Statement of Common Cause Executive Director Khalif Ali
Yesterday’s violent attack on America’s Capitol was the culmination of what we’ve seen in Pennsylvania for months: the intentional spreading of disinformation regarding our state’s elections for political gain. That is what took place yesterday, and there must be consequences for every politician who supported, promoted, incited or participated in this attack on our nation’s government.
Among those politicians who must face consequences is Pennsylvania’s state Senator Doug Mastriano. In November, Sen. Mastriano organized a public spectacle, inviting partisan agitators to Pennsylvania to question our election results under the imprimatur of the Senate Republican Policy Committee. Sen. Mastriano also organized a bus to take partisan extremists to Washington, DC yesterday, even appearing on social media “at the front of the capitol.”
The reality is that this year’s elections were safe, secure and more accessible than any in Pennsylvania’s history. That was one of the main reasons that our legislators – on both sides of the aisle – overwhelmingly approved Act 77.
To quote State Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, when Act 77 was passed: “What’s important is that people have faith in the system. The elections process matters – it matters a great deal in a democracy.”
Pennsylvania taxpayers just spent more than $100 million to ensure that our elections are secure and voters can have confidence in our elections. All that investment has been devalued by the people who have been spreading disinformation and challenging our election results for their own political purposes.
In the past two months, Pennsylvania’s voters have endured court challenge after court challenge, trying to overturn our decision to choose Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. These efforts were a direct affront to Black, Latinx, AAPI and other voters, organizers and communities of color. All these efforts were an indignity to every single voter in Pennsylvania, as they have tried to deny or devalue our votes. They have also all failed.
What we saw on the floor of Congress last night was reprehensible. We saw members of Congress from other states attacking our Governor and our elected Supreme Court – attacking Pennsylvania’s elected officials for their own political purposes. We saw members of Congress denying the constitutionality of Act 77, even though it was passed by a Republican Legislature and they have no jurisdiction to do so.
We saw eight of Pennsylvania’s duly-elected Representatives in Congress vote to deny our choice for President.
And before that vote, we saw mobs of political extremists – including armed white militants – attacking our country’s Capitol building, trying to stop Congress from accepting our choices for president.
There must be consequences. Pennsylvania’s voters deserve to have our choices respected. Our elected officials must not be allowed to undermine our elections.
Today, Common Cause Pennsylvania echoes the calls for Sen. Mastriano to resign.
We also call on Senate Majority Leader, Kim Ward, and the Senate Republican Caucus to call for Sen. Mastriano’s resignation; and if he does not resign, for the removal of his committee assignments.
He has clearly shown that he does not respect the will of the voters. No elected official should remain in office, if they do not respect the voters who put them there.
Pennsylvanians showed up in record numbers to cast their votes. We did our part, we showed up, we waited in line, we mailed in our ballots, we voted. The attempt made yesterday to reject our decision as a Commonwealth has set a precedent that is contrary to the values of a democracy. This is disrespectful to the Pennsylvanians who put these members into office. We select our leaders, not the other way around.
Pennsylvanians deserve better. We must do better.