AG Shapiro moves to block GOP effort to subpoena election records

Philadelphia election workers process mail and absentee ballots for the 2020 general election

Philadelphia election workers process mail and absentee ballots for the 2020 general election at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro filed a court motion this week to intervene in an effort by GOP lawmakers to subpoena records linked to the 2020 presidential election.

Despite a virtual absence of evidence of voter fraud during the nearly year-old election, Republican allies of former President Donald Trump have pushed ahead with plans for an Arizona-style “forensic audit” of 2020 election results in Pennsylvania.

While supporters have offered little detail on what that entails or outlined plans to pay for such a review, members of the GOP-led Pennsylvania Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee moved to subpoena election officials’ internal communications and voter registration data for millions in Pennsylvania.

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Republicans say they want these records to bolster audit efforts and confidence in election integrity. But in a motion filed by Shapiro in Commonwealth Court this week aiming to block those subpoenas, the Democratic AG argues the real goal is “to manufacture mistrust about Pennsylvania’s elections.”

“These Senators are using their position of power to demand voters’ personal information, all so that they may continue to lie about our elections,” wrote Shapiro, who recently announced his candidacy for governor of Pennsylvania.

The AG countered, in a court filing, that results have been audited twice already and that potentially turning over voter data — including partial social security and driver’s license numbers — to third-party investigators would violate privacy rights.

Republican lawmakers have not yet replied to the motion.

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