State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

Pa. House GOP-led committee holds voter fraud hearing

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Oct 4, 2016 11:48 PM

The House State Government Committee heard several testimonials on the state of election security in the commonwealth. (Photo by Katie Meyer/WITF)

(Harrisburg) -- In recent months, political candidates have repeatedly brought up concerns about election fraud.

The ubiquity of these stories prompted the GOP-led House State Government Committee to hold a hearing asking if the Pennsylvania vote is safe.

The general consensus was: "yes."

In his recent speech in Lancaster County, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump told supporters to take matters into their own hands to stop voter fraud.

"You've got to get your friends, and you've got to get everybody you know, and you've got to watch your polling booth because I hear too many stories about Pennsylvania," he said.

Private citizens aren't legally allowed to watch polls in Pennsylvania--the practice is thought to risk voter intimidation.

Under state law, official poll watchers can only monitor polling places in their home counties.

However, a bill that passed the State Government Committee in June aims to broaden the law, letting people watch polls anywhere in the state.

But at the hearing, voter registration director for Lawrence County, Edward Allison, said the legislation is unnecessary and unhelpful.

"Any time you introduce another variable into a process we already have and that works well, you certainly introduce a certain amount of question," he said.

Others testifying before the panel, including Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro Cortes, told the committee chances of fraud in November are very low.

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