Sent by Rep. Kristine Howard (D-167), 6/23/21
Make no doubt about it, Harrisburg Republicans in the Pennsylvania House and Senate committed the biggest, boldest voter fraud in Pennsylvania history yesterday and they didn’t even try to hide it.
Poison fruit of the big lie
Under the guise of voting reform, Harrisburg Republicans passed HB 1300, a wolf-in-sheep’s clothing “election reform” bill intended to make it more difficult for Democratic-leaning voter demographic groups to cast their ballots. The core of the Republican backed bill is in line with the voter suppression legislation Republicans are introducing and passing in states throughout the country where Republicans control the legislative process. The current wave of voter suppression laws is a manifestation of the “big lie” foisted on us by Donald Trump falsely claiming, without one speck of evidence, that the election was stolen from him.
In addition to a massive expansion of voter identification requirements, the Republican sham also rolls back the deadline to register to vote from 15 days prior to an election to 30 days, limits local election authorities’ ability to deploy ballot drop boxes, denies voters the option to sign-up for permanent vote-by-mail status and creates a Bureau of Election Audits. Several of the changes the Republicans are pushing are an absolute about face from reforms they agreed to just two years ago that were included in a bi-partisan agreement that ended straight ticket party voting and established no-excuse voting by mail.
There is no shame in the Republican caucus
What makes this attack on voting rights even more outrageous is the Republicans know their disenfranchising bill has no chance of becoming law because Governor Wolf will veto it as soon as it thuds on his desk. Their futile efforts represent nothing more than bloody red meat for their ravenous rightwing base.
While the voting fraud perpetrated by Republicans this week is destined to fail, please know that the undemocratic danger it roils in our Commonwealth persists. Already, extremist Republicans are plotting to introduce the most egregious parts of the bill in new legislation as a constitutional amendment to be considered by voters, a legislative process the Governor cannot veto.
Additionally, in another largely symbolic folly, state Senate Republicans are seriously considering subpoenaing ballots, a power they have as the majority, and launching an Arizona-style “fraudit” of votes cast in the 2020 election. There is no shame in the Republican caucus.
It doesn’t need to be this way
There are voting reforms that Republicans and Democrats can agree on and the Governor will sign. However, who wants to eat a hotdog served in a moldy bun. If the Republican majority is serious about voter reform all they have to do is remove the poison pills in their legislation and support reforms where we find common ground.
The best way to fight this kind of fraud is at the ballot box. We need to elect a new majority that reflects the will of the people not the ill-will of a minority hellbent on simply retaining power at any cost.
Republicans know our most powerful weapon is our vote. That is why they are working so hard to disarm us. We cannot allow them to succeed.