Pennsylvania Governor Responds to GOP-Backed Election Integrity Bill

Gov. Tom Wolf's office signals he'll veto the measure, calls it 'an extremist proposal'
June 14, 2021 Updated: June 14, 2021

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s office signaled the Democrat governor won’t sign a Republican-backed bill that’s being proposed by Republican state lawmakers, describing it as an attempt to take away voters’ rights.

Wolf vowed to veto the proposed measure and other “legislative efforts to roll back the freedoms Pennsylvanians right now have,” according to a statement his office released over the past weekend to several news outlets. Although Republicans hold significant majorities in Pennsylvania’s legislature, those majorities aren’t enough to override a veto from the governor—meaning their bill will likely fail when it reaches the governor’s desk.

“Make no mistake, this proposal is not about protecting voter rights or increasing access. It is an extremist proposal to try and undermine confidence in our election system,” Wolf press secretary Lyndsay Kensinger said in a statement on the measure over the past weekend.

Last week, state Republican lawmakers led by state Rep. Seth Grove, chairman of the House State Government Committee, introduced an overhaul of the Pennsylvania election system, including more stringent voter identification requirements and mail-ballot signature verification. The bill, among other measures, would eliminate the state’s permanent mail-in voting list, establish a new Bureau of Election Audit agency, and allow early in-person voting starting in 2025.

The most significant proposal within the bill is the new voter identification requirement, a measure that Democrats nationwide generally oppose. Voters would have to present identification every time they vote, although all current forms of identification would be accepted or they would have to present signed affidavits if voters don’t have identification.

The legislation also includes a voter’s bill of rights, which includes the right to have a replacement ballot issued due to mistakes and the right to receive voting assistance.

With their proposed legislation, Kensinger said, it suggests Republican state lawmakers “don’t like the outcome of the November election, and now they are retaliating against the voters.”

President Joe Biden was certified as the winner of Pennsylvania last year.

After Wolf’s office issued its statement, Grove told CBS 21 that Wolf and his staff “obviously did not read the bill.”

“If they think in-person early voting is voter disenfranchisement and suppression, that’s in the bill. Curbside voting to help ADA disabled Pennsylvanians vote is voter suppression? That’s in the bill,” he said.

Other Republican-led states including Arizona, Florida, and Georgia have passed similar bills that Republicans say will secure the integrity of state elections. Democrats at the state and federal level have expressed near-unilateral opposition to such measures, stating that they’re tantamount to “voter suppression.”

The Pennsylvania Republican proposal comes after a technology company, Wake Technology Services Inc., carried out an assessment of the voting systems in Fulton County, Georgia, finding that, while there were “five issues of note,” the election was carried out efficiently with few to no anomalies.

One of the issues alleged by Wake TSI was that Dominion Voting Systems failed to meet Pennsylvania’s certification standards. Dominion disputed the findings and said that Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools—which Wake TSI said shouldn’t be installed on election-management systems—is “a federally certified component of Dominion’s system, which meets U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Voluntary Voting System Guidelines.”

Grove didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.