5:51 AM / Wednesday March 22, 2023

10 Feb 2023

Court won’t force Pennsylvania to release election records

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February 10, 2023 Category: Local Posted by:


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania appellate court said Thursday that it will not order Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration to produce records on voters and election systems sought by Republican lawmakers in a quest inspired by former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

The decision by the Commonwealth Court came a year-and-a-half after a Republican-controlled state Senate Committee voted to issue a subpoena seeking detailed state election records.

Those records include information that Democratic lawmakers and the state attorney general’s office said were protected by privacy laws, including the driver’s license numbers and last four digits of their Social Security number of 9 million registered voters, as well as details about election systems.

The court said that the Senate committee voted to issue the subpoena under its own internal rules and can enforce it under the state’s contempt laws. But that process, it said, does not involve seeking a court order to enforce it.

“The Senate Committee has chosen to seek the election-related materials by legislative subpoena, and it is bound by that choice,” Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt wrote in the 21-page decision.

The idea of election audits or investigations were propelled by Trump’s most ardent supporters in battleground states, including Pennsylvania, where Trump lost the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden.

Republicans have since spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal bills and an election contractor that has yet to produce any sort of report on findings.

Senate Republican officials had no immediate comment Thursday on whether the committee would continue to pursue the records.

An Associated Press investigation into potential cases of voter fraud in Pennsylvania and the five other battleground states where Trump disputed his loss to Biden in 2020 found a minuscule number of cases.

Election officials in 11 of the state’s 67 counties identified a total of 26 possible cases of voter fraud, representing 0.03% of Biden’s margin of victory. He defeated Trump in Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes, according to the state’s certified results.

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