HARRISBURG – Keeping a promise he made to improve Pennsylvania’s election auditing process and ensure public trust in election results, Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) introduced legislation today that would establish a Pennsylvania Bureau of Election Audits under the office of the state’s Auditor General.
“Even a shred of uncertainty in the results of our elections is enough to shake the bedrock of what we stand for in this country,” Cutler said. “We must make strides to grow trust in our processes, and a thorough, independent audit of every election in our Commonwealth is a step toward ensuring the public’s trust.”
The bureau would be required to conduct result-confirming audits of each election in the Commonwealth, completed by the third Friday following the election.
The audits would comprehensively examine all future elections, looking at all aspects of the process and results, including equipment, absentee and mail-in ballots, performance audits of election systems at least every five years, and any other audit deemed necessary by the Bureau of Election Audits to ensure the public trust in the outcome of each election. Additionally, the bureau would be required to provide corrective action plans to address any errors or deficiencies discovered in the audit.
The bureau would be established with a new appropriation in the state budget of $3.1 million.
“Pennsylvanians rightly deserve and expect elections to be secure and accurate,” Cutler added. “An investment that ensures the public’s trust in our electoral process is worth every penny.”
The bureau would not look back at previous elections, and if the standing auditor general is running for re-election, or any other office, he or she would be required to appoint an independent auditor to oversee the bureau for that general or primary election.
The legislation will now be considered by the House State Government Committee.