HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Republicans in Pennsylvania’s Senate pursuing what they call a “forensic investigation” of last year’s presidential election say they’ll subpoena records that detail who voted, including their driver’s license number and the last four digits of their Social Security number, and by what method they voted.
Senate Republicans have scheduled a meeting Wednesday of the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee to issue subpoenas to Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration.
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In addition to records on who voted, Republicans also want records of communication between Wolf’s administration and counties. Critics say it’s a fruitless search for fraud to legitimize former President Donald Trump’s baseless conspiracy theories that the election was rigged against him.
On Wednesday, Sept. 15, Governor Wolf released a statement condemning Senate Republicans “for their actions to undermine election security in Pennsylvania, spread lies and conspiracy theories about Pennsylvania elections and waste millions of taxpayers’ dollars.”
“We continue to strongly oppose any effort which would compromise the security and integrity of election materials, infrastructure, and the personal information of Pennsylvania voters, while undermining confidence in our elections by bringing an Arizona-style circus to Pennsylvania,” Wolf said in his statement.
According to Wolf, the information requested is another step to undermine democracy, confidence in elections and to capitulate to Donal Trump’s conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.
“Senate Republicans would rather cater to the fringe elements of their party who still are perpetuating the Big Lie rather than focus on issues that affect Pennsylvanians’ lives,” Wolf said.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro also released a statement.
“These subpoenas only highlight how Republican leaders in our Commonwealth continue to try and manufacture controversy out of nothing—instead of a bombshell, the majority of this information is publicly available and doesn’t require force to be compelled,” Shapiro said. “My office is aware that voters’ private and sensitive information is also being requested. We will do everything within our power to protect Pennsylvanians’ personal data.”
After today’s Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee hearing, four Senate Democrats held a press conference to discuss legal action they plan to take to challenge Republican members’ subpoena.
The Democrats include Jay Costa, Senate Democratic leader; Anthony H. Williams, Democratic chair of the Intergovernmental Operations Committee, Vincent J. Hughes, committee member, and Steve Santarsiero, committee member.
According to the press release, the lawsuit will ask the courts “to confirm that the Senate is not the place to conduct an untimely election contest or to undertake an audit that will force election officials to violate federal law and invade the privacy of each and every Pennsylvania voter.”
Plus, they will request to have courts protect the secrecy of both ballots and additional personal voter information that the Senate Republicans are seeking.
“Facts are facts, and the law is non-negotiable. Unfortunately for Senate Republicans, those realities don’t bode well for them in this investigation. Despite their quest to engage in a partisan exercise that wastes taxpayer resources and only seeks to prove a Big Lie about an election that has already been audited and certified, our goal is not to make this a Democrat vs. Republican fight. Our goal is to follow the law at both the state and federal level,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa.
The committee members plan to file an injunction against the subpoena. They do so asking the court to hold those until their lawsuit is heard in court.