While Republicans want to forget about January 6, 2021, they continue to revisit the results of the election of November 3, 2020.
The latest stroll down 2020 memory lane comes in the form of a 168-page “report” entitled ELECTION REFORM IN PENNSYLVANIA: MISSED OPPORTUNITIES AND CONTINUED CHAOS. This analysis of the elections in 2020, 2021, and 2022 was produced by House State Government Chair Seth Grove, who concludes that “If we fail to do so [i.e., to follow Grove’s advice], we can expect upcoming elections to be merely sequels to the 2020, 2021, and 2022 debacles: plagued with systematic errors and delayed results, further sapping the faith of voters in the outcome of our elections.”
The conclusion is based upon a litany of problems about the elections over the past 2 ½ years, which includes:
· Ballot shortages
· Voting using someone else’s identity
· Machine malfunctions
· Problems with printed ballots
· Undated ballots
· Voters leaving polling sites with their unmarked ballots
· Campaign graphic found in voting booth
· Difficulties closing down machines
· Voters receiving wrong ballots
· Wrong date on Spanish speaking ballots
· Mail-in ballots incorrectly issued
· Miswording of a notice
· Poll workers failure to follow certain protocols
· Last minute staffing problems
· Instances of voter intimidation
The report itself, really follows no logical progression, but one is left with the impression that the reason for many of these problems has to do with drop-boxes, and when Grove explains the problem with drop-boxes, his entire argument rests on the fact that ballot harvesting (i.e., the submission of someone else’s ballot) can occur at such sites – ignoring the fact that ballot harvesting can also take place at any mailbox as well.
Grove’s intended remedy was HB 1300, which offered the following:
Requiring every voter to present ID at the polls every time they vote;
Requiring signature verification for mail ballots, in addition to requiring voters to provide two separate forms of identification with their requests for a mail ballot;
Moving the deadline to register to vote from 15 to at least 30 days before Election Day, giving new voters less time to register;
Moving the deadline to request mail ballots from 7 to at least 15 days before Election Day, giving voters less time to request a mail-in or absentee ballot;
Eliminating the permanent mail voting list; and
Limiting the use of ballot return drop boxes to just 7 days before Election Day and requiring drop boxes be staffed by two inspectors to check the identification of voters returning their ballots. If one or both inspectors are not physically present at the drop box location, the box will be locked and rendered unusable for ballot returns.
The first two bullets above would have addressed the problem of voting using someone else’s identity. An AP analysis of the 2020 vote in Pennsylvania, however, found only 26 cases of such voter fraud. It is difficult to determine how Grove’s bill would have fixed the other problems, but it is also feels like overkill to label the paucity of such problems in an election where millions of people had voted “a debacle”.
With classic Republican chutzpah, Grove writes that “Pennsylvanians continue to experience poorly administered and somewhat chaotic elections, with less access to the ballot, expensive litigation, and delayed election results…,” all of which is true, but only because Republicans have created the conditions for those problems to flourish, and those problems would only grow, were HB 1300 or its nasty prodigy (HB 1800) to become law.
The problem is that 2020 won’t go away for these folks. The state senate Republicans continue to fund an “audit” the 2020 election with nearly $500,000 in taxpayer money, when two other audits have already been performed.
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