Democrats in Pennsylvania's state Senate sued Friday evening in a state court to block a Republican-approved subpoena seeking voter information and to put a stop to what Republicans call a “forensic investigation” of last year’s presidential election.
Democrats had said they would sue within days after the Republican-controlled Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee voted Wednesday to issue a subpoena.
The subpoena seeks detailed state election records, including communication with counties and the names of who voted in last year’s presidential election, their birth date, address, driver’s license number and the last four digits of their Social Security number.
The subpoena is an outgrowth of former President Donald Trump's assertion that he was cheated out of victory last November.
“The latest ploy by the Senate Republicans is unprecedented and completely unwarranted," Democrats said in a statement. “All aspects of the certified 2020 election have been thoroughly reviewed and adjudicated in the courts with no findings of irregularities or fraud. The timeframe to contest the 2020 certified election results is long overdue.”
The 53-page lawsuit, filed by all 21 Senate Democrats, contends that the Senate Republican bid to investigate the election illegally treads on the court's duties, violates state law over election audits and seeks information that is barred from public disclosure.
The subpoena was emailed to senior Department of State officials on Thursday, according to a Senate Republican spokesperson.
The majority of the information being requested is already available to the public, according to state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat. But Pennsylvania law prohibits the public release of a voter’s driver’s license number and Social Security number.
Republicans have maintained that they are exercising appropriate legislative authority to oversee executive branch functions, and they insist what they call an investigation has nothing to do with Trump or overturning the election. Rather, they say, they are aiming to fix problems discovered in last year's election and improve confidence in elections.
“Hopefully it will accomplish one of two things,” Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, said at Wednesday's committee meeting. “Either it will give us action items to better our laws moving forward for the next election, or we can dispel a lot of concerns about the last election. ... I think both of those are good.”
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