Court Rejects Republican Attempt to Force Shapiro to Turn Over 2020 Voters’ Personal Information

FILE - A canvas observer photographs Lehigh County provisional ballots as vote counting in the general election continues, Nov. 6, 2020, in Allentown, Pa. A review by The Associated Press in the six battleground states disputed by former President Trump has found fewer than 475 cases of potential voter fraud, a minuscule number that would have made no difference in the 2020 presidential election. Democrat Joe Biden won Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and their 79 Electoral College votes by a combined 311,257 votes out of 25.5 million ballots cast for president. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, file)

By Ashley Adams

February 10, 2023

The court decided that the Shapiro administration did not have to comply with a subpoena issued in a Republican-led “forensic investigation” of 2020 election results, launched in response to Donald Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court said Thursday that Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration did not have to produce records on voters and election systems as requested in a subpoena by Republican lawmakers — a quest inspired by former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

The decision by the Commonwealth Court came a year-and-a-half after a Republican-controlled state Senate Committee voted to issue a subpoena seeking detailed state election records.

Those records include information that Democratic lawmakers and the state attorney general’s office said were protected by privacy laws, including the driver’s license numbers and last four digits of the Social Security numbers of 9 million registered voters, as well as details about election systems. Democrats sued within days of the subpoena being issued.

The court said that the Senate committee voted to issue the subpoena under its own internal rules and can enforce it under the state’s contempt laws. But that process, it said, does not involve seeking a court order to enforce it.

“The Senate Committee has chosen to seek the election-related materials by legislative subpoena, and it is bound by that choice,” Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt wrote in the 21-page decision.

The idea of election audits or investigations were propelled by Trump’s most ardent supporters in Pennsylvania, including Sen. Cris Dush (R-Jefferson), chair of the Intergovernmental Committee.

Envoy Sage was hired by Senate Republicans on a no-bid contract with no public request for proposals, hardly any track record, and no experience in elections to conduct the investigation which was said to originally cost $270,000. Republicans have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal bills and an election contractor that has yet to produce any sort of report on findings.

Dush’s office did not return requests for comment Thursday.

An Associated Press investigation into potential cases of voter fraud in Pennsylvania and the five other battleground states where Trump disputed his loss to Biden in 2020 found a minuscule number of cases.

Election officials in 11 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties identified a total of 26 possible cases of voter fraud, representing 0.03% of Biden’s margin of victory. He defeated Trump in Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes, according to the state’s certified results.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Author

  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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