Pennsylvania

Pa. What Does the Retirement of Chief Election Officer Mean for the Future of Voting?

This article is part of a year-long reporting project focused on Pennsylvania’s subdivision and gerrymandering.It will be possible with the support of With members Voting beatA project focused on election integrity and access to voting.

Harrisburg — Pennsylvania’s imminent resignation does not prevent Republicans from continuing a series of hearings about her 2020 presidential election.

In fact, Kathy Boockvar’s resignation bolded her most fierce Republican critics, even though it had nothing to do with her careful voting treatment in fierce battles.

This week, Boockvar announced that he would resign after it was revealed that the State Department had not advertised a constitutional amendment to provide a two-year period. This allows adult survivors of child sexual abuse to sue the perpetrators and institutions that overturned it.

As a result, voters must wait at least 2023 for questions to appear on ballots. Unless the legislature intervenes..

Republicans, who were very critical of Bookbar and her role in the 2020 elections, said the mistake was further evidence of her incompetence. Now they take advantage of her agency’s mistakes to further facilitate the rhetoric that elections are illegal under the leadership of Bookbar, despite the judges and federal authorities saying differently. We were able to.

“I’ve long said that Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar’s incompetence is harmful to Pennsylvania,” said Senate Pro Tempore of State Jake Corman (R., Center). statement..

Corman was one of the Republicans Asked for the resignation of the book bar A few months ago, she stepped over her authority and said, “It has fundamentally changed the way Pennsylvania’s elections are held.” In fact, Boockvar advised county election authorities who didn’t know how to apply the state’s new mail voting law — the advice the court said was valid.

“She’s incompetent and misplaced in the department affects their story,” said Dan Malinson, a professor of political science in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. “I can imagine Republicans at the General Assembly ridiculing working with one of the Secretaries of State for the next two years.”

In a statement, Congressman Seth Grove (R, York), chairman of the House’s state government committee, said in a statement that his panel had an election-related hearing without a bookbar, which was scheduled to testify as early as next week in a post-election audit. He said the meeting would continue.

The State Department’s office did not respond to requests for comment on who would replace Bookbar at these hearings, but Election Deputy Director Jonathan Marks also answered questions at the first two hearings. ..

Commission Gloves and Other Republicans Baked Boockvar for hours At his first hearing last month, he demanded that he explain how he came up with guidance for the county election authorities.

At the hearing, Boockvar responded to questions from county authorities who couldn’t find an answer in the state code, addressing issues such as drop boxes, late arrival ballots, and missing ballot envelopes. Guidance has been issued. ..

However, Republicans said the county interpreted the guidance differently, which confused voters and led them to distrust the election results.

Harrisburg-based Republican consultant Charlie Gerow, who runs a strategic telecommunications company, is confident that Globe and his committee will ask the State Department many questions at future hearings. Stated.

“This certainly makes the already rocky road even more bumpy,” Gerow said. “It’s tragic that Bookbar was spending time moving the goalposts of the election process last year when she should have worked. This is terrible.”

Nonetheless, some Republicans, including Senate leader Kim Ward, maintained their thoughts on the role of Bookbar in the elections from a statement about his resignation on Monday. Ask the legislative committee to investigate How the department did not follow the constitutional amendment procedure.

The State Department said the “human error” was behind the failure to advertise the proposed amendments as needed. The agency has so far refused to disclose additional information.

Bookbar supporters, including Governor Tom Wolf, who nominated her for that position in 2019, quickly defended her role as secretary as chief election officer, despite praising her resignation. ..

“This change at the State Department has nothing to do with running a fair and accurate election in 2020,” Wolf said in a statement Monday, including a bulleted list of her achievements. “Through her commitment to helping the county conduct fair elections, we can all be confident in the accuracy and integrity of recent election results.”

Philadelphia’s Democratic lawyer, Adam Bonin, said Bookbar’s resignation reflects how seriously he took his duty as chief executive officer in charge of election administration.

“That’s a shame,” Bonin said. “In an ideal world, she could have gone out on her own terms.”

Boockvar has spent the past few months defending the guidance he issued to the county elections office on postal voting procedures when the law seemed unclear.

“If anything, the emphasis in this election was that the federal secretary needed more power to control the election,” Bonin said.

Kevin Greeneberg, a democratic election lawyer in Pennsylvania, advocated that Bookbar’s resignation would give the county extra time for pre-election ballots that the county sought before November. He said it would not affect election-related changes. election.

“The same factors as before the November elections still apply. Common sense reforms need to go through, regardless of whether Secretary Bookbar, Senator Mike Turzai, or Senator Joseph Skarnati are in office. No, you have to go through, “he said. Resign Or Retired last year.

“The department is bigger than anyone,” Greenberg said. “Secretary Bookbar has created a tremendous team and is confident that he will be able to do what he needs in the coming months.”

Several county election officials contacted by Votebeat, Pennsylvania and said they rarely worked directly with Boockvar and her resignation would not affect their day-to-day operations. They said they were likely to work with Deputy Director Jonathan Marks. Veronica Degraf FenraidHe served as Special Advisor on Election Modernization and was appointed Deputy Secretary-General of the Federation on Monday.

“As an election manager, there hasn’t been much change,” said Sad Hall, head of elections in Mercer County, about Bookbar’s resignation.

Others pointed out that Boockvar has joined the ever-growing list of Pennsylvania election authorities. Quit or retire Recently. Marks, Deputy Election Director of the State Department, said at a recent House of Representatives meeting that the number has reached at least 20 since January 1, 2020.

“More institutional knowledge to leave the Pennsylvania elections,” said Tim Benho, chief secretary of Lehigh County. “A wide range of changes can have serious implications. That’s a shame.”

Al Schmitt, the only Republican of Philadelphia’s three committees to oversee the election, said Boockvar had promised to allow all voters to register and vote.

“Despite being in different political parties, despite our disagreements, I always thought Kathy was very devoted and manageable,” he said. “We belonged to different political parties, so I never got the impression that it made any difference to her. It didn’t make any difference to me.”

Schmidt adds his name to the list of departing electoral officers In 2023He said he hopes Bookbar critics do not associate her mistakes regarding constitutional requirements with the treatment of her 2020 elections.

“As far as I know, one has nothing to do with the other, so it’s really poor that some people are trying to take that approach,” he said.

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Pa. What Does the Retirement of Chief Election Officer Mean for the Future of Voting?

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