– Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Bradford/Tioga/Potter) joined fellow members of the House State Government Committee at the state Capitol Thursday for the first in a series of hearings about the state’s election laws and procedures.
The hearings are the continuation of a review launched by the committee late last year after voters raised concerns about the integrity of the Nov. 3 general election.
“Election integrity and uniformity is by far the top concern raised by the people I represent. We’ve received thousands of emails and phone calls on the issue, and that is something I take very seriously,” Owlett said. “This was an extremely controversial election in our Commonwealth, and it was not all about the candidates on the ballot. We need to ask ourselves why. Why did Pennsylvania end up in the spotlight in the days leading up to and the weeks following the election? Why did we have one-third of county election officials resign before and after the election? What can we do to prevent this controversy and divisiveness from happening in our future elections? That’s what I am hoping we can resolve through these hearings over the next several weeks.
“Citizens across the state have raised legitimate concerns about how the election was conducted, from the acceptance of late ballots to the use of drop boxes and lack of signature verification on mail-in ballots. Court rulings and last-minute guidance issued by the Department of State created unnecessary confusion that ultimately eroded public confidence in our elections. We have a responsibility to develop policy to make sure this never happens again.” he added. “Some will say this is a partisan endeavor; however, the bipartisan State Government Committee is exactly the right entity to conduct these hearings, assess our election laws and initiate any necessary changes.”
Thursday’s hearing featured Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar and Deputy Secretary for Elections and Commissions Jonathan Marks, who were questioned extensively about the volume of guidance and instruction, some of it confusing and contradictory, issued to county officials in the days and hours leading up to the election.
The committee has scheduled more than a dozen hearings in the weeks ahead to assess various elements of the state’s election laws and practices. The topic of the next hearing, scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 28, will be the SURE (Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors) system and other election-related information technology.
All hearings are streamed live, and available for viewing later, at PAHouseGOP.com
Representative Clint Owlett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia Hippler