News Release |

AFPI Joins Suit on Behalf of Pennsylvania Lawmakers to Block President and Governor from Unlawfully Weakening State Election Laws

February 20, 2024

The America First Policy Institute (AFPI) joined a lawsuit seeking to block unlawful acts from President Joe Biden, Governor Josh Shapiro, and Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt on behalf of more than 25 Pennsylvania state legislators. The suit seeks to block Executive Branch interference with Pennsylvania’s election laws, which, if left unchecked, will significantly impact the upcoming 2024 primary and general elections.

"The unbridled, unlawful overreach of the executive branch has, and continues to, harm all of us,” said State Rep. Dawn Keefer (PA-92). “I am optimistic that the court will grant our motion and enjoin the behavior of the executive officials to prevent further violations of our constitutional rights and restore the balance of power. We believe this injunction is necessary to also protect the voters of Pennsylvania from a repeat of the orchestrated chaos we endured in the last presidential election.”

“I’ve been looking for a few years for someone to take up the constitutional abuses of the executive and judicial branches in these cases,” said State Senator Cris Dush (PA-25). “This case sticks to the usurpation of The People’s rules committee (Legislators) authority. That abuse strikes at the basis of our constitutional republic and must be addressed.”

The three principal Defendants, President Joe Biden, Governor Josh Shapiro, and Pennsylvania Secretary of State Al Schmidt, have each unlawfully attempted to change existing laws in the Commonwealth through executive actions, without legislative input or approval.

President Biden, under Executive Order 14019, directed federal agencies to utilize federal resources to register potential Pennsylvania voters. The Executive Order requires these non-independent agencies to seek partnerships with partisan third-party organizations for voter registration and get out the vote activities.

Governor Shapiro, by gubernatorial edict, announced the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation began automatically registering voters unless a person “opts-out” notwithstanding the fact that the Pennsylvania legislature has affirmatively rejected Automatic Voter Registration numerous times and the existing law requires individuals to opt-in.

Secretary of State Schmidt has ordered county election officials to approve voter registration applications regardless of whether the applications are incomplete or contain conflicting information like an incorrect social security numbers or invalid driver’s license numbers.

The US Constitution grants particular rights to state legislators to determine the manner of elections, including the rules for voter registration.

“Pennsylvania’s voter registration laws, enacted by the constitutionally designated lawmakers, are the first line of defense in protecting the election system,” said Jessica Hart Steinmann, General Counsel at the America First Policy Institute and former Senior Official at the Department of Justice under President Donald J. Trump. “Executive officials have no authority to change the laws and may only enforce existing laws. This case seeks to protect the legislators’ rights to set the rules for elections and the integrity of the voting process for the people of Pennsylvania.”

AFPI is joining this action in collaboration with Erick Kaardal, Mohrman & Erickson, and the Election Research Institute. A copy of the lawsuit can be found here.

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