Pennsylvania Republicans shelve controversial ‘election integrity’ committee

Republicans in Pennsylvania have decided to shelve a controversial proposal to create a so-called “Election Integrity” committee amid concerns raised by state Democrats.

Majority Leader for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Rep. Kerry Benninghoff announced that the proposal would be tabled for the remainder of the legislative session due to how Democrats allegedly distorted the idea “into a nefarious effort” to interfere with the elections, as reported by multiple local news outlets.

“Nothing can be further from the truth,” Benninghoff said of Democrats’ characterization of the effort. “This caucus has maintained its commitment to the security and safety of our election with on-time results for months.”

PENNSYLVANIA REPUBLICANS PROPOSE ‘ELECTION INTEGRITY’ COMMITTEE AMID VOTING CONCERNS

The Election Integrity Committee would have had subpoena power, and was proposed – at least partially – in response to recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court rulings, including an ongoing back-and-forth over whether mail-in ballots received after Election Day should be counted.

The group would be comprised of lawmakers from both parties, but state Democrats worried the committee could pose a threat to the election process.

Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf called the move a “partisan attack on the integrity of Pennsylvania elections.”

“The House Republicans are not only walking in lockstep with President Trump to try to sow chaos and put the results of the election in question, they are also taking steps to take the authority to administer elections away from the Department of State,” Wolf said in a statement.

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In addition to the battle over the mail-in ballot counting window, there have been a number of other election-related concerns. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, for example, also said that if voters do not put their ballot in a “secrecy” envelope their votes would not count.

The Trump administration filed a lawsuit against Philadelphia after it claimed poll watchers were unlawfully banned from early voting offices. Election officials have said, however, that poll watchers do not legally need to be admitted to early voting centers.

The lawsuit was thrown out over the weekend, but the campaign said it intended to file an appeal.

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