End the election ‘audit’

he belief that current “forensic audit” of Pennsylvania’s November 2020 election will give voters stronger confidence in our elections will do the opposite.

There was no widespread voter fraud that would overturn the results. County election officials — from directors to judges and inspectors of election — did their jobs amid record voter turnout in our state.

Votes were counted. Votes were recounted.

The results were verified.

The results were challenged, but no challenges were successful to change the outcome.

In Pennsylvania there were more mail-in ballots due to well-founded fears about COVID-19.

Since then, the state House and Senate in Harrisburg have forwarded election reforms (House Bill 1300) that, among other things, limit mail-in ballots.

Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed those changes, but he’s willing to consider a voter ID mandate.

Republicans should simply keep talking to the governor and Democrats to find common ground.

We echo the words of 23rd District state Sen. Gene Yaw, a Republican from Lycoming County, in a recent op-ed: ‘No one likes losing, but, if we are on that side, we can be civil and respectful.”

Here’s what Yaw also had to say: “The Election Reform Bill (House Bill 1300), which was passed by the Legislature earlier this year, was oriented toward fixing the problems as found by the state House of Representatives and Senate committees that gathered information from voter’s services offices across the state.

“This was done through several public hearings. Unfortunately, Gov. Wolf vetoed House Bill 1300, mainly because the bill had a provision mandating a voter ID. There is some indication he may be willing to reconsider some of the issues.

“Figuring out a way around his veto seems to be a course which could produce tangible results for the next election coming in just a couple of months.”

We add the opinion of former Pennsylvania Republican assemblyman and congressman Jim Greenwood of New Hope: “If Sen. Jake Corman really wants to improve the integrity of our elections, he should start by removing the Commonwealth from the list of only 10 other states that put no limits on how much money political action committees and wealthy individuals can contribute to candidates for the legislature or governor. No forensic audit is needed to unveil the corrupt influence there.”

The democratic process will and must continue to work. Our take is that state Sen. Corman has authorized the “audit” to compel Gov. Tom Wolf to compromise on HB 1300.

But there should be no compromise when it comes to voter records: Those records should never be turned over to a non-public third party.

We cannot become another Arizona. Some 18 months out and Arizona’s so-called privately run audit has only confirmed 2020 results there.

Corman and our own Sen. Cris Dush are behind the issuance of subpoenas for data and personal information on voters as part of the audit.

Republicans are seeking the names, dates of birth, driver’s license numbers, last four digits of Social Security numbers, addresses and methods of voting for millions of Pennsylvanians who cast ballots in May and last November.

This is dangerous. Voting records are the people’s records, not to be handed over to a private entity. The state attorney general sued this week to block the GOP-issued subpona for an array of election materials.

We know many good, honest and hardworking people who work the polls. 99.99 percent do a fantastic job. 99.99 percent have integrity for their work, even though they’re paid very little.

Indeed, they understand the immense seriousness of their work … that it be complete and accurate. With directors of elections at the county level, they often have to figure out — at the last minute — just what changes the courts and Legislature throw at them.

They make our Democracy work. There are so many other issues — a lack of available workers (especially in health-care) is one of them — that require our attention and action. We must move on, lest we seriously damage confidence in the one privilege that sustains our Democracy.


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