Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

poll booths

Pennsylvania Republicans "have been trying to throw sand into the gears of our democracy and now they're standing up this election integrity committee... to investigate the sand," state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta said Thursday. (Photo: Penn State/flickr/cc)

So-Called 'Election Integrity' Panel in Pennsylvania Seen as GOP Trojan Horse to Help Trump Steal Election

State Democratic lawmakers called the situation "a national emergency" and said Republican efforts are a "dangerous threat to democracy."

Andrea Germanos

A so-called "election integrity" panel proposed by Republican lawmakers in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania is being criticized as "a dangerous threat to our democracy" that would further President Donald Trump's efforts to undermine results of the November election.

The proposal, House Resolution 1032, was put forth Monday and advanced Wednesday—a day after the first presidential debate during which Trump continued to sow doubt about election integrity, asserted that "bad things happen in Philadelphia," and encouraged his supporters to engage in poll watching.

A planned vote for Thursday on the measure was cancelled after a Republican House member tested positive for coronavirus.

The panel would be made up of three Republicans and two Democrats, be empowered "to investigate, review, and make recommendations concerning the regulation and conduct of the 2020 general election," and take actions including subpoenaing witnesses and documents.

"As a House resolution," the Associated Press reported, "it does not require approval by the Senate or governor."

According to Democratic Leader state Rep. Frank Dermody, "The wording of the resolution is vague and open-ended, leaving the distinct possibility of steps being taken that would have seemed inconceivable before now. To put it simply this is a dangerous threat to our democracy."

"As this is currently written, it's even possible the committee could try to impound uncounted ballots," Dermody added.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, a Democrat, spoke to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Thursday evening and outlined his concerns with HR 1032.

For months, said Kenyatta, the Pennsylvania Republicans "have been trying to throw sand into the gears of our democracy and now they're standing up this election integrity committee—that, as I said, has no integrity—to investigate the sand."

"They have parroted all of Trump's fever dreams around voter fraud but here's the reality," Kenyatta said. "The only fraud I see is Donald Trump. He lies to the American people, he cheats on his taxes, and now he's trying to steal an election."

Kenyatta said that Republicans in his state and beyond "are more than happy to destroy our democracy and they have decided... that they're not going to contest this election on policy." Instead, said Kenyatta, "they are doing everything they can to take away the power of our vote here in Pennsylvania to maintain their power."

Governor Tom Wolf, also a Democrat, similarly condemned the proposed resolution as "an unprecedented attack on non-partisan election administrators."

"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 Wednesday statement.

He further accused state House Republicans of "hypocritically bowing to political pressure to undermine the mail voting that has proven to be a tremendous benefit to Pennsylvanians during the pandemic."

In a letter (pdf) to lawmakers urging them to vote against HR 1032, progressive advocacy group Common Cause said the proposed committee is "ripe for abuse" and that it is crucial to "not politicize Pennsylvania's election administration or cast doubt on the ability of Pennsylvania Department of State and county elections officials to run a safe, secure, and accessible election."

The group wrote, in part:

The scope of powers of this committee are both too vast and too vague to not raise alarm bells, especially when paired with the attacks on the ability of the Department of State to successfully administer our elections. To call into question the position of the Department and its ability to carry out its function properly, serves only to sow doubt and distrust into our elections.

We are also very concerned with the subpoena power that is granted to the chair of the committee. Subpoenas can be useful tools for ensuring transparency in government. However, this resolution provides that the power is solely held by the committee chair and can be exercised by them alone without consultation or agreement from the other members of the committee, including the minority party.

State Rep. Kenyatta, in a late Thursday tweet, put the stakes in clear terms.

"What's happening in Pennsylvania is a national emergency," he wrote, "and we have to stop it."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·

'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·

80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·

In 10 Key US Senate Races, Here's How Top Candidates Responded to Roe Ruling

While Republicans unanimously welcomed the Supreme Court's rollback of half a century of reproductive rights, one Democrat said "it's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo