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GOP lawmakers call on Congress to dispute electors

Members of Pa. House, Senate wish to ensure voice of state residents is heard about election

HARRISBURG — Republican members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Pennsylvania Senate are calling on Congress to dispute the state’s slate of electors certified by Gov. Tom Wolf.

In a statement released Friday, the lawmakers say they’re asking Congress to intervene because the General Assembly is barred from doing so under the state constitution, but also claim it is to “stand up for Pennsylvania’s election integrity and ensure the voice of Pennsylvanians concerned with how the 2020 election was conducted is heard.”

“I am alarmed and incredibly concerned about the numerous process failures, mistakes and reports of misdeeds in the 2020 election,” Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, the House majority leader whose district includes a portion of Mifflin County, said in a statement. “Regardless of their political affiliation, we want people to feel confident in the election process. While we constitutionally cannot act as a legislature to fix these problems at this time, there is action that can be taken to ensure the integrity of our election is upheld and the voice of Pennsylvanians is heard. I hope that the law enforcement entities and our members of Congress take these letters with the seriousness and concern they deserve to ensure the rule of law is followed and the people of Pennsylvania truly have access to free, fair and secure elections.”

The GOP lawmakers also wrote a letter to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro requesting he appoint an independent prosecutor to review any election irregularities, to ensure the statutes governing the state’s election laws were not violated and to make recommendations to the General Assembly concerning further internal control policies.

Additionally, a letter was sent to Pennsylvania Inspector General Lucas M. Miller requesting a review of the Department of State’s internal policies and procedures during the 2020 general election; a review of any IT issues, specifically server issues and election website glitch errors; a review of internal control policies of the SURE System; recommendations for the state department to improve internal controls; and recommendations to improve coordination between the state department and counties.

“There are very legitimate and credible issues which need to be resolved after the 2020 election about the security of mail-in ballots and the process of counting votes,” Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, whose district includes Mifflin and Juniata counties, House Speaker Bryan Cutler, Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward and Benninghoff said in a joint statement. “We as leaders of the Senate and House have set into motion a major legislative initiative that will be pursued with the same resolve shown over the last eight months in taking on the Governor’s unilateral pandemic actions.”

The legislature will specifically review three of the most pressing issues the Senate and House found over the last three weeks of investigation: the security of voting and manner in which votes are counted, the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s management of the 2020 general election and the impact of the judiciary on the 2020 general election and subsequent candidate legal challenges.

“We will stand up and continue to fight through the legislative process and oversight hearings,” the statement said. “We will make sure there are answers to the questions and concerns that are being brought forward from every corner of our Commonwealth.” the leaders said in the statement.

“We cannot take steps to appoint electors for this election given these provisions in the Election Code,” the GOP leaders said. “Doing so would violate our Election Code and Constitution, particularly a provision that prohibits us from changing the rules for election contests of the president after the election … Make no mistake, this should not be misconstrued to suggest we will allow the issues presented with the 2020 General Election to evade complete legislative review and action.”

Joe Biden has been certified as the winner of Pennsylvania’s popular vote by a margin of 80,555 votes. The electors committed to voting for Biden will cast their votes Dec. 14 when the Electoral College formally elects the next president and vice president.

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