire a contractor for the 2020 election review until a judge agrees, aide says
Republicans in the Pennsylvania Senate have said they will not hire a private contractor to help them with their 2020 election review until a judge rules on the matter.
A GOP-led Senate committee subpoenaed Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration last month for millions of voter records and set an Oct. 1 deadline to comply.
Senate Democrats and State Attorney General Josh Shapiro have filed a lawsuit to block the subpoena in Commonwealth court, and the Wolf administration did not turn over the files on Friday. A judge has yet to render a decision in these cases.
Republicans say they are waiting for a judicial review before hiring a salesperson.
“We’re not going to finalize anything with a vendor and spend taxpayer dollars until we can make sure the investigation is cleared to go through the courts,” Jason Thompson said on Sunday, Door – speech of the Senate committee responsible for the review. “We are very cautious when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars. “
The summons seeks State Department records on the nine million registered voters, including non-public personal information such as their driver’s license numbers and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers.
Senator Cris Dush (R., Jefferson), chair of the panel that issued the summons, said the records will help lawmakers investigate potential voter fraud. Senate Republicans interviewed potential suppliers to help review these cases and facilitate the broader investigation.
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GOP lawmakers issued the subpoena after former President Donald Trump and his allies spent months urging Republican legislatures in Pennsylvania and other swing states he lost to reconsider the election.
President Joe Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes. Neither litigation nor post-election audits revealed otherwise.
Senate Democrats filed a complaint on September 17 alleging that the subpoena tramples the authority of the executive and the judiciary and violates state election law, which they say prohibits the disclosure of voters’ private information to a third-party vendor.
In response, lawyers for the Republicans said in court documents last week that Democrats did not have standing, a basic legal threshold. They also said the state constitution allows the Senate to undertake the investigation.
The Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Operations “analyzes whether to pass, change or repeal election laws,” wrote outside lawyer Matthew H. Haverstick of the Kleinbard LLC law firm. “He does it through factual investigation. This investigation is being conducted in part by subpoena. And the subject of the investigation – the elections – not only falls within the power of the Senate, but is also constitutionally linked to the jurisdiction of the Senate (and the House) in several sections. “
Republicans also took issue with Democrats’ claim that sharing voter personal information with a private provider violates state law, noting that the State Department is currently under contract with a company that helps administer the statewide voter registration database.
“There is no reason to believe or suggest that a contract with a third-party vendor to review this information as part of the committee’s investigation would not contain the same types of protections against unlawful disclosure as any contract entered into. by the State Department. with regard to this information, ”the court documents indicate.