HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Senate State Government Committee Chairman Sen. Cris Dush (R-25) issued the following statement regarding Tuesday’s State of Election Integrity 2023 public hearing with Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt.
“Featuring point-blank questions ranging from mail-in ballots and election night returns, to voting machines, and voter registration, the purpose of today’s hearing was to discuss the administration of and results from the 2023 election, including any irregularities or problems that came up. Secretary Schmidt’s participation and candor resulted in another productive wellness check on the commonwealth’s current state of election integrity.
“I understand the need for modernization in vote counting, but I remain deeply concerned about the many failures we’ve seen along the way. You can call them small if you want, but small failures lead to bigger ones.”
Chairman Dush also objected to remarks by then-Commissioner Schmidt who told reporters in 2020 that voters are more likely to make a mistake with paper ballots than machines. “I respectfully disagree with the secretary about the effectiveness of traditional paper ballots. Paper ballots do not lead to more mistakes, and they are more reliable and secure. Paper ballots don’t glitch, and they leave a physical paper trail to review. Paper cannot be hacked.”
Dush also welcomed comments by Sen. Anthony Williams (D-8) in support of public notices from the secretary when county results are removed from the department’s public election night returns website for review, and for review of a confidential assessment of the SURE system, Pennsylvania’s voter management database.
“Right now, our election process is trending towards convenience without proportionate safeguards. Mail-in ballots and drop boxes make it impossible to preserve ballot chain of custody. Voter rolls aren’t cleaned like they should be. Voting machines aren’t properly inspected.
“No one should be forced to choose between convenience and accountability, and no one should oppose enhancing election integrity. Our state constitution requires elections to be free and equal, and Pennsylvanians deserve rules that guarantee it’s hard to cheat and easy to vote.
“That means EVERY voter should be verified, EVERY ballot should be secured and EVERY voting machine should be inspected and verified. Until these issues are resolved, there will be doubts about the electoral process, and we owe it to the voters to fix these issues.”
Tuesday’s hearing is available for viewing here.
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