Pennsylvania Republicans OK election study despite House Dems' opposition

The Associated Press
Uncounted provisional ballots sit in boxes at the Schuylkill County Election Bureau in Pottsville, Pa. on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. (Lindsey Shuey/The Republican-Herald via AP)

HARRISBURG — Republicans in the Pennsylvania House succeeded Thursday in directing a state agency to conduct a review of election procedures despite unified opposition from Democrats.

The chamber voted 112 to 90 for a resolution that told the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, or a contractor it will hire, to conduct the study and report back by early February.

Republicans argued they were responding to constituents who were confused by some of the procedures as the state conducted a high-turnout election during a pandemic and under greatly expanded mail-in voting eligibility.

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Democratic arguments that the measure should be revised or was unconstitutional were defeated by the GOP majority.

Separately, the Department of State under Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf plans another “risk limiting” audit under a pilot program to apply statistical tools that will measure the election's accuracy and check for possible interference.

The resolution does not require approval by Wolf or the state Senate. There is no limit on how much the committee can spend on the study.

Topics will include how many mail-in ballots were requested and counted and details about how provisional ballots were used. It also will examine the technical performance of new voting machines, how poll watchers were treated and different county practices for “curing,” or fixing, ballots that lacked secrecy envelopes or had other problems.