Metcalfe Leads call on governor to convene General Assembly to address election integrity concerns


Updated Dec 02, 2020; Posted Dec 02, 2020


By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com


Nearly three dozen Republican state lawmakers are asking Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf to use his constitutional authority to call the General Assembly back into immediate session to address their concerns about the 2020 presidential election.


In a letter dated Wednesday, the group of conservative GOP lawmakers led by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler County, listed 15 questions they say need to be answered ”to help restore our citizens’ faith in the electoral process.” Among them are issues related to ballot dropboxes, ballot handling, voting machines and more.

In a word, the response from the governor’s office is no.


“The facts are clear: Pennsylvania had a secure election,” said Wolf’s spokeswoman Lyndsay Kensinger. “Pennsylvanians voted, state and federal judges have rejected the reckless accusations, the U.S. Attorney General has found claims of widespread fraud baseless, and the representatives must move forward. Spreading lies and misinformation is irresponsible. Pennsylvanians deserve better from their elected officials.”


Pennsylvania’s Department of State certified Pennsylvania’s election results on Nov. 24, declaring Joe Biden the winner. The final tally shows Biden winning Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes, or a little over 1 percentage point, over President Donald Trump.


The 2019-20 legislative session ended on Monday. Lawmakers are not scheduled to go into session until Jan. 5 when members are sworn in for the next two-year session.


The lawmakers point out in the letter sections of the state constitution allowing the governor to “on extraordinary occasions, convene the General Assembly” and that allow for him to call a special session “whenever in his opinion public interest requires.”


“This election clearly represents an extraordinary occasion, and the public interest requires that you convene the General Assembly immediately,” the letter states.


Signing the letter that was spearheaded by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler County, were Sen.-elect Cris Dush and Reps. Aaron Bernstine, Tim Bonner, Stephanie Borowicz, Jim Cox, Russ Diamond, Jonathan Fritz, Mark Gillen, Barbara Gleim, Jim Gregory, Rich Irvin, R. Lee James, Mike Jones, Rob Kauffman, Dawn Keefer, Ryan Mackenzie, David Maloney, David Millard, Brett Miller, Dan Moul, Mike Puskaric, Kathy Rapp, Brad Roae, David Rowe, Frank Ryan, Tommy Sankey, Paul Schemel, Craig Staats, Parke Wentling and Dave Zimmerman as well as Rep.-elect Brian Smith. No Republican legislative leader signed on to the letter.


The lawmakers say in their letter the General Assembly needs to convene to provide oversight of the election and address some of the claims made at last week’s Senate Majority Policy Committee meeting by Trump’s legal team along with a few other issues. They also point out they have a fresh allegation from a truck driver working for a U.S. Postal Service subcontractor who says he transported well over 100,000 completed absentee ballots from Bethpage, N.Y., to Harrisburg, Pa.


This is another attempt after a string of court battles waged by Republicans to try to overturn Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania. Another last-ditch effort underway by Republicans led by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly of northwestern Pennsylvania seeks to get the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a lawsuit that maintains Pennsylvania’s expansive vote-by-mail law is unconstitutional.


Similar battles to deny Biden the win are happening in other key battleground states as the clock winds down to when the electoral college meets on Dec. 14. As it stands now, Biden stands to collect 306 electoral college votes, 36 more than is needed to win the White House, to Trump’s 232 electoral votes.

Jan Murphy may be reached at jmurphy@pennlive.com.



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