News & Politics

Pennsylvania GOP Slams Secretary of State for Releasing Contact Info of Electors

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives the thumbs-up during a campaign rally at the Lackawanna College Student Union in downtown Scranton, Pa., Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. (Butch Comegys/The Times & Tribune via AP)

Pennsylvania Republicans are livid with the secretary of state’s office for releasing not only the names of the state’s electors, but also their home addresses and phone numbers.

The GOP is calling the move “unprecedented.” Going by recent history, it certainly is. Previously, the secretary of state’s office would release the names and home counties of electors. Now all of a sudden, Democratic Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés discovered a way to release the personal contact information of electors, despite the fact the state had never done so previously.

Cortés’s office claims they were just following the law on public documents. The GOP isn’t buying it.

PennLive:

PennLive spoke to an elector said she received 18,000 emails, 130 letters and postcards and numerous phone calls after her address and phone number was released. She said she hasn’t attempted to read all the emails, but most were urging her to cast her vote for Hillary Clinton.

The elector asked not to be identified, out of fear of further harassment.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review interviewed two other electors — Craig Stewart, of Cumberland County, and Ash Khare of Warren County — who each said they had also received thousands of emails.

“Most of the emails that I read were sincere and respectful,” Stewart told the Tribune-Review, “but I don’t even bother reading them anymore. Who can read 20,000 emails?”

“Previously, the Pennsylvania Department of State redacted everything except for names for these types of requests,” said state GOP spokeswoman Megan Sweeney.

“The Department of State’s actions are directly responsible for the unprecedented harassment and potential endangering of Pennsylvania’s electors by people who want the electors to ignore the will of the people.”

Lawyers from the state Republican Party and Trump’s campaign are exploring their legal options, Sweeney said.

Pennsylvania has 20 Electoral College electors. State parties select their 20 electors months before the election and submit them to the Department of State. When voters voted for Trump, they were actually voting for his slate of electors, who will gather Dec. 19 at the capitol to cast their votes for president in the state’s Electoral College.

There is no U.S. Constitutional provision or federal law that requires electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in their states.

Murren noted that the department had posted only the names and home counties of the electors on its website. However, she said, under state election law, the list of electors is a public document. The department followed the Election Code requirements by releasing the list, upon request, to registered voters, she said.

But the state Republican Party is not having it.

“These electors were never on the ballot, nor were they ever candidates,” Sweeney said. “Nevertheless, Governor Tom Wolf’s Department of State chose to break with precedent and release the phone numbers and home addresses of Pennsylvania’s twenty electors.”

I doubt very much that 20,000 concerned Pennsylvania voters actually requested the full records, which makes [Department of State spokeswoman Wanda] Murren out to be a liar. Given the volume of emails, you’d have to think that a couple of Democratic activists got  hold of the list with electors’ addresses and phone numbers, and posted them on a Democratic website. It’s probable only a small percentage of the emails were from Pennsylvania residents. It’s equally probable that there was an organized email campaign targeting the electors.

The loss to Donald Trump by Hillary Clinton has totally unhinged the Democrats. Almost everything they claim to be scared about with Trump, they are doing themselves.

All I know is that politics — already a chore to write about — will become even more depressing over the next four years.