Davidson: House hearing shows importance of pre-canvasing time and the danger of partisan attacks on elections

HARRISBURG, Feb. 11 – As the nation and world bear witness to the stark reality and horrific results of former President Trump and his surrogates’ incitement of violence and insurrection on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, members of the PA House State Government Committee continue to learn from county and state elections officials about the barriers to running efficient elections and audits in the face of similar provocation, according to the committee’s Democratic Chair Margo Davidson, D-Delaware.

Davidson said the House State Government Committee today held its third of 14 planned public hearings on the settled 2020 election, where elections audit experts and participants explained to lawmakers the importance of giving counties time to count ballots and audit elections, along with support as elections are being held.

“The three partisan hearings held by the committee to date have shown that the majority Republicans’ own meddling in the process and refusal to give counties adequate time to count mail-in ballots are the factors that lead to delays in counting, confusion among county elections officials and a lack of public confidence in Pennsylvania’s election,” Davidson said. “My Republican colleagues on the committee continue to pose their questions in a not so clever attempt to cast doubt on the integrity of the free and fairly held 2020 election. But the answers they are getting to those questions continue to show that voters and counties need what Republican lawmakers have refused to give them to date – time and support.”

According to Davidson, the overwhelming takeaway from today’s hearing on election audits is that the state should be passing legislation that would give counties the authority to pre-canvass mail-in ballots and give elections officials more time, resources and reasonable standards to conduct post-election audits. The predominant theme among testimony gathered from all three hearings to date, she said, has been that the spreading and repeating of misinformation and attempts to tie the hands of elections officials from the state level on down to individual county boards and workers is hampering the process.

“House Democrats attempted to pass legislation that would give counties the authority to pre-canvass the overwhelming number of mail-in ballots that were being requested and sent in prior to the November election,” Davidson said. “Instead of giving counties the time and resources they needed, the Republican majority instead ran with President Trump’s playbook of obstruction, lies and misinformation. This is the third hearing that proved once again that local election officials did an amazing job with limited resources while being maligned yet administered an election that was largely uniform, free, fair and accurate.”    

Davidson said the stated purpose of the 14 planned committee hearings is to do a complete review of Pennsylvania’s elections process. At the conclusion of the 14 public hearings, she expects the committee to take up, at the very least, legislation that would allow for the pre-canvassing of ballots as today’s testifiers from red counties insisted would help instill voter confidence.

As Democratic chair of the committee, Davidson leads House Democrats in working each day to ensure ballot access to all Pennsylvanians and to uncover the reality behind partisan and power-grabbing legislation being proposed by the majority.