Pennsylvania Republicans pushing Arizona style ‘fraudit’
Republicans in the state Capitol in Harrisburg are seeking to carry out the most massive invasion of voter privacy in state history. | Matt Rourke/AP

ERIE, Pa.—Libertarians, who stress the rights of the individual above all, and liberals and socialists, who get berated for supposedly placing societal needs above certain individual rights, don’t often agree. The latest Republican scheme to undermine the legitimacy of the 2020 election results here in Pennsylvania, however, will have them on the same page.

Josh Shapiro, the state’s liberal Democratic Attorney General, has just filed suit against the Pennsylvania Republicans for pushing an Arizona-style “audit” of the 2020 election that seeks to grab—without consent—tons of personal information on nine million or more adults living in the state.

GOP lawmakers in Pennsylvania, which President Joe Biden won by more than 80,000 votes, are engaging in a massive violation of voters’ privacy. In addition, they’re establishing plans to harass and intimidate millions who went out to vote for Biden. In mid-September, they approved subpoenas for the state to provide vast amounts of data and personal information on voters to be used in their election audit, or “fraudit” as such schemes have become known. As they did in Arizona, Republicans are pushing the big lie that the election was really won by Trump.

Most alarming about the situation is the sheer breadth of information they intend to collect, as they desire to conduct the fraudit by using names, dates of birth, driver’s license numbers, Social Security numbers, addresses, and additional info on how millions of individuals voted. This makes the scheme even more outrageous than the fraudit that GOP cyber conspirators are conducting in Arizona.

Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania Democratic Attorney General, is suing Republicans for their attempt to massively violate the privacy rights of the state’s voters. | Matt Rourke/AP

To make matters worse, Republican politicians are demanding from Pennsylvania’s Department of State “all guidance issued to counties, as well as communications between the Department of State and county election officials, for the period covering the two votes”—meaning both the 2020 primary and general elections in the state. There’s no legal precedent that allows supporters of political candidates to collect such a wide, sweeping amount of data on each and every one of millions of voters, the lawsuit by Shapiro contends.

It doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to imagine what Republicans or anyone else might do with this kind of data. Suffice it to say that collection of this type of information is absolutely incompatible with the norm in any kind of democracy.

Meanwhile, more than six months after the 2020 presidential election, Arizona Senate Republicans have stated that they will release the result of their fraudit Friday. Having seen the proceedings in that state, the Republicans in Pennsylvania apparently got jealous and decided to outdo the GOP in Arizona with their own attack on people’s constitutional freedoms.

The Pennsylvania fraudit trashes the privacy rights of every person in the state who voted in the 2020 elections, according to Shapiro, who remarked yesterday that “Republican leaders in our Commonwealth continue to try and manufacture controversy out of nothing. We will do everything to protect Pennsylvanians’ personal data.”

The fraudit is just one more piece of an ongoing insurrection against democracy by the Republican Party. Their maneuvers here demonstrate that the Jan. 6th events at the Capitol were just the beginning of a continuing attack by them on the very foundations of democracy in the U.S.


CONTRIBUTOR

Blake Skylar
Blake Skylar

Blake is a writer and production manager, responsible for the assembly of the PW home page. He has earned awards from the IWPA and ILCA, and his articles have appeared in publications such as Workday Minnesota, EcoWatch, and Earth First News. He has covered issues including the BP oil spill in New Orleans and the 2015 U.N. Climate Conference in Paris.

He lives in Pennsylvania with his cat. He enjoys wine, books, music, and nature. In his spare time, he operates a channel on YouTube, creates artwork, and is writing a novel.

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