HARRISBURG – Senator Doug Mastriano (PA-33) announced today that he will soon be introducing legislation to strengthen enforcement of election laws to ensure secure and accurate elections in the future.
An overview of the legislation:
Establishment of the Office of Election Crimes and Security
This office will be directed to investigate all election crimes, credible accusations of election crimes, and sworn affidavits alleging election violations.
Illegal Ballot Harvesting
The current penalty for illegal ballot harvesting will, be increased from a misdemeanor to a third-degree felony for those individuals who knowingly collect and turn in multiple ballots on behalf of other voters.
Annual Statewide Audits
The Office of the Auditor General will be directed to conduct an annual comprehensive statewide audit of ballot chain of custody protocols, the SURE voter registration system, poll books, and all voting machines used for the administration of an election. The findings of the audit shall be issued in a report to the General Assembly.
Any changes to election laws via a court settlement will require the approval of the General Assembly. Further, the secretary of state will be prohibited from entering a consent decree with any court regarding election procedures without first obtaining approval of the General Assembly.
“Laws that were already on the books were clearly ignored by the executive branch and the court system during the 2020 election and that is why we need comprehensive reform,” said Sen. Mastriano. “Annual statewide audits will provide a layer of transparency and assurance of the accuracy of elections. The newly established Office of Election Crimes and Security will investigate all possible violations of election law. This office is particularly needed after the PA Attorney General’s office and regional U.S Attorneys chose to ignore hundreds of sworn affidavits during the 2020 election.”