Keller’s objection is for political gain only

To the editor:

Rep. Fred Keller’s column in the Wed., Jan 6 Sentinel, spoke of the “illegal actions” of the Pa.Supreme Court in adjudicating the 2020 presidential election. Mr. Keller and his Republican colleagues are using flawed logic in objecting to the certification of Pa.’s electors The AP article on the front page of the same day’s newspaper offers facts to counter Mr. Keller’s incomplete or incorrect points. I quote from this article:

1. “the many unlawful actions undertaken by the Pennsylvania Governor’s office, the Secretary of State, and what has been described as a rogue Pennsylvania Supreme Court exceeded and circumvented the state legislature’s clear constitutional authority.” (This statement ignores) case law that makes it plain that the executive branch has the authority to make decisions on how to implement election law, and courts have the authority to interpret election law, say constitutional law scholars. If they disagree with the courts, the solution is for lawmakers to clarify what they meant by passing legislation.

2.“Accepting ballots past 8 p.m. on Election Day.”

The state Supreme Court, ruling in two lawsuits seeking an extension, cited the pandemic and U.S. Postal Service delays in granting three extra days for counties to accept and count ballots mailed before polls closed. A Republican appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court resulted in about 9,400 late-arriving ballots .. being set aside and not counted in the presidential election, even though the U.S. Supreme Court never agreed to hear the case. It may yet do so in the future.

3. “Not properly requiring signatures to match those on mail-in ballots or requiring dates.”

In one ruling, the state Supreme Court said the law on mail-in ballots makes it clear only that the ballot envelope requires the voter’s signature, but not a matching signature. State law says the voter shall “fill out, date and sign” a declaration on the outside envelope, although it does not say that leaving off a date automatically disqualifies the ballot.

4. “Authorizing the curing of mail-in ballots with less than a 24-hour’s notice; Only some counties were informed and adhered to this order leaving voters treated unequally from county to county.” … federal and state courts have rejected the complaint that voters were treated “unequally” when some counties let voters correct a potentially disqualifying technicality with a mail-in ballot. Bruce Ledewitz, a professor of law at Duquesne University, said there is no case law saying that “every county has to treat every voter the same.”

5. “Authorizing the use of unsecure drop boxes, which is not permitted in statute.” State law is silent on the use of drop boxes.

Ultimately, the state Supreme Court decided that they are legal. Meanwhile, the state’s publicly posted guidance to counties was to ensure that drop boxes are secure, to prevent tampering with ballots.

6.“Prohibiting certified poll watchers overseeing the canvassing of ballots in Philadelphia.”

The Trump campaign’s own court complaint, witnesses and lawyers acknowledged that its watchers were able to see the processing of mail-in ballots in Philadelphia, which was also livestreamed on video. The state Supreme Court ruled that state law does not require counties to let observers get close enough to see the writing, only that they be able to observe.

I submit that Mr. Keller’s efforts, and the efforts of his Republican colleagues, are a self-serving attempt to pander to Mr. Trump and his base, in a bid for political power.

Joan D. Loewen



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