State Sen. Art Haywood, D-Philadelphia (Pa. Senate photo)
Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
A Democratic state lawmaker and his wife are expected to announce legal action today seeking to block the release of their personal information in a partisan probe of the 2020 election results.
State Sen. Art Haywood, of Philadelphia, and his wife, Julie, have scheduled a 10 a.m. news conference at the Montgomery County courthouse in Norristown, according to a news release that went out at mid-afternoon on Sunday. Haywood’s 4th Senate District seat also includes part of Montgomery County.
The action, filed against the Pennsylvania Department of State, which would be responsible for releasing the information, demands that the agency “not release their personal information and that of all voters in Pennsylvania to that committee,” the news release reads. The agency has oversight of elections in the commonwealth.
The lawsuit comes “in response to a subpoena from Republicans on the [Senate] Intergovernmental [Operations] Committee for the birth date, drivers license and last four digits of social security numbers of all voters in the November 2020 presidential election and the May 2021 primary election,” the statement reads.
Hayward’s expected action comes on top of a lawsuit that state Attorney General Josh Shapiro filed on behalf of the Department of State in Commonwealth Court last week charging that the fishing expedition by the Republican-controlled Senate panel threatens the voters’ constitutionally protected right to “free and fair elections and to the protection of their personal information.”
“We have to uphold the law. This isn’t about hiding information as some have suggested,” Shapiro said last week. “This is about our responsibility in the Office of Attorney General to protect Pennsylvanians.”
Some of what the Senate panel seeks, such as Pennsylvanians’ voting histories and addresses, already is public information. But Democrats and voting rights’ advocates have pushed back sharply against the quest for other personal, identifying information.
The data requests are due by Oct. 1, and the information will be handed over to a third-party vendor, which has yet to be hired, the Senate panel’s chairman, Sen. Cris Dush, R-Jefferson, has said.
Earlier this month, Dush said that the identifying information was needed to verify “the validity of people who have voted, whether or not they exist.” He referenced affidavits gathered by the state Republican Party as proof, but said he had not yet reviewed the documents.
Shapiro’s lawsuit alleges that Dush and Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, are “purporting to conduct an investigation into supposed election irregularities — even though the Intergovernmental Operations Committee has no experience, authority, or jurisdiction to oversee election matters.”
“You would not let a large company act this way with personal data,” Shapiro said.
As required by law, all 67 Pennsylvania counties conducted post-election audits of a statistical sampling after the 2020 general election. Sixty-three counties conducted “risk-limiting” audits. Neither review found evidence of voter fraud or election misconduct.
Senate Republicans’ effort to review the 2020 general and 2021 primary elections come after former President Donald Trump claimed without evidence that his loss was influenced by widespread voter fraud, claims echoed by his Republican allies across the country — including in Harrisburg.
Those claims have been debunked by Trump’s attorney general as well as by county election officials. Legal challenges to the election also have been dismissed in federal court.
Haywood’s fellow Senate Democrats also have filed their own legal challenge asking the state Commonwealth Court to block the information requests on different grounds.
Their suit claims the subpoenas violate state court’s constitutional duty to adjudicate elections, step into the executive duties of the state’s auditor general, and violate state privacy law, the Capital-Star reported last week.
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In this week’s edition of the Numbers Racket, just time in for Hispanic Heritage Month, Cassie Miller looks at Pennsylvania’s growing Hispanic population, by the numbers.
State Rep. Kevin Boyle, D-Philadelphia, was arrested Friday for allegedly violating a protection from abuse order. Stephen Caruso has the details.
A Philadelphia-based research consortium has received a $29 million federal grant to continue the search for a cure for HIV, our partners at the Philadelphia Gay News report.
Who will get a booster shot? Capital-Star Washington Reporter Laura Olson brings you a Q-and-A about what the feds are saying.
In more federal grant news, the Port Authority of Allegheny County has nabbed $216 million in government assistance to help it recover from pandemic losses, our partners at Pittsburgh City Paper report.
On our Commentary Page this morning: More Americans couldn’t get enough to eat in 2020. The middle class was hit hardest, two Penn State experts write. And an industry advocate explains how to turbocharge an inclusive clean energy revolution.
En la Estrella-Capital: La Corte Suprema de los EEUU programa argumentos orales el 1 de diciembre en el caso mayor del aborto. Y la Asamblea General de Pa. vota para extender la declaración de desastre de Wolf sobre el huracán Ida.
The Inquirer profiles Deb Ciamacca, a Democrat who wants to listen to Republicans.
The Post-Gazette explains how the highway known as the Southern Beltway could spur growth in southwestern Pennsylvania.
PennLive looks at the push to change DUI law so that it doesn’t snare medical marijuana patients.
College students in the Lehigh Valley tell the Morning Call that their schools should have done more to prepare for the pandemic and the return to campus.
Luzerne County’s head of administrative services, David Parsnik, abruptly resigned on Sunday, the Citizens’ Voice reports.
Grasroots groups in Philadelphia are seeking help as the city’s murder rate continues to soar, WHYY-FM reports.
The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission is probing Pennsylvania’s teachers’ pension fund, the Inquirer and Spotlight PA report (via WITF-FM).
Pennsylvania school boards continue to be the focus of anti-mask anger, USA Today’s Pennsylvania Capital Bureau reports (via GoErie).
More central American children could join their parents in the United States, Stateline.org reports.
City & State Pa. runs down the list of Republican gubernatorial candidates in 2022.
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., has teed off on GOP posturing in the debt ceiling debate, Talking Points Memo reports.
Here’s your #Harrisburg Instagram of the Day.
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What Goes On
The House comes in at 12 p.m., the Senate convenes at 1 p.m.
8 a.m., 205 Ryan: House State Government Committee
9:30 a.m., Capitol Steps: House Environmental Resources & Energy Committee
11 a.m., Hearing Room 1, North Office Building: Senate Transportation Committee
12 p.m., 8E-A East Wing: Senate Health & Human Services Committee
Call of the Chair, Senate Chamber: Senate Appropriations Committee
Call of the Chair, 140 Main Capitol: House Appropriations Committee
What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition)
7:30 a.m.: Reception for Rep. Bud Cook
10:30 a.m.: Luncheon for Rep. Jonathan Fritz
11:30 a.m.: Luncheon for Rep. Mark Longietti
11:30 a.m.: Luncheon for Sen. Judy Schwank
5 p.m.: Reception for Rep. Stan Saylor
5:30 p.m.: Reception for Rep. Dan Miller
5:30 p.m.: Reception for People for Emily Kinkead
5:30 p.m.: Reception for Senate Republican Campaign Committee
6 p.m.: Reception for Rep. Ben Sanchez
9:30 p.m.: Reception for Sen. Camera Bartolotta
Ride the circuit, and give at the max, and you’re out a depressing, if entirely unsurprising, $23,750 today.
Gov. Tom Wolf holds a 10 a.m. newser in the Capitol Media Center this morning to talk about legislation aimed at helping minority- and veteran-owned businesses. Though one suspects he’ll be facing plenty of questions about the GOP election probe.
You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Belated best wishes go out this morning to Sarah Eicher, of Senate Democrats; Erin Wise, of MFStrategies and Renegade Organizing, and to reader Teresa Colarusso Rybnick, of Scranton, all of whom celebrated on Sunday. Current best wishes go out to Ned Teter, at LNP/Lancaster Newspapers; Kadida Kenner, of the New Pennsylvania Project; Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Vinny Vella, and longtime Friend O’the Blog, Rick Taylor, all of whom celebrate today. Congratulations, folks, whenever and however you celebrated.
Thievery Corporation blew the roof off the Capital Room at Harrisburg’s Midtown Arts Center on Sunday night. Here’s the grooving ‘Sound the Alarm,’ to get your Monday morning rolling.
Monday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link
As is its custom, the Guardian has 10 talking points from this weekend’s round of Premier League play. That notably includes Aston Villa’s deserved win against Manchester United on Saturday at Old Trafford.
And now you’re up to date.
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