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A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has denied a request by legislative Democrats and Attorney General Josh Shapiro to block the release of voters’ information to the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee investigating the 2020 general election and 2021 primary.

The Senate committee subpoenaed the Pennsylvania Department of State in September for the personal information of about 9 million Pennsylvania voters as part of a review of the 2020 general and 2021 primary elections, led by Iowa-based firm Envoy Sage.

The Department of State, which oversees elections, partially complied with the subpoena but refused to provide voters’ driver’s license numbers and partial Social Security numbers the Senate committee contends is necessary to confirm voters’ identities.

In oral arguments last month, attorneys for Senate Republicans pointed to the Department of State sharing the same information with the League of Women Voters in 2012 and past auditor general reviews. Challengers argued the move could put voters’ information at risk of fraud or identity theft.

Shapiro and legislative Democrats also argued Envoy Sage has not outlined sufficient security measures to protect the information and cited the company’s lack of election auditing experience. In addition, Democrats argued the state is bound by federal law to protect “critical infrastructure information” on the state’s election systems.

panel of five judges ruled Monday the Department of State did not provide “a clear legal right to quash the subpoena on the theory that it furthers no legitimate legislative purpose.”

The judges also found, however, “there is a substantial factual question surrounding the federal protection requirements and the capability of the Senate Committee’s contracted vendor, Envoy Sage, LLC, to protect the infrastructure information.”

The court ultimately denied both a motion to squash the subpoena and a motion for summary relief to release the information.

Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Bellefonte, commended the court for upholding the Senate committee’s authority to issue a subpoena for the voter information.

“Today’s ruling upholds the General Assembly’s clear legal and constitutional authority to provide oversight of our election system,” Corman said. “… The Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee is conducting this review in a way that is transparent, fair and legally sound, and I am thankful this ruling completely validates our thoughtful approach to this deeply contentious issue.

“We have always intended to take every step necessary to protect the personal information of voters. Our resolve to protect this data has never wavered, and we look forward to proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that we can safeguard this information effectively.”

Shapiro, meanwhile, is touting the court’s reluctance to immediately release the voter information, and vowed to continue to fight against its release.

“In today’s decision, the court recognized that there are serious questions concerning the ability of the Senate Republicans’ third-party vendor, Envoy Sage, to safeguard the private personal information of nine million Pennsylvania voters,” Shapiro wrote on Twitter.

“The court also rejected Senate Republicans’ attempt to get immediate access to this private personal information,” he wrote. “As a result, my office’s fight to defend against the attempts by Republicans in Harrisburg to seize this private data – and to protect every Pennsylvanian’s constructional right to privacy – will continue.”

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Election

Arizona lawmakers approve bill vetting voters for citizenship before they can vote

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Arizona lawmakers approved new voter restrictions that supporters said ensure only U.S. citizens can cast ballots but opponents said will wipe countless voters off the state’s rolls.

A unanimous Republican caucus approved House Bill 2492 on Wednesday in the Senate, sending the legislation to Gov. Doug Ducey for consideration.

While Arizona is one of the few states that already require proof of citizenship before registering to vote, residents can bypass that by registering for a federal-only ballot under the National Voter Registration Act and can vote on federal contests.

HB 2492 would require counties to check those individuals for citizenship against multiple databases. Counties must reject any federal applications if they find the individual is not a U.S. citizen. Any official knowingly ignoring the requirement could be charged with a Class 6 felony.

Democrats accused Republicans of seeking to purge the voter rolls as revenge for the 2020 general election, where President Joe Biden narrowly defeated former President Donald Trump.

“This is absurd, illogical and discriminatory,” Sen. Sally Ann Gonzales, D-Tucson, said.

Constitutional analysts told GOP lawmakers in another hearing the bill presents some issues that could face a legal challenge. Opponents were quick to note that in debate.

“We are voting on a bill that is unconstitutional and has a tremendous impact on the voters of the state of Arizona,” Sen. Martín Quezada, D-Phoenix, said. “There are many provisions in this bill that are offensive, and that will have a negative impact on some communities more than others.”

Republicans said their legislation simply ensures U.S. citizens are the only ones voting in U.S. elections.

“The issue is making sure the citizens of this country are voting,” Sen. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, said. “If you’re not a citizen of this country, you’re not allowed to vote. We have over 35,000 people registered to vote where we are not certain whether they’re citizens or not.”

The bill passed along partisan lines. Democrats gathered in Phoenix on Thursday to pressure Ducey to veto the legislation.

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Congress

US Senators Question Motives of AT&T For Refusing To Renew OAN Contract…Cite AT&T Board Chairman’s Ties To Dominion Voting Machines

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Two U.S. Senators, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, have written an official letter to AT&T inquiring into its politically-motivated decision to cut One America News Network (OANN) from DirectTV. Cruz and Lee both press the AT&T Board of Directors for answers regarding the “personal financial” influences that may have swayed the company’s decision.

The decision to not renew its contract with OANN was announced by DirecTV in mid-January. DirecTV, which is primarily run by AT&T, has a contract with OANN that is set to expire in early April.

In response to this major decision, President Trump spoke out at an Arizona rally, saying, “This is horrible. This is a great network. These are great people. I watch it all the time and you really get the truth. And they want to cancel them now because of politics – for purely political reasons. It’s a disgrace what’s going on.”

“I don’t think that people are gonna stand for it,” added Trump.”Maybe what we should do is not use AT&T.”

On Tuesday, Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz submitted a letter to the members of the AT&T Board of Directors, expressing “grave concern for the future of journalism and political discourse in America.”

They then listed six specific facts/concerns regarding the issue:

  1. One American News Network (“OAN”) is being sued for alleged defamation by Dominion Voting Systems.
  2. Dominion Voting Systems is owned by Staple Street Capital.
  3. William Kennard is on the executive board of Staple Street Capital
  4. William Kennard is also the Chairman of AT&T’s board of directors
  5. AT&T owns 70% of DirecTV, and controls two seats on DirecTV’s board of directors
  6. DirecTV has decided not to renew its contract with OANN.

The main concern pointed out by Lee and Cruz is that William Kennard, the Chairman of AT&T’s board of directors and executive board member of Staple Street Capital, is pushing to end its contract with OANN to benefit his personal financial interests.

The Senators then request a response to the following question within 10 business days: “Did any employee or agent of AT&T at any time convey or suggest to any employee or agent of DirecTV an instruction or request not to renew OANN?”

Read the full letter below:

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Election

VoterGA Reveals Georgia Ballot Harvesting Scheme – Raffensperger Facilitated Ballot Harvesting

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