The county commissioner chairs of Bucks and Montgomery counties have lent their voices in support of the Attorney General’s legal challenge to a state senate committee subpoena seeking reams of private voter information.
The Bucks County Board of Elections takes great care to guard voters’ identifying information and build public confidence in elections, Bucks County Commissioners’ Chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia wrote in an affidavit filed late Wednesday. But efforts by state senators to pry voters’ information from the Department of State imperil that goal.
“Recent actions by the Pennsylvania Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee to stoke division, distrust and disinformation threaten to jeopardize the trust we have worked so hard to build and preserve,” wrote Marseglia.
Affidavits from Marseglia and Montgomery County Commissioners’ Chair Dr. Val Arkoosh both appear as exhibits attached to and cited in Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s effort to block the committee’s subpoena in Commonwealth Court. As county commissioners, Marseglia and Arkoosh serve on the boards of elections for their respective counties.
“[The subpoena] threatens to deter eligible voters from registering for fear that their personal information might be exposed to third parties,” Arkoosh wrote, “and may erode the trust already-registered electors have in the elections process by lending legitimacy to false and dangerous claims that the Nov. 2, 2020, election was somehow fraudulent.”
Montgomery County Commissioner Kenneth E. Lawrence, Jr. Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Elections also filed an affidavit stating, “I am concerned that disclosing voters’ personal information will make it harder for the Montgomery County Board of Elections to administer elections in the future.”
Marseglia said that since the subpoena was issued last month, she and other elected officials in Bucks have received complaints from more than 300 county voters expressing concerns about the security of their identifying information. Arkoosh said the Montgomery County Board of Elections has received similar complaints.
Rather than wasting taxpayer dollars on what she described in her affidavit as a “a cynical political stunt,” Marseglia wrote that lawmakers should instead be considering commonsense election reforms – such as allowances for earlier pre-canvassing of ballots – that have bipartisan support among county commissioners statewide.
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