Senate Committee to Vote Today on Subpoenas of Voters’ Personal Information

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Action comes as part of fourth legislative review of 2020 elections

The Pennsylvania Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, now chaired by Sen. Cris Dush, is scheduled to vote on 17 subpoenas today. The subpoenas demand personal information about every registered voter in the Commonwealth, including information that is generally shielded from disclosure. The Committee’s leadership has not explained why they need the information or what they intend to do with it.

The Committee restarted its review of the 2020 election after Senate President pro tem Jake Corman spoke with former President Donald Trump about his commitment to the partisan review effort. This marks the fourth legislative review of the 2020 election, after those election results were confirmed by both the longstanding “statutory audit” process and also a risk-limiting audit.

The previous chair of the Committee attempted to obtain voting machines from three Pennsylvania counties, but was rebuffed because of the expected cost of replacing those machines if the chain-of-custody was compromised. Fulton County, Pennsylvania, paid $25,000 to lease new voting machines before the May 18 municipal election, after its machines were compromised by a private, third-party review. 

The Committee meeting will begin at 9:30 am today. The meeting will be livestreamed here.

Statement of Khalif Ali, Executive Director of Common Cause Pennsylvania

Yesterday, Senate Republicans — who are still pushing this sham ballot review here in the Commonwealth — announced their intent to subpoena records containing voters’ personal information from the Department of State.

The subpoenas in question ask for each voter’s name, address, birthday, drivers license number and the last four digits of their social security number. To what end?

There is no problem — and so, there is no solution. Yet, here we are again, re-examining an election that has been certified, audited and litigated over a dozen times. 

These subpoenas are a frightening violation of voters’ privacy and an egregious abuse of power. State regulations specifically exempt certain information from public release, because of privacy concerns — but these subpoenas would require the Department of State to provide that information anyway. 

The regulations redact drivers’ license numbers and the last-four of Social Security numbers — information that could be a goldmine for identity thieves. The regulations also shield from public disclosure the home addresses of state prosecutors, judicial officers, corrections officers, peace officers and people who have protection orders because of domestic violence or stalking. But Senate Republicans are intent on subpoenaing this information anyway.

There’s no explanation about what they intend to do with the information, or why they think they need it. They also have not announced any plans for security measures to protect the information from disclosure. Do Pennsylvania voters really want to risk having their personal identification numbers and all those home addresses becoming public knowledge? 

This committee promised a plan, transparency and results, but it has yet to deliver on any of these promises. 

Pennsylvanians deserve to have their private information protected by the people they elected to office, not used as political fodder to appease lies told by a former president. 

This process has costs. It has a seemingly unlimited fiscal cost to taxpayers, a cost of our elected officials’ time and resources, and a cost to the very foundation of our democratic process. These are costs that we cannot afford.

We the voters of Pennsylvania have spoken. We selected our leaders to represent us in office. Those leaders should not be second-guessing us, or trying to substitute their judgment for ours, or trying to pick-and-choose who has the freedom to vote in Pennsylvania. It’s time for all of Pennsylvania’s elected officials to accept the 2020 election results, and start focusing on the jobs we elected them to do.