State government committee works to make future elections consistent

CHAMBERSBURG – Pennsylvania government is taking a look at the election process to avoid any future issues with voting in the state. Representative Paul Schemel joined Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen on News Talk 103.7FM Friday morning, 19 February 2021, on the local-live morning show First News.

“We’re looking at how elections in Pennsylvania work,” Schemel said. “Where are the weak spots? Where can we make improvements?”

A series of 14 public hearings in the state government will continue. There have been four hearings so far. 

Discussions include timelines, backups, audits and reviews conducted in counties. Each hearing includes testimony from different components of the election system.

Schemel made it clear this is NOT an audit of the 2020 election.

It’s not “we’re going to finally find out what happened in the 2020 election,” Schemel said. “This is about how do we make our elections safe and secure…so we know we have confidence in elections going forward.”

When the committee is finished, they will have a list of recommendations that will be put into a bill and go into the legislative process, to be passed by the Pa. House, the Pa. Senate and has to be signed by the governor.

One of the main reasons for the public hearings is so once the bill is created, people will be able to see the process that went into it and why it happened.

“It should not be a partisan issue,” Schemel noted. “It should be one that everyone can sign on to.”

Jansen pointed out that there were real problems with the elections. There are real constituents and voters who are unsure.

“We know there were unconstitutional moves made by the administration, some of which will have to be sorted out in the future,” Jansen said. “It won’t change this past election, but they’re legitimate questions that you need to ask. I’ll fault the media for not doing any investigation or very much questioning of their own which is why you guys were put in the position to ask that.”

One of the big questions is why were people held so far away – physically – from inspecting what was going on during the election process?

“That’s exactly the kind of thing we want to review,” Schemel said.

The issues with COVID can’t be overlooked and how each county responded to the social distancing practices has a lot to do with the physical distance issue.

The hearings have shown a great deal of inconsistency among counties and how they interpreted the law in light of COVID.

The committee is asking “how do we do this safely? And how do we do it consistently so every county does it the same?” Schemel said.

In the future, with the help of the committee, a voter in Franklin County will have the same experience as one in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia.