House Republican leaders support on-schedule special election

Harold Hayes and K.C. Tomlinson are the candidates for state representative in the 18th District

House Republican leaders issued the following statement regarding special elections scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, in the 8th, 18th and 58th legislative districts:

“On Tuesday, the voters in three legislative districts will exercise their constitutional right and vote on new representatives in the House of Representatives. Our state, like communities around the world, is experiencing an unprecedented health care event, and we are all making sacrifices to try and slow the spread of the virus.

“However, the special election was already underway; all absentee ballots have been collected. As Speaker of the House Mike Turzai announced on Saturday, after consultation with the House parliamentarian, and recognizing the efforts by the Bucks County Board of Elections to protect voters and poll workers, the election there will happen as scheduled. The board’s call to encourage the public to bring their own pens, visit during non-peak voting hours, and increase all sanitizing procedures is the right move.

“As explained by House Parliamentarian Clancy Myer, issuing a new writ of election would present a new set of challenges. For example, all absentee ballots for the election have been collected. Any postponement of the election now would deem all those ballots invalid, thus disenfranchising absentee voters, including members of the military. Plus, a new writ would require the local parties to re-choose their candidates. If either party decided to change its candidates at this time, would that be a fair and honest election process?

“Finally, the electoral process must be free from unfair and outlandish interference. Any attempt by a public official to connect the special election scheduling decisions, and the procedures in place to protect the public from COVID-19, to an effort to influence the outcome of the election is just plain wrong. It is disrespectful to the candidates who have both worked diligently to try and earn the trust of their community, and it is hurtful to the election officials who are going above and beyond to make sure this election is safe and accurate.

“Most of all, it is harmful to the public. When an official of statewide stature attempts to accuse another official of interfering in an election, then voters on both sides of the political divide lose their trust in the institutions that exist to represent them.

“We look forward to the results of Tuesday’s special election, along with the results of primaries being held in Arizona, Ohio, Florida and Illinois. These are extraordinary times, but we believe America is stronger than the challenges we face.”