State House Committee Wrestles With Election Changes Amidst Concerns Over Voter Suppression

Pennsylvania's state House Government Committee held another hearing in Harrisburg Thursday afternoon on election integrity in the commonwealth; KDKA's Jon Delano reports.

Video Transcript

- Pennsylvania State House Government Committee holding another meeting on election integrity in the Commonwealth

- As Political Editor Jon Delano reports, it was the first hearing since the state of Georgia passed legislation that's being challenged in court.

JON DELANO: When Joe Biden and two Democrats for Senate won Georgia, Republicans who control that state quickly changed their election laws. It raises a fundamental question, when do laws to protect the integrity of voting become in fact voter suppression by limiting when and how voters vote?

SETH GROVE: Voter access and security don't need to be mutually exclusive. We can have an election system, which is grounded in integrity and provides accessibility to voters. Pennsylvania's election system should be easy to vote, but hard to cheat.

JON DELANO: A House committee is hearing how to do just that knowing in this state with a Republican legislature and Democratic governor, any changes will require bipartisan agreement. But don't count on any changes soon.

MARGO DAVIDSON: We are not yet prepared to do anything about the upcoming May primary when there was plenty of time for us to do so.

JON DELANO: While some would end no-fault mail-in voting, bay and drop boxes, curtail voter registration, or require a photo ID to vote, others call this voter suppression. Unlikely to win Governor Wolf's support. But there are some security measures to prevent voter disinformation and hacking.

WILL ADLER: Unfortunately, only 11 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties have election websites that are on dot.gov domains. The vast majority are on dot.com or dot.org domains, which anyone can purchase.

CLIFFORD NEUMAN: Things have been blamed on Russian and Chinese hacking groups. These kinds of attacks could have easily spread to election infrastructure. And you can be certain, our enemies who are seeking to compromise that infrastructure will keep trying.

JON DELANO: Chris Deluzio at Pitt Cyber Institute worries that voter suppression efforts distract from legitimate security needs like risk-limiting audits, software independence and scrutinizing machine vendors.

CHRISTOPHER DELUZIO: Sound and smart moves that we ought to do to bolster public faith in our elections and are not at all designed to keep people from the polls.

JON DELANO: Jon Delano, KDKA News.