HARRISBURG – Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming/Union), chairman of the House State Government Committee, issued the following statement after the governor announced today a county reimbursement scheme involving the borrowing of funds from the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority (PEDFA), which is generally an agency that deals with local economic improvement rather than election costs. The governor vetoed last week a bipartisan proposal from the General Assembly that would have provided $90 million in state funding for counties and included a provision that would abolish straight-party ticket voting.
“The governor does not have the authority to unilaterally decertify and require replacement of all voting machines, much less the authority to simply use his pen to borrow $90 million to pay for the machines without an appropriation or legislation from the General Assembly.
“Furthermore, it is unfortunate and disappointing to learn that the governor finds it appropriate to put politics above the right of Pennsylvania citizens to vote based on their conscience instead of party label. The first offense to our Commonwealth’s citizens was his executive decision that voting machines must be replaced before a presidential election in which a candidate highly disfavored by the governor’s party is up for reelection. Now we know for certain that it is not enough for voting machine specifications to be dictated by his party, but that he believes voters are not smart enough to educate themselves on a candidate’s background and positions before they enter the most sacred place of participation in our political process for citizens – the voting booth.
“It seems that the governor is bowing to political pressure from Washington, D.C., instead of listening to the grassroots polling workers and voters of this state. The message this sends to the people of Pennsylvania is that his party is too afraid to have an open and honest debate between candidates. They would rather leave our political landscape divisive and about party label than about real issues affecting the working people of Pennsylvania – such as burdensome taxes.
“This is also a disservice to candidates, often women or minorities, who run races on smaller budgets and have to work harder at building their name recognition.
“Senate Bill 48
was a bipartisan piece of legislation and could have been a great achievement showing Pennsylvanians that we can put dialog ahead of party affiliation. Instead, as was made clear by his executive decision today, the governor chose to align himself with Washington insiders instead of the people he represents here in Pennsylvania.
“I hope future debates on important matters like election security and voting issues take place in the Legislature and the public instead of the governor’s mansion.”
Representative Garth D. Everett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Basley