State Rep. Frank Ryan challenges governor over voter fraud

Written by Daniel Walmer/Lebanon Daily News | Jul 7, 2017 1:02 PM

Republican state Representative Frank Ryan of Lebanon County (Photo: File)

CPA-turned-representative says national examination could help determine whether voter fraud exists

(Lebanon) -- State Rep. Frank Ryan (R-101) said on Facebook that he hopes Pennsylvania isn't trying to cover up voter fraud by refusing to participate in a Trump administration investigation.

Governor Tom Wolf sent a letter June 30 to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, saying he would not comply with its request for personal information about voters. The panel was created by President Donald Trump in May via an investigative order.

"I hope that the reason the data is not being provided is because of concerns about data security rather than attempting to cover up voter fraud," Ryan said in a Facebook post.

Ryan invoked his background as a certified public accountant (CPA) who has participated in fraud examinations, saying the only way to determine if voter fraud exists is to cross-tabulate data from all states. That could determine, for example, whether the same person is voting in multiple states.

Touchscreen voting machines have to be properly calibrated to register votes correctly. Michael Anderson, director of the Lebanon County Bureau of Elections, demonstrates how the machines are calibrated. Daniel Walmer, Lebanon Daily News


Ryan made clear in a phone interview Thursday that he is not accusing Wolf of engaging in a cover-up.

"I don't even remotely think for a second that the Governor is trying to hide anything," he said.

However, there have been too many accusations about voter fraud from both Republicans and Democrats that distract from solving other serious problems facing the country, he said. A national investigation could "put this stuff to bed once and for all."

In his letter, Wolf expressed concern that the commission had not provided assurances that the requested information - which includes dates of birth, political party, and the last four digits of each voters social security number - would be handled securely.

Ryan acknowledged that is a potential concern, but said there are ways to conduct data analysis while keeping the data secure.

More provocatively, Wolf said he is concerned that the commission's request was "a mere pretense for pursuing restrictions on the fundamental right of citizens to vote."

Wolf isn't alone in his concerns. A USA Today analysis found a wide range of responses to the Commission from 47 states, but most are refusing to provide at least some of the information requested.

Rep. Frank Diamond (R-102) was less adamant than Ryan, saying that much of the information the commission wants is already publicly available.

"It's almost like an unforced error in the way it was asked for," he said.

Wolf suggested the commission purchase publicly available information for $20 from the Pennsylvania Department of State.



This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and the Lebanon Daily News.

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