At Election Integrity Roundtable, House Republicans Champion Early Voting

At Election Integrity Roundtable, House Republicans Champion Early Voting
House Election Integrity Caucus

Image CreditVictoria Marshall

In a roundtable discussion Tuesday night, House Republicans and state election officials signaled their support of states expanding early voting procedures in states where Republicans can’t yet tighten election rules.

“Early voting is the most secure way of voting prior to Election Day because it is exactly like Election Day,” South Carolina Election Commission Executive Director Howard Knapp said. South Carolina established early voting for the first time last year, when its Republican supermajority legislature voted in favor of two weeks of in-person voting prior to Election Day. Knapp attributes early voting’s popularity among Republicans to South Carolina’s strict voter ID requirements.

“What really got early voting passed in South Carolina is that you have to have an ID,” Knapp said. “If there’s an issue with you as a voter it can be solved during the voting period prior to Election Day.”

The roundtable was hosted by the House Election Integrity Caucus and House Administration Committee, and led by Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., co-chair of the former caucus. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose echoed Knapp’s comments on the security of early voting.

“It’s unfortunately a false choice that is offered by folks sometimes on both sides of the aisle that you have to choose either a secure election or a convenient election,” LaRose said. “That’s not a real choice. You don’t have to choose one or the other. States like ours demonstrate that you can have both convenience and security. In Ohio we’ve got a whole month of early in-person voting which runs just like Election Day voting.”

After Republicans largely allowed Democrats to push huge changes to the election process after imposing widespread lockdowns, many Republicans and concerned citizens were skeptical of such overhauls. They’ve turned election day into a month of early voting, mass mail-in balloting, and unsupervised drop boxes.

Several of these changes were rammed through state legislatures or implemented by Democratic secretaries of states under the guise of protecting public health because sloppy voting rules and low-information voting is well known to benefit Democrat candidates. Following the 2020 presidential election, some states passed legislation making such changes permanent, while others repealed them.

In states where Republicans can, they should repeal these changes that weaken confidence in elections, prejudice elections towards Democrats, and help political parties pick and choose the electorate. Where Republicans currently can’t return voting procedures to pre-2020 expansions yet, they are working to match Democrats’ vote harvesting.

“My hope is that folks take advantage of it [early voting] because it is a great way to catch up,” LaRose said.

Tenney emphasized that Democrats use early voting to their advantage by targeting low-propensity voters and harvesting their ballots. Republicans, she noted, tend to spend their resources targeting high-propensity voters when they should be using early voting to also target low-information voters.

“If Republicans want to win, they have to start doing what Democrats do,” Tenney said. “They’re on top of this stuff. It’s not about winning votes, it’s about collecting ballots.”

Nowhere is this more true than in Pennsylvania’s 2022 midterm election results. Pennsylvania voters literally re-elected a dead man to state office, as well as an extremely ill man to federal office. John Fetterman was likely elected to the U.S. Senate not because of his opponent’s lackluster credentials, but because of the strength of the Democratic Party machine in Philadelphia.

“Democrats are really, really good because they use their resources well and are great at targeting people for votes,” Georgia Secretary of State Chief Operations Officer Gabe Sterling said. “We [Republicans] aren’t doing that. We’re trying to chase people we already have in the bank.”

According to LaRose, establishing early voting is helpful from a ballot chaser’s perspective because he knows which voters to target leading up to Election Day. Lengthy election seasons make it easier for campaigns to essentially buy elections by deploying expensive, targeted vote-harvesting efforts in close or key races. That’s because lengthy election seasons tip off political parties to the likely outcome of the votes that have already come in while the polls are still open.

“Both operatives on the Republican side and on the Democratic side really want people to vote early,” LaRose said. “Because then you take them out of the contact universe. So if you’ve gotten your data project and know that these are the 300,000 influenceable voters in this election and you see them voting early, then that narrows down your contact window for mailing, for social media, and for get-out-the-vote on Election Day.”

Forty-six states and the District of Columbia currently allow some form of early voting prior to Election Day. In January, the House Election Integrity Caucus released a report championing election integrity changes that passed in 2021 and 2022. One such bill was Georgia’s SB 202, which expanded early voting and required a valid ID to vote by mail.

Victoria Marshall is a staff writer at The Federalist. Her writing has been featured in the New York Post, National Review, and Townhall. She graduated from Hillsdale College in May 2021 with a major in politics and a minor in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @vemrshll.


Virginia Dems’ Ballot Harvesting Manual Instructs Going After Dead People, ‘Bad’ Addresses

Virginia Dems’ Ballot Harvesting Manual Instructs Going After Dead People, ‘Bad’ Addresses

The Virginia Democratic Party is instructing activists to include deceased citizens and “bad” addresses when generating voter contact lists, The Federalist has learned.

A pivotal tool Virginia Dems use to target voters for their ballot harvesting and get-out-the-vote efforts is VoteBuilder, an online database of all registered voters in Virginia operated by the Virginia Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee. In the words of the Virginia Democrats themselves, “this database contains the names and other important information about registered voters – information that we can use to target likely voters for Democratic campaigns.”

Democrat activists who use VoteBuilder can look up specific information about each registered voter and group them into likely Democrat voter outreach lists, which they then use for GOTV outreach, including phone banking and ballot harvesting.

On the Virginia Democrats’ VoteBuilder website, there are instructions for how activists can use the tool to generate voter contact lists for absentee ballot chasing, a.k.a., ballot harvesting. The website describes it as generating absentee ballot “labels,” a process which also functions to collect a list of voters’ addresses.

In the instructions on the web page, however, there are screenshots of the VoteBuilder database that show activists can generate an expanded outreach list by adding voters (under “Suppressions”) with “bad” addresses, National Change of Address forwarding addresses (residents who have moved), and even those who have died to the baseline list of active and inactive registered voters with accurate addresses. From there, activists can create lists of these voters’ phone numbers and addresses so they can contact them and collect their mail-in ballots.

These instructions vary from another place on the Virginia Democrats’ site that appear to be tips on how to use VoteBuilder from the DNC itself, saying the “Suppressions” filters are “the automatic settings to prevent bad addresses from showing up on your lists.”

If the DNC itself is telling activists that the “Suppressions” filters are used to prevent “bad” addresses from being included in the voter contact lists, why is the Virginia Democratic Party instructing its users to include them?

“I don’t know how you can in good conscience instruct your workers to solicit votes from people in those categories,” Clara Belle Wheeler, former vice-chair of the Virginia State Board of Elections and senior fellow at the Virginia Institute for Public Policy, told The Federalist. “They’re instructing people to solicit votes from people who are not legally eligible to vote — they’ve either moved, are not a citizen of the United States, or [are] dead.”

When asked about the deceased or NCOA filters on its database, a spokesman for the Virginia Democratic Party told The Federalist they are filters to help users weed through the voter registration data and that incorrect or deceased registrants are removed. But when asked why the instructions on their website for creating voter contact lists specifically tell users to include addresses of those who have died or moved, the spokesman told The Federalist he would respond later. The Federalist has since reached out twice with no response.

Virginia Democrats are not the only Democrats who use VoteBuilder to identify and group potential Democrat voters for ballot-harvesting purposes, however. State parties across the nation use the software, all thanks to the Democratic National Committee. VoterBuilder’s parent company – and main technology provider for Democrat and other leftist campaigns — NGP VAN describes the database as a way for thousands of Democrat campaigns “to contact hundreds of millions of voters” each election cycle. On the same site, there is an entire article dedicated to ballot harvesting and scoring votes “early.”

But why are deceased voters on VoteBuilder? That depends on each state’s list maintenance (or lack thereof). Virginia Democrats have deceased or incorrect registrants in their database because they receive Virginia’s voter registration file each month — purportedly to “update” their database. Despite the state’s commitment to list maintenance, Virginia’s voter rolls contain inaccurate data: a spring mailer sent out by Fairfax County had over 72,000 undeliverables return — nearly 10 percent of their registered voter list.

“Under the National Voter Registration Act, it is the locality’s [the Virginia Department of Elections] responsibility to maintain accurate and current voter registration lists, whether they are transmitted to anybody or not,” Wheeler said. “So I guess you could say it’s not really the fault of the party if the voter file is not accurate.”

Regardless of whether or not the voter files are accurate, that Virginia Democrats are instructing its volunteers to include the dead or “bad” addresses increases the likelihood of voter fraud.

“The existence of that option, along with instructions that include soliciting dead ‘people’, would seem to be soliciting voter fraud,” former Attorney General of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli told The Federalist. “Obviously, that would be a crime, if accurate.”

Victoria Marshall is a staff writer at The Federalist. Her writing has been featured in the New York Post, National Review, and Townhall. She graduated from Hillsdale College in May 2021 with a major in politics and a minor in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @vemrshll.


3 Unsexy Reasons Warnock Beat Walker In The Georgia Runoff

The Georgia runoff is over. Raphael Warnock came out on top (as expected). And Republicans are once again running the “quality candidate” canard as the reason for Herschel Walker’s loss (in addition to the overblown, overused, Trump scapegoat). Yet despite the fact Walker was outspent by Warnock nearly 3 to 1 (Warnock spent $126,232,942 to Walker’s $48,455,356), Walker performed remarkably well, netting 48.6 percent of the vote to Warnock’s 51.4 percent.

This as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp only came out in full force for Walker after he coasted to reelection in November (loaning his field organizing team to the Senate Leadership Fund — the GOP’s Senate super PAC which backed Walker). This translated to just a $2 million ground operation on Walker’s behalf.

Simply put: Walker was outspent, out-fundraised, and had very little help as opposed to Warnock and his campaign/party machine. While GOP establishment types might try to convince you that it was the Trump effect or Walker’s poor candidacy, this is nothing but willful ignorance. Winning elections after the 2020 election rule changes is all about the strength of a candidate’s ground game. Without that, there is no chance of ever succeeding to federal office. Here’s how the Warnock campaign did it.

1. Ballot Harvesting

Ballot harvesting, or the practice of going door-to-door soliciting mail-in ballots from voters, is an art form Democrats have perfected since unsupervised mail-in balloting (and a month of early voting) became legal in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdowns. Democrats in key battleground states know that collecting ballots is more important than collecting votes (i.e., generating Election Day turnout), and so they calculate how many ballots they need to secure a victory, and aim singlehandedly at that.

There are several Georgia-based leftist nonprofits that engage in ballot harvesting and curing. America Votes, a left-wing get-out-the-vote group, knocked on 4 million doors leading up to the Georgia runoff (in contrast, the Walker-backing Faith and Freedom Coalition aimed to knock on just 400,000 doors) and made more than 1 million phone calls encouraging likely Democrat voters to cast ballots. Other Democrat groups such as Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight and the New Georgia Project have engaged thousands of volunteers to push their GOTV efforts, including registering largely non-white Georgian residents to vote. VoteBuilder, a voter registration database run by the Democratic National Committee and each respective state’s Democratic Party, gives such activists the information necessary to group and target Democratic voters and contact them about filling out and sending in their mail-in ballot.

2. Smart Spending

Georgia Democrats were very strategic about how they spent their money leading up to the runoff. While the GOP was largely focused on the old model of generating Election Day turnout through campaign mailers and TV ads (thanks to greedy GOP consultants), Democrats spent their dollars on initiatives that guaranteed them votes. Case in point: the Democratic firm Relentless paid 1,455 Georgians to contact more than 58,000 friends and family urging them to vote for Warnock. As Axios reported, Relentless paid each participant $200 to contact between 40-50 family members and friends, encouraging them to vote for Warnock. This isn’t the firm’s first rodeo, however. During the 2021 Senate runoff, the firm used the same tactic and boosted target voter turnout by 3.8 percent. Warnock’s own campaign also paid individuals $500 in a similar scheme. So did the Progressive Turnout Project (although this type of “relational organizing” was not limited to just Georgia). Research shows that voters are more likely to respond to appeals to vote from people they know.

3. Litigating Election Law

Democrats ride election litigation like a jockey riding a horse. Democrat mega-lawyer Marc Elias, the Georgia Democratic Party, and the Warnock campaign filed a lawsuit back in November against the Peach State to prevent it from banning early voting on the Saturday after Thanksgiving — despite a state law explicitly prohibiting it. While there was still plenty of time available for early voting without that Saturday, Georgia Democrats argued the law would result in voter suppression (a.k.a., give them less time to harvest ballots). A Georgia appeals court bought their argument. The Georgia lawsuit is just one example of multiple efforts by Democrats nationwide to manipulate election law in their favor or sue until they get what they want.

What This Means

Despite what corporate media pundits tell you, Georgia is not a swing state. Republicans overwhelmingly swept all other down-ballot races this past election cycle. Nationally, Democrats were focused on control of the Senate, and accordingly focused their strategy and efforts on keeping their Georgia Senate seat. They did this by pulling out their most effective ground game tactics such as harvesting (and curing) ballots, spending millions of dollars in various get-out-the-vote efforts, and going to court to expand and cement their radical post-2020 election law changes. And it paid off. If Republicans can’t stop their tactics, then the GOP would do well to mirror them.

Victoria Marshall is a staff writer at The Federalist. Her writing has been featured in the New York Post, National Review, and Townhall. She graduated from Hillsdale College in May 2021 with a major in politics and a minor in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @vemrshll.


Republican Leaders Have A Choice: Roll Back Early Voting And Mail-In Ballots Or Learn To Take Advantage Of Them

Republican Leaders Have A Choice: Roll Back Early Voting And Mail-In Ballots Or Learn To Take Advantage Of Them

Republicans apparently learned very little from the 2020 election which turned voting and vote counting into a chaotic multi-week affair, all to the great advantage of Democrats.

After finding their party blown out of the water by early votes and mail-in ballots, both vastly expanded to accommodate the pandemic hysteria, elected GOP leaders seem to have thought to themselves, “Well, better luck next time!”

And here we are. In an election year that should have seen major gains for Republicans across the board, the party failed to take the Senate, could still (a week after Election Day) fail to secure the House, and is now on life support for the governorship in Arizona. There isn’t just one reason for the shortcomings but none are more important than the party’s neglect in adapting to our new jungle of an election process.

For the past two years, every Republican should have been either attempting to beat back the flood of “no excuse” mail-in ballots saturating swing states, or building up a party network that could adapt to it. There were some efforts to manage the mail-in voting problem in Arizona and Georgia but otherwise the party said its prayers and hoped for the best heading into the midterms.

We see how that strategy turned out. Democrats once again turned on the ignition and their army of activists began knocking on doors and dialing up their reliable voters to be sure that every single one of them knew the time to vote was now. Whether it was three weeks or a month before actual Election Day, it didn’t matter. Now. In response, Republicans donned a toothy smile and told their voters to keep Tuesday open. Wait in line— no matter how long it takes.

True, Republicans tend to be a lot more motivated than Democrats to vote in a non-presidential campaign year. They’re happy to drive to the booth and wait their turn. But the new reality is that elections are happening for weeks before the designated day for official in-person voting. That’s a lot of time for dedicated activists to call or visit the homes of their voters, no matter how unmotivated they are, and tell them that they don’t have to wait at all. They can cast their ballot right now. Want me to do it for you?!

Where is Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel on this? Where is National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Tom Emmer? Where is National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Rick Scott? They’re the ones responsible for leading on these things but they did nothing. Now they’re cheerfully making plans for their future leadership positions and fundraising operations.

If elected Republicans aren’t prepared to roll all of it back to the pre-pandemic way of doing things — I know, the media will call you racist, boo-hoo — then they’ll have to adapt and develop their own way of pushing their voters to cast ballots for weeks leading up to Election Day. That’s what Democrats are doing and it’s working.


Democracy Dies When Americans Stop Scrutinizing Partisan Election Administration

Democracy Dies When Americans Stop Scrutinizing Partisan Election Administration

As we witness the mass breakdown of voting machines on the single day of the year they’re supposed to work, cameras going down in vote-counting offices, and the endless drip-drip of ballot dumps — curiously in the most hotly-contested races and most critical precincts for political control in the country — remember that this is all commonplace and normal. And if you think otherwise, you’re not only unhinged, but you might be a domestic terrorist.

This is the gaslighting we have been getting from our political class and the media over the last two federal election cycles. It is purposeful propaganda meant to obscure the truth that our betters have fundamentally transformed voting policies and practices, and then exploited the new rules to the maximum extent.

The reality is that those skeptical about the integrity in our brave new election world are not a “threat to democracy.” They are defenders of the republic. America is in serious danger if the public unquestioningly accepts the fact that authorities made radical changes, sometimes unduly and under cover of crisis, that made less safe, secure, or at minimum trustworthy the processes by which we elect our representatives.

For decades we voted one way: In-person, with identification, on a singular Election Day, usually with rudimentary, analog tools. With rare exceptions, we received the results on Election Night. In the 2020 election, that all changed. For the first time in modern history, we had a mass mail-in election, held over the course of weeks, much of it automated. The results came in over a period of days, not hours.

The ‘Shadow Campaign’ That Rigged 2020

In the run-up to the race, election offices outsourced their most basic operations, with hundreds of millions of dollars in private funding, a.k.a. “Zuckerbucks,” to often leftist nonprofits. Authorities made all manner of exceptions to count ballots cast that did not comply with basic legal standards – that is, to tally votes that were patently illegitimate. When state judges decreed rule changes, as opposed to leaving it to legislatures to make law, courts up to the highest in the land permitted it. Poll workers prevented poll observers from overseeing their operations in certain precincts.

By their own admission, the wealthy and powerful came together in a comprehensive “conspiracy” to “fortify” the election against one candidate — aiding in many of these efforts. As Molly Ball spelled out in her “Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election:” “a well-funded cabal…ranging across industries and ideologies, work[ed] together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information.” It is worth emphasizing that the co-conspirators both pushed the changes to the way we vote, and then, as seen with the Zuckerbucks, exploited the system they had helped create with nonprofits they funded to get out the vote — arguably disproportionately to Joe Biden’s benefit.

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway of course laid all this and more out in stunning detail in her essential book, “Rigged.”

As voters witnessed the simultaneous stops in vote counts in swing states in the middle of election night, only to pick up in the wee hours with margins moving from Trump to Biden, and seeming statistical anomalies followed, tens of millions of Americans had questions about what they saw. This was a perfectly rational response. It would have been beyond disturbing if Americans weren’t skeptical about an election like no other in our history – and in which so many forces were literally and figuratively invested in ensuring a specific outcome.

Remote voting at the very minimum presents the potential for less safe and secure elections. And we have found myriad instances of people engaging in related fraud. It is incumbent upon voters then to scrutinize any such system. Yet those who scrutinized the 2020 race were shunned and censored. Was the ostracism supposed to instill confidence?

It’s Happening Again

Fast-forward to 2022. Many states made permanent the temporary election practices of 2020, loosening their voting rules, with tens of millions of voters continuing to vote by mail. In the days before the election, we were told by the likes of Politico that the very vulnerabilities in election infrastructure feared by supposed conspiracy theorists and election denialists in 2020 in fact were present in 2022.

Problems cropped up in voting centers on Election Day when and where Republicans vote disproportionately. From Maricopa County, Arizona, to Mercer County, New Jersey, electronic tabulation machines malfunctioned en masse. That is, machines with literally one job, on the one day they’re supposed to work, didn’t. The RNC alleged voter disenfranchisement as a consequence of the Maricopa debacle, but a judge dismissed the case.

In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, 44 polling locations reportedly ran out of paper to print ballots. Ballot machines went down in Harris County, Texas. In Suffolk County, New York the tabulation process was reportedly “impacted” by government computers that had been hacked months ago. Chesterfield County, Virginia had a whole host of issues – apparently manual and electronic.

And then there’s the fact that Arizona, in part because of Maricopa County, and Nevada, with pivotal races for the U.S. Senate and governor, as of this writing have not reported their final results. Officials in both states claim the count may take days.

How is it possible that in the most technologically advanced civilization in the history of mankind, and when Florida with a population two times greater than Arizona and Nevada combined, could report results on Election Night, that Sun Belt states can’t quickly and efficiently collect and count the votes? Could it be because Florida’s system hews towards more traditional, rigorous voting standards?

The Republican establishment has made little effort to forcefully make the case for, and drive legislative changes aimed at moving toward the Florida model. It is not clear whether much of the party lacks the courage of its convictions to fight for election integrity, simply thinks Democrats have the better of the arguments on the matter, or are content to participate in a system that they have refused to exploit as mercilessly as their opponents and therefore under which they are at a distinct disadvantage.

What is clear is that they are effectively normalizing the abnormal with each cycle that passes. We are the last safeguard for the republic. If we are asleep, the system crumbles because men are not angels.

Democracy dies in docility. If we fail to demand of our leaders elections of the highest integrity, we will reap what we sow.

Ben Weingarten is a Federalist Senior Contributor, senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and fellow at the Claremont Institute. He was selected as a 2019 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow of the Fund for American Studies, under which he is currently working on a book on U.S.-China policy. Ben writes on national security and foreign policy, economics, and politics for publications including City Journal, Conservative Review and PJ Media. He is the founder and CEO of ChangeUp Media, a media consulting and production company dedicated to advancing conservative principles. Ben is also a 2015 Publius Fellow of the Claremont Institute. You can find his work at, and follow him on Twitter @bhweingarten.


Watch For These 5 Red Flags In Pennsylvania’s Elections This Year

Watch For These 5 Red Flags In Pennsylvania’s Elections This Year

As the 2022 midterm elections approach, all eyes are on Pennsylvania.

Ever since former President Donald Trump carried the key battleground state in 2016 (the first Republican presidential nominee to do so in almost three decades), Pennsylvania has represented the nation’s “center of political gravity,” boasting crucial midterm contests that are key to either party’s control of the Senate. As Republicans gain in the polls (thanks in part to skyrocketing inflation and the country’s disastrous economic prospects), sinister games are at play behind the scenes.

This is nothing new to the Keystone State. Corruption-riddled Philadelphia has long been ground zero for Democrats’ election-rigging schemes. During the 2020 presidential election, Philadelphia County received the most funding from the Mark Zuckerberg-funded Center for Tech and Civic Life (a leftist nonprofit that funneled millions of dollars to blue counties in swing states to fund get-out-the-vote efforts for then-candidate Joe Biden).

But “Zuckbucks” were only part of Democrats’ cleverly-orchestrated plan to swing the 2020 election in Biden’s favor. Democrat secretaries of state in key battlegrounds also made last-minute, illegal changes to their state’s election laws, subverting the authority of their Republican-led legislatures. Pennsylvania’s then-Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar is no exception.

With the 2022 midterms fast approaching (and Pennsylvania a crucial decider of which party will wield power in the 118th Congress), Democrats are trying the same tactics they used in 2020.

1. Delayed Election Results

Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman is already warning voters to not expect results on election night, as it might take “days” to finalize as officials cannot begin processing mail-in ballots until Election Day. Already more than 1 million Pennsylvania voters have applied to vote by mail, with the majority of requests coming from Democrats.

Delayed election results seem to be the new normal in Pennsylvania. During the commonwealth’s contentious May primary, it took weeks for the results to be finalized (and for celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz’s win over former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick to be sure). In the 2020 presidential election, it also took several days for the state to be called in Biden’s favor.

As Federalist Staff Writer Shawn Fleetwood notes, delayed election results are one warning sign of incompetent election administration and raise voters’ suspicions over the validity of an election. This is why many first-world European countries determine their election results within 24 hours of citizens casting their ballots.

2. Counting Undated Ballots

Chapman’s warning of delayed election results comes after she told counties to ignore a Supreme Court ruling that held undated mail-in ballots cannot be counted. The Republican National Committee and the Pennsylvania GOP have since filed a lawsuit against Chapman’s directive. Such a charge will only result in myriad inconsistencies and irregularities in how Pennsylvania’s 67 counties will process ballots, leading to further delays.

3. 240,000 Unverified Ballots

Almost a quarter of a million unverified ballots were sent to Pennsylvania voters this election cycle, a letter by 15 state lawmakers alleges. The mail-in ballots, the letter adds, were sent to voters without verification of their identity (social security number or government-issued ID) in the ballot application process. The GOP lawmakers are blaming Secretary Chapman’s office for issuing guidance in 2018 that instructed “counties to register voters without verification of identity” and are asking her office to “immediately issue a directive to all counties informing them of the requirement to set those ballots aside and not pre-canvass, canvass, or count any of them unless and until the applicant provides a valid form of identification.” As of October 28, Chapman has not responded to the letter.

4. Duplicate Voting

Philadelphia election officials are set to remove a key safeguard for catching duplicate votes as Election Day approaches. The procedure is known as poll book reconciliation, whereby election officials compare mail-in ballots with poll book records from Election Day. If a person is listed as voting in person on Election Day via the poll book, but the city also receives a mail-in ballot for that voter, the city will not count the mail-in ballot so as to protect against double-voting.

But now the Philadelphia City Commission is threatening to stop the practice because officials claim it will jeopardize their access to state funds. Newly-enacted Act 88, passed by the Republican-majority legislature, prohibits the vote count (after starting at 7 a.m. on Election Day) from stopping until all ballots are tabulated. Philadelphia election officials argue that because poll book reconciliation requires pausing the vote count, they’re at risk of violating Act 88 and will subsequently lose state funding. Such a narrow interpretation of Act 88 is a weak excuse for lessening election security measures. As such, government watchdog Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections (RITE) has filed a lawsuit against the Philadelphia City Commission.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Seth Grove has also written a letter to the Philadelphia County Board of Elections demanding answers to the county’s failure to comply with Act 88. According to Grove, under current law, a voter who’s requested a mail-in ballot should not be permitted to vote on Election Day. By allowing such voters to vote in person on Election Day, administrators are “relying on an unlawful post-election process to check mail-in ballots returned after poll books are printed” and “knowingly permitting perhaps thousands of voters to cast regular rather than provisional ballots, in violation of the law.”

Philadelphia’s poll book reconciliation process, then, would not be necessary if election administrators were actually following Pennsylvania law.

5. Poll Watcher Instructions Violate Pennsylvania Law

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party‘s “Poll Observer Manual” directly conflicts with Pennsylvania state law in its instructions to poll watchers. For example, the manual tells poll watchers to “Assist voters and election officials as necessary and appropriate to resolve smaller issues.” Additionally, the manual encourages poll watchers that their “diligence” ensures “that eligible voters vote and that their votes are counted,” before enjoining them to “make sure to monitor constantly whether voters have questions with which you can assist.”

But guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of State website states that “Poll watchers are not permitted to approach voters in the polling place.” The guidance specifically warns that talking to voters is an example of voter intimidation: “Examples of voter intimidation include, but are not limited to … Confronting, hovering, or directly speaking to or questioning voters.”

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party did not respond to The Federalist’s request for comment.

What Can Be Done?

As Pennsylvania will be a crucial decider for which party will take power in 2023, expect Democrat attempts to subvert free and fair elections in Pennsylvania to only increase as Nov. 8 approaches. The incidents outlined above are only a handful of the myriad election integrity issues the Keystone State faces. But instead of being intimidated by such challenges, concerned Pennsylvania citizens must remain vigilant so as to keep their elected officials accountable and ensure the 2022 midterms are conducted securely.

Victoria Marshall is a staff writer at The Federalist. Her writing has been featured in the New York Post, National Review, and Townhall. She graduated from Hillsdale College in May 2021 with a major in politics and a minor in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @vemrshll.


The Same Day SCOTUS Squashes PA’s Illegal Ballots, Secretary Of State Tells Counties To Break The Law

The Same Day SCOTUS Squashes PA’s Illegal Ballots, Secretary Of State Tells Counties To Break The Law

In what should be a major win for election integrity advocates, the Supreme Court tossed out a lower court ruling that had permitted undated mail-in ballots to be counted against the law in Pennsylvania — but the Commonwealth’s secretary of state has other ideas.

On Tuesday, the court overruled the Philadelphia-based 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, which had said that not counting undated ballots would violate a provision of the 1964 Civil Rights Act regarding minor ballot errors. 

The 3rd Circuit ruling had come in response to a challenge from David Ritter, who in 2021 lost his election to the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas to a Democrat by only five votes after 257 undated ballots were counted. Pennsylvania law, however, requires voters to date their mail-in ballots on their outer envelopes. The 3rd Circuit determined this requirement was “immaterial” to a person’s voting eligibility. 

While in June the U.S. Supreme Court denied Ritter’s appeal to block the 3rd Circuit ruling — with Justice Samuel Alito writing in his dissent that the ruling “could well affect the outcome of elections this year” — the Supreme Court on Tuesday vacated the case, tossing the lower court’s decision and thus ruling in favor of Ritter. While Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson said they would have denied Ritter’s appeal and left the 3rd Circuit ruling in place, the majority decision means the 3rd Circuit’s ruling can no longer act as election precedent in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey, the states under the jurisdiction of the lower court.

But immediately after the court’s decision was made public, Pennsylvania’s Acting Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman released a statement saying the court’s ruling does not affect the decision of the 3rd Circuit “in any way.”

“Today’s order from the U.S. Supreme Court vacating the Third Circuit’s decision on mootness grounds was not based on the merits of the issue and does not affect the prior decision of Commonwealth Court in any way,” Chapman wrote. “It provides no justification for counties to exclude ballots based on a minor omission, and we expect that counties will continue to comply with their obligation to count all legal votes.”

This directive by Chapman will only result in more chaos and confusion for voters, poll workers, and election clerks, plus likely inconsistencies between how different localities handle erroneous ballots. Pennsylvania’s mail-in ballots for this election cycle already contain wording that reads “today’s date required” and clear instructions for voters to “sign and date” their ballots.

Mail-In Ballot Instructions

This kind of blatant flouting of election law is nothing new in Pennsylvania. Back during the 2020 election, then-Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar issued guidance that did not comport with Pennsylvania’s election code

As a result of Chapman’s statement, some of the Commonwealth’s 67 counties will follow her directive while others will follow state law and clear ballot instructions, meaning the inconsistencies and irregularities that plagued the 2020 election show no signs of stopping.

“No provision of the Pennsylvania Constitution or statute or rule allows an unelected bureaucrat to change or ignore a duly passed law,” Pennsylvania election lawyer Linda A. Kerns told The Federalist. “No one in Pennsylvania voted for Acting Secretary Leah Chapman yet her ‘guidance’ defies the Election Code written by the legislature and signed by the governor. Here we go again in Pennsylvania — changing the rules of the game on a whim.”

Victoria Marshall is a staff writer at The Federalist. Her writing has been featured in the New York Post, National Review, and Townhall. She graduated from Hillsdale College in May 2021 with a major in politics and a minor in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @vemrshll.


Delaware Supreme Court: No-Excuse Mail-In Voting, Same-Day Registration Are Unconstitutional

Delaware Supreme Court: No-Excuse Mail-In Voting, Same-Day Registration Are Unconstitutional

In another huge win for election integrity this week, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled Friday that mail-in voting and same-day voter registration violate the state’s constitution.

In July 2022, Delaware’s General Assembly passed a law establishing no-excuse mail-in voting and same-day voter registration. The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed a lawsuit against the law on behalf of Michael Mennella, an elections inspector for the Delaware Department of Elections, arguing such a law was unconstitutional (Delaware state law outlines only specific instances a person may vote by mail).

“The Vote-by-Mail Statute impermissibly expands the categories of absentee voters identified in Article V, Section 4A of the Delaware Constitution,” the court wrote in its order, issued Friday. “The Same-Day Registration Statute conflicts with the provisions of Article V, Section 4 of the Delaware Constitution.” The “expedited” order was issued quickly “in recognition of the impending election scheduled for November 8, 2022,” but the court promised to deliver a more detailed opinion at a later date.

The law in question was modeled after another mail-in voting law the General Assembly passed under their emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, enabling Delaware to have mail-in voting during the 2020 election. The law was challenged, but upheld due to an emergency powers clause. The law expired in January 2021.

Friday’s decision partially reverses a Chancery Court’s order, which in September found Delaware’s new vote-by-mail law unconstitutional, but upheld the same-day voter registration law. The Delaware Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s same-day voter registration ruling, and affirmed the mail-in voting part.

“This is a win for the rule of law in Delaware’s Elections,” PILF President J. Christian Adams said in a press release. “This law violated the plain text of the Delaware Constitution that provides specific reasons people are allowed to cast absentee ballots and when voter registration can take place. If Delaware lawmakers want to have mail-in voting, they need to pass a constitutional amendment.”

The Delaware Constitution prohibits voter registration less than 10 days before an election, so the 2022 law allowing same-day voter registration violated this provision.

While the ruling is a huge win for election integrity in Delaware, the fight to outlaw no-excuse mail-in voting continues across the country. In Pennsylvania, for example, a lower court ruled its no-excuse absentee ballot law was unconstitutional. The state’s Democrat-majority Supreme Court, however, overturned the lower court’s ruling and upheld no-excuse mail-in voting just in time for the 2022 midterms. Other key battleground states such as Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Florida all allow no-excuse absentee ballots.

PILF spokeswoman Lauren Bowman Bis told The Federalist that “we will continue to bring lawsuits against any states that violate their election laws and procedures.”

Victoria Marshall is a staff writer at The Federalist. Her writing has been featured in the New York Post, National Review, and Townhall. She graduated from Hillsdale College in May 2021 with a major in politics and a minor in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @vemrshll.



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