May. 13, 2020

HARRISBURG – Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) issued the following statement in response to two lawsuits filed recently regarding Pennsylvania’s primary election:

“Every day, Pennsylvanians are making sacrifices to their daily lives as a result of this pandemic. Each of us continues to make necessary changes to try and slow the spread. The primary election is no different.

“As the COVID-19 virus made its presence known in our Commonwealth, we acted to move the primary election date, provide flexibility in polling locations and staffing, and authorized additional time to process mail-in ballots. These important reforms came just months after the state’s most comprehensive election reforms in the last 80 years in which we established no excuse mail-in absentee ballots among other important election modernization provisions.

“These changes were made with bipartisan support and open the door to allow every Pennsylvanian who wants to participate in the election process the ability to do so, safely.

“However, a free and fair election in Pennsylvania is apparently not the ultimate goal for Washington D.C.-based special interests who have filed lawsuits in hopes of using Pennsylvania courts to further change election law. These suits ask the courts to allow mail-in and absentee ballots to be collected by a third-party company (ballot harvesting), and for mail-in ballots to be counted days after the polls close.

“We strongly urge the litigators in these cases to consult Article 1, Section 4 of the United State Constitution, which states, ‘The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof.’

“Further, they are bringing this fight to the wrong state. Our legislators on both sides of the aisle are the elected voices of the people of our Commonwealth. We acted to preserve safe, fair and secure elections with the provisions signed into law last fall and this spring. This will be the most accessible election in our state’s history, and any further notion of tweaking absentee voting is showing an overwhelming desire of one party to seek an unfair advantage.

“The cornerstone of our democracy has always been one person, one vote. We believe in the integrity and power of every vote, and the idea that out-of-state interests would want to manipulate our courts to obtain results they could not get in the legislative process, such as a ballot harvesting program, is an insult to every voter in our Commonwealth.

“Our counsel is actively engaged in defeating these lawsuits, and we look forward to fair, secure and accurate elections.”

Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus
Pennsylvania House of Representatives