Senate panel votes to require regular audits of voter registration records
Senator Ryan Aument (R-36) speaks before the Senate State Government Committee in favor of his bill to require regular audits of voter registration data.
(HARRISBURG) – The Senate State Government Committee today advanced a proposal sponsored by State Sen. Ryan Aument (R-36) that will help to reconcile any errors, duplicate files, or irregularities within Pennsylvania’s voter registration records and institute policies to ensure the accuracy of voter registration records moving forward. Aument said he introduced the bill as part of continuing efforts to increase the integrity of Pennsylvania’s election system.
“Securing our elections, tightening up our election processes, and increasing transparency so voters can once again have confidence in results continues to be one of my top priorities,” said Aument. “According to an independent third-party audit, there are legitimate issues and irregularities within Pennsylvania’s election system that must be fixed, and this bill will help accomplish that. I am pleased that the Senate State Government Committee voted to advance it.”
Senate Bill 1018 will incorporate into statute the recommendations made by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale in his 2019 audit report of the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors (SURE). SURE is the system the Department of State uses to maintain a complete list of all registered voters in the Commonwealth.
In 2019, the Auditor General released his report which detailed 50 recommendations to the Department of State related to security protocols, information technology general controls, and interface controls to “improve the security of Pennsylvania’s voter registration system and the completeness, accuracy, and auditability” of the voter registration records.
Though the audit was requested by the Department of State, the department refused to provide necessary information to the Auditor General to adequately perform the audit. For this reason, Aument’s bill will prohibit the Department of State, PennDOT, and counties from withholding information necessary to conduct a full and comprehensive audit, and it will require an independent audit of the SURE system be conducted annually.
“It is entirely unacceptable for a government agency to withhold information needed to conduct an independent, impartial review of our elections,” said Aument. “Ensuring transparency and accountability from the agency responsible for administering our elections will help Pennsylvanians regain trust in results and in the process.”
The bill was amended in committee to be more prescriptive in requiring the Department of State and counties to implement the changes outlined in the original language, rather than simply encouraging it. These changes were made in consultation with county election officials.
Senate Bill 1018 will now go before the full Senate for consideration.
CONTACT: Stephanie Applegate