Pennsylvania House Committee Passes Bills to Reform Redistricting and Elections, Democrats Demur

Seth Grove

Yesterday, a Pennsylvania House of Representatives panel passed a series of redistricting and election reforms, including a bill establishing a citizens’ commission for redrawing legislative districts.

The redistricting bill, sponsored by Rep. Seth Grove (R-PA-York), chair of the House State Government Committee which vetted the measure, would ditch the current process for creating legislative-district maps. Such maps are drawn anew every decade in response to population shifts revealed by the U.S. Census. Presently, a five-member Legislative Reapportionment Commission (LRC), made up of Republican and Democratic leaders from both state-legislative chambers and chaired by an appointee of the state Supreme Court, oversees district remapping.

Read More

Pennsylvania Democrats Recall January 6 to Push Legislative Agenda, Slam Election Integrity Legislation

Yesterday, Democrats in Pennsylvania and beyond recalled the Jan. 6, 2021 D.C-Capitol riot as an occasion to denounce voter-ID proposals and urge progressive reforms.

“Here’s the truth,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro told an online audience at a panel hosted by leftist organizations including Better PA and the New Pennsylvania Project. “You can draw a straight line between the lies [and former President Donald Trump’s post-2020-election] litigation to the events of January the sixth. And now, you can continue that straight line to voter-suppression laws that are being passed by Republicans in state houses across the country.”

Read More

Pennsylvania Bill to Restrict Private Money in Election Administration Passes House

Republican legislation to stop private organizations from donating selectively to Pennsylvania localities’ election activities passed the state House of Representatives along party lines yesterday. 

State Reps. Eric Nelson (R-Greensburg), Clint Owlett (R-Wellsboro) and James Struzzi (R-Indiana) offered the bill after revelations that the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) issued grants to counties last year, with much more money reaching Democrat-heavy areas. Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan contributed $350 million to CTCL in 2020. Former Obama Foundation Fellow Tiana Epps-Johnson serves as the organization’s executive director.

Read More

Pennsylvania House to Vote on Election-Integrity Bill When Members Return in December

Pennsylvania’s Republican-run House of Representatives Thursday slated major election-integrity legislation for a vote in mid-December.

The Voting Rights Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover), would strengthen voter-identification requirements, mandate regular election audits, review and correct errors on voter-registration lists and ensure signature verification for all mail-in ballots. The bill was amended this week to also affirm a strict time frame wherein mail-in ballots must be counted.

Read More

Bill to Require Post-Election Audits in Pennsylvania Advances with Support of Philadelphia Democrat

State Rep. Regina Young (D-PA-Philadelphia) voted with all Republican House State Government Committee members this week in favor of a bill to require post-election audits. 

The legislation to verify the accuracy of election outcomes will thus go before the full Pennsylvania House with at least a modicum of bipartisanship, making it more difficult for Democrats to call the bill merely “a reactionary thing being done because of the last election,” as Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) did at the committee meeting.

Read More

Fraud Case Refueling Interest in Pennsylvania Election-Integrity Bill Vetoed by Governor

Sign that says "protect election integrity"

Voter-fraud charges recently filed against a Philadelphia former judge of elections are spurring renewed emphasis by Pennsylvania legislators on enacting an election-integrity bill Gov. Tom Wolf (D) vetoed earlier this year.

State Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) introduced the initial version of his legislation in June. The measure, whose central feature was a voter-identification requirement for every election, quickly passed the House and Senate but Wolf rejected it as “voter suppression.” Since that time, the governor has sent mixed signals about whether he might support strengthened voter-ID rules, prompting Grove to reintroduce his bill.

Read More

Pennsylvania Senate Committee Chair Warns of ‘Difficult Road’ for Bipartisan Election Reforms Because of Wolf Administration

Pennsylvania acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid did not testify in person at Tuesday’s Senate State Government Committee hearing on bipartisan election reforms, accentuating a rift between committee Republicans and Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) administration.

The legislation the committee is considering is bipartisan and doesn’t include voter-ID provisions or similarly controversial items. Committee Chairman David Argall (R-Pottsville) however lamented that Wolf has suggested he may veto the bill. 

Read More

Push to Reverse Arizona Election Reform Laws Fails to Make Ballot

An effort to reverse three recently enacted election integrity laws has failed.

Petitioners couldn’t collect the required signatures to put three questions on the 2022 general election ballot regarding whether to reverse three laws passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Doug Ducey over the summer.

Read More

Pennsylvania County Commissioners’ Group Opposes Live-Streaming of Mail-In Vote Counting

Bipartisan enthusiasm for election-reform legislation appeared solid at a Pennsylvania Senate State Government Committee hearing on Thursday, save for one part: video live-streaming of mail-in-ballot counting.

Elements of the bill, sponsored by Sen. David Argall (R-PA-Pottsville) and Sen. Sharif Street (D-PA-Philadelphia), have arisen largely from recommendations in a June 2021 report by the Senate Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform. Argall and Street’s proposal excludes some of the ad hoc panel’s more contentious ideas, particularly enhanced voter-identification rules, which Rep. Seth Grove (R-PA-York) is spearheading in separate legislation. (While Gov. Tom Wolf [D] vetoed Grove’s bill in June, the representative has reintroduced it in light of the governor’s subsequent remarks in favor of a strengthened voter-ID requirement.)

Read More

Pennsylvania Senate Committee Passes Measure Aimed at Improving Transparency in the State’s Campaign Finance Laws

A measure to guarantee that all political campaigns report their fundraising and expenditures online passed the Pennsylvania Senate State Government Committee on Tuesday, along with several other election reforms.

All Pennsylvania candidates who raise or spend more than nominal amounts of money for their campaigns must establish fundraising committees, and those that have done so must file campaign-finance reports periodically. At least 32 states presently demand that all candidates who fundraise must report their finances online. In Pennsylvania, candidates for state office must submit online filings but most local campaigners can legally avoid it.

Read More

Abbott Signs Texas’ Voting Reform Bill into Law, Ending Intense Political Fight

Greg Abbott holding recently signed Texas voting reform bill

Gov. Greg Abbott Tuesday signed Texas’ election reform bill into law, ending a months-long political fight over the controversial legislation.

Abbott, a Republican, traveled to Tyler, Texas to sign the Senate Bill 1, which repeals many of the voting measures that large cities in the state implemented amid the pandemic and overhauls the state’s mail-in voting and polling place systems.

Senate Bill 1 also bars election officials from sending voters unsolicited mail-in ballot applications to voters, threatening jail time if they do so.

Read More

Michael Patrick Leahy Talks About Pop Up Nonprofits Used for Partisan Political Purposes

  In a special interview, Thursday on First Principles with Phill Kline – host Kline talked with Michael Patrick Leahy, CEO, and editor-in-chief of The Star News Network who uncovered partisan non-profit popups in swing states and the importance of election integrity as the deciding fate of America’s constitutional Republic.…

Read More

Civil Rights Activist Jesse Jackson Arrested During Filibuster Reform Protest at Arizona Senator Sinema’s Office

Jesse Jackson

Reverend Jesse Jackson and 38 others were arrested during a protest of Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s (D-AZ) stance on the filibuster rule outside of her Phoenix office on Monday.

The arrested protestors were charged with trespassing, according to Phoenix Police Public Information Officer Mercedes Fortune. The protestors were voicing opposition to Sinema’s lack of support for the proposed filibuster reform. Without reform or abolition of the 60-vote filibuster rule, Senate Democrats can’t pass massive election reform in the For the People Act.

Read More

Commentary: Georgia’s Election Reform Makes It Easy to Vote and Hard to Cheat

Regardless of one’s political affiliation, it’s not difficult to find voters in Georgia who were discouraged by the messiness of the 2020 election process.

It’s one thing to be disappointed by the outcome. It’s entirely another to feel disenfranchised and frustrated by questions and uncertainties surrounding absentee ballot handling, unsecured drop boxes, and questionable third-party funding of local elections.

In evaluating federal, state, and local voting safeguards, these and other serious complications — glitches, missing votes, even water pipe breakages at polling locations or ballot drop boxes — raised legitimate concerns and weakened voter confidence in Georgia’s election integrity.

Read More

Omar, Squad Unload on Manchin over H.R. 1

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) has joined the progressive chorus in calling for the head of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who stated his opposition to H.R. 1 in an opinion piece over the weekend. 

“The reason this bill has no Republican support is because it gets in the way of Republican plans to undermine elections. This bill protects our democracy from Republican attempts to dismantle it,” Omar said on Twitter, likening the Democrat to a member of the opposite party.

Read More

Governor Lee Signs Bill into Law that Prohibits Outside Funding to Elections Without Legislative Speakers’ Consent

A new Tennessee law makes outside funding to state and local election officials an exception to the rule. Governor Bill Lee signed the bill into law last week – it ensures that select elected officials review all outside funding, if any. It would also enable the public to access information on those outside funds through open records. 

This law will apply to both the state and county-level election commissions, the secretary of state, county administrators of elections, and the coordinator of elections. Only combined approval from the state House and Senate speakers would enable state election officials to accept funding from private individuals, corporations, organizations, or political parties. As for county election commissions and administrators of elections, outside funding must be approved by the secretary of state or one of their designees. 

Read More

Election Reform Law Faces Immediate Lawsuits

Governor Ron DeSantis signed an elections reform bill into law Thursday and opposition groups have already filed lawsuits against it. The new law, known as SB90, sets in place limits on access to ballot drop boxes and well as requiring those same ballot drop boxes to be monitored by an employee of the supervisor of elections’ office.

Additionally, voters who wish to request an absentee ballot will have to do so each general election cycle.

Read More

Florida Legislature Hearing Elections Reform Bills

Dennis Baxley

The Florida House is hearing an elections reform package and the Florida Senate is hearing a bill amending Florida’s election law related to ballot drop-boxes and absentee ballot signature verification.

Sen. Dennis Baxley’s (R-12) SB 90 passed the Senate Rules Committee by a 10-7 vote, and Baxley said the bill is well-intentioned designed to protect Florida’s voters and the integrity of Florida’s elections.

Read More

Gubernatorial Hopeful Pete Snyder Announces Election Integrity Plan

Pete Snyder announced his ‘Honest Vote’ election integrity plan on Thursday. The six-point plan focuses on transparency ballot verification and ballot verification measures.

“Having secure, legal, and trustworthy elections is something that we must demand in our Commonwealth. Unfortunately, for too many Virginians, whether they be Republicans, Democrats or independents, trust in our election system has been severely strained and due to many last minute Covid-related changes to our voting systems,” Snyder said in a press release.

Read More

Georgia Senate Approves Election Reform Package, Including Absentee Ballot Signature-Match Overhaul

The Georgia Senate approved four measures Tuesday that make changes to the election process as a response to November’s presidential election.

Georgia gained national attention after a close presidential election prompted three recounts and lawsuits and threats from former President Donald Trump’s campaign and supporters. Several questions and allegations arose from Georgia’s absentee-ballot process.

Read More

Gwinnett County Elections Chair Pushes for Election Law Changes; Civil Rights Groups Call for Her Resignation

Activists and legislators are calling for Gwinnett County Board of Registrations and Elections Chair Alice O’Lenick to resign for supporting election law changes. O’Lenick wanted to limit no-excuse absentee voting to the elderly and infirm, ban absentee ballot drop boxes, and expand early voting to last 21 days and be open on the weekends.

O’Lenick’s proposals incited negative responses from a variety of civil rights and activist groups, as well as a coalition of Democratic state legislators. Amongst the groups were The Lincoln Project, Fair Fight Action, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta, Georgia American Federation of Labor and Congress of Individual Organizations (AFL-CIO), Georgia Equality, and Voto Latino.

Read More

Newly Elected Tennessee State Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson Talks with The Tennessee Star Report

On Tuesday’s Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy and special guest co-host, Harriet Wallace of Fox 17 – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am –spoke to newly elected official Senate Majority Leader, Jack Johnson of Williamson…

Read More

Tennessee Star Report: GOP Chair Scott Golden Says Primary Runoff Elections Would Require Passage of State Law

On Monday’s Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – the gentlemen chatted with Scott Golden, the newly re-elected Chairman of the Tennessee Republican party about who the Democrats have…

Read More