Governors

PA’s Doug Mastriano Pledges to Appoint a Secretary of State Who Will Rig Elections for the GOP

There is mounting concern in Pennsylvania and across the country that Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, who crossed police barricades during the January 6th insurrection, will appoint a Secretary of State who will refuse to certify any election that Democrats win — because Mastriano has pledged to do just that. 

Despite claiming to have already picked his choice for Secretary of State — and his candidate agreeing! — the Trump-endorsed Republican nominee has yet to announce them. But he has pledged to pick a far-right sycophant who shares his far-right political views and belief in the Big Lie.

If elected, Mastriano will stop at nothing to pass legislation that would allow him to have as much authority over elections as possible, including pledges to end no-excuse vote by mail and force millions of registered voters to register again. That a conspiracy theorist who was at the Jan. 6 insurrection could have control over Pennsylvania’s elections is a threat that Democrats are taking very seriously — especially considering Mastriano has pledged to nominate an equally extreme Secretary of State should he win in November.  

As reports confirm, “no Republican nominee for a major swing-state office has done more to amplify bogus election claims than Mr. Mastriano in Pennsylvania.” Mastriano’s decertification push is just another example of how the GOP continues their work to destabilize our democracy and overturn the democratic processes that promise fair and free elections

Read the coverage:

AP News: How Pa. GOP gov pick could turn election lies into action

  • “Doug Mastriano is not the only candidate who won a Republican primary on Tuesday after embracing Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen. But no GOP contender did more to subvert that presidential election — and no one may be better positioned to subvert the next one — than Mastriano if he’s elected Pennsylvania’s governor.”
  • “While he would have to contend with a Legislature that may not go along with his plans, he would still have significant authority over elections because Pennsylvania is one of the few states where governors have the power to appoint the secretary of state. As Pennsylvania’s chief elections official, that official oversees how elections are managed, gives counties guidance on how to conduct elections and, crucially, certifies the final results”.
  • “Some Pennsylvania Republicans began moderating their anti-Mastriano tone even before his victory was official, acknowledging that a disastrous showing by their nominee for governor in November would hurt down-ballot Republicans. On Wednesday, they said that, to have a chance against Shapiro, Mastriano must embrace a political strategy focused on issues like President Joe Biden’s unpopular leadership, the pandemic and inflation.”
  • “If he became governor, Mastriano would be the official charged with certifying the winner of his state’s 2024 presidential election. Certification clears the way for a victorious candidate’s electors to cast their ballots and have the state counted by Congress.”
  • “He wants to repeal the state’s vote-by-mail law, end contracts with what he calls ‘compromised’ voting machine companies and require voters to ‘re-register.’ Constitutional law scholars say that forcing registered voters to register again is barred by the National Voter Registration Act and likely runs into significant protections under the U.S. Constitution if not the state Constitution.”

The New York Times: Midterm Stakes Grow Clearer: Election Deniers Will Be on Many Ballots

  • “In Pennsylvania, Republican voters united behind a nominee for governor, Doug Mastriano, who helped lead the brazen effort to overturn the state’s 2020 election and chartered buses to the rally before the Capitol riot, and who has since promoted a constitutionally impossible effort to decertify President Biden’s victory in his state.”
  • “A state senator and retired Army colonel, he spent $3,354 in campaign funds to charter buses to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. A Senate Judiciary Committee report said that video footage had confirmed that Mr. Mastriano had “passed through breached barricades and police lines” near the Capitol, though he has denied that he breached the lines and there is no evidence that he entered the Capitol itself.”
  • “This March, Mr. Mastriano held a campaign event in Gettysburg at which attendees signed a petition calling on Pennsylvania to decertify the state’s 2020 results, according to The York Daily Record.”
  • “The decertification push has become the latest litmus test in 2020 election denialism. It has also rattled Republicans in Wisconsin, where one of the party’s four major candidates for governor has made undoing Mr. Biden’s 2020 victory in the state the central plank of his campaign.” 
  • “Mr. Trump has encouraged the decertification effort in Wisconsin and offered a late endorsement to Mr. Mastriano. The former president has conditioned his endorsement, the most valuable seal of approval in Republican politics, on amplifying false claims about the election.”

Heartland Signal: Doug Mastriano said for months he has his secretary of state pick. He still hasn’t said who it is.

  • “Doug Mastriano, the Trump-endorsed frontrunner in Pennsylvania’s GOP gubernatorial primary, has repeatedly said he has already picked out the secretary of state to help him force all voters to re-register in Pennsylvania – only he won’t reveal who it is.”
  • “‘As governor, I get to appoint the secretary of state. And I have a voting reform-minded individual who’s been traveling the nation and knows voting reform extremely well,’ Mastriano said on Bannon’s War Room last month. ‘That individual has agreed to be my secretary of state.’”
  • “The secretary of state — chosen by the governor in Pennsylvania rather than elected by voters — is in charge of overseeing election integrity. Mastriano — someone who advocated for overturning the 2020 presidential election, and who was outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection — said he plans to take full advantage of his appointment to help make Pennsylvanians reregister to vote. That move is illegal under the National Voter Registration Act.”

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