With the mid-term elections close at hand, voter rights took center stage when a Pennsylvania senate order backed by Republicans seeking reams of private voter information was harshly denounced by Democratic leaders in Bucks and Montgomery Counties.
In supporting the state Attorney General’s efforts to block the senate subpoena in Commonwealth Court, affidavits have been filed by Bucks Commissioner Chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia and Montgomery County Commissioner Chair Dr. Val Arkoosh, both Democrats..
“Recent actions by the Pennsylvania Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee to stoke division, distrust and disinformation threaten to jeopardize the trust we have worked so hard to build and preserve,” wrote Marseglia, who noted efforts by the GOP to “pry private voter information” from the Department of State “imperils” the goal of guarding voter identifying information and public confidence.
The affidavits appear as exhibits attached to and cited in Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s court efforts. As county commissioners, Marseglia and Arkoosh serve on the boards of elections for their respective counties.
The senate subpoena impedes trust in the election process, wrote Arkoosh.
“It threatens to deter eligible voters from registering for fear that their personal information might be exposed to third parties,” she wrote, “and may erode the trust already-registered electors have in the elections process by lending legitimacy to false and dangerous claims that the Nov. 2 2020, election was somehow fraudulent.”
Montgomery County Commissioner Kenneth E. Lawrence Jr., chair of the Montgomery Board of Elections, also filed an affidavit stating, “I am concerned that disclosing voters’ personal information will make it harder for the Montgomery County Board of Elections to administer elections in the future.”
Since the senate subcommittee subpoena was issued last month, elected officials in Bucks have received more than 300 complaints from county voters expressing concern about the security of their identifying information, said Marseglia. Similar complaints were received in Montgomery County, said Arkoosh.
Rather than wasting taxpayer dollars on what she described in her affidavit as a “cynical political stunt,” Marseglia wrote that lawmakers should instead be considering commonsense election reforms – such as allowance for earlier pre-canvassing of ballots – that have bipartisan support among county commissioners statewide.