News & Brews August 9, 2022

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Latest Pa. Dep’t of State screw-up raises eyebrows

Well this is embarrassing for the Wolf administration. Due to a manual error, the Department of State certified Butler County’s May 17 primary vote tally, which DOS considers to be inaccurate. DOS contends undated mail-in ballots should be counted, while Butler says the opposite, per state law. (So the claim that the tally is inaccurate is questionable.) But that issue aside, the fact that DOS “had relied on updating a spreadsheet — a process that allowed an error to be made and then not caught later — is the latest black eye for a department…” the Inquirer reports. You’ll recall this is the same DOS that derailed a proposed constitutional amendment last year after failing to advertise it to the public, as required by law.

Mastriano slated to talk with Jan. 6 committee this morning

GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano is scheduled for an online deposition this morning before the January 6 committee, but the interview may be short-lived if Mastriano is not permitted to make his own recording of the deposition, PennLive reports. Mastriano’s attorney noted Mastriano “is happy to answer the committee’s questions as long as there’s some protections to make sure that they don’t try to influence the (gubernatorial) election.”

Pa. ranks 26th in free speech ranking

The Institute for Free Speech (formerly the Center for Competitive Politics) has released its Free Speech Index, which analyzes “laws restricting speech about government in all 50 states.” Pennsylvania comes in smack in the middle at 26th among states. The index looks at ten categories and “rates each state on how well it supports the free speech and association rights of individuals and groups interested in speaking about candidates, issues of public policy, and their government.” Read more here.

DeSantis coming to Pa. for Mastriano

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will appear with Doug Mastriano at an August 19 Pittsburgh rally, hosted by Turning Point Action. The event is part of a three-state tour by DeSantis. PennLive reports that it’s unclear as of yet if Republican U.S. Senate nominee Mehmet Oz will also be at the event.

Op-Ed: ‘Restoring impartiality and objectivity to election administration’

Republican Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill (York County) and Lisa Baker (Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming counties) write in City & State PA on recently passed legislation, signed by Gov. Wolf, that “reaffirms it is the responsibility of state government to determine how election administration should be funded.” The legislation also established a new program to help counties fund elections. The senators write, “Beginning in August, counties can apply for the funding to help count and print ballots, secure the management of voting equipment, and cover other costs necessary to properly carry out free and fair elections in Pennsylvania. To further ensure fairness, the amount that each county can qualify for is based upon the number of registered voters in the county, as opposed to the total number of residents of a county.” Read their piece here.

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