As former Senators, we watch in dismay and disappointment as the Republican-controlled Senate of Pennsylvania launches an audit of the 2020 election that is flawed, puzzling and brazen.
Our state Senate has broad powers to investigate for legislative purposes. In this case, it is not clear what is the purpose of an audit of the 2020 federal elections.
There is no written resolution of purpose adopted by the Senate as a whole or the committee carrying out the investigation. Is the purpose to change the 2020 election results or to improve the legislation regulating how elections are conducted?
Either way, the Senate committee got off to a flawed start by voting, on party lines, to subpoena private information of all 7.8 million voters — name, address, birth date, driver’s license number and the last four digits of the Social Security number.
Information will not be used by the Senate itself and its staff. Rather, this information will be turned over to a private company, not yet selected, at a cost not yet determined. We cannot think of anything more contrary to the conservative principles of the Republican Party as we knew it.
If the information is to be used to find grounds to change the 2020 election results this is a sick joke. The 2020 election results have been certified and checked by a number of authorities.
The basic responsibility for conducting elections in our state is in the County Commissioners of the 67 counties, 52 of which are Republican-controlled. All of them have certified the returns for their county. The results of the state-wide races have been challenged in state and federal courts, and all of the challenges were rejected for lack of evidence.
If the goal is to check the state Supreme Court’s possible overstepping its authority on election issues or the Secretary of State’s handling of the election procedures, the private information on Pennsylvania’s voters is irrelevant.
The proper way to proceed on these issues is for the Committee and its staff to review the actions of the Supreme Court and Secretary of State and then call competent witnesses to testify.
The entire matter has been handled on a highly partisan basis and in such an egregious manner that all 21 of the minority Democrats felt compelled to challenge the subpoenas in court. We have never seen such a chasm of hostility between the parties.
The Senate of Pennsylvania has become a house divided against itself. This is a sad day for the Senate and the people of our state.
Effective legislative work requires public confidence and a measure of respect between the two political parties. The present Senate audit investigation is completely contrary to that.
The Senate appears to be lost in a fog of partisan ambitions, pursuing a political will of the wisp it cannot catch.
Jack McGregor served as a Republican Senator from Allegheny County from 1962-1970. He resides in Union County. Franklin L. Kury served as a Democratic Senator from Northumberland County from 1972-1980. He lives in Dauphin County.