MASTRIANO OP-ED: Goodbye, Secretary Boockvar.

One of the most important tasks that I have as a State Senator is reviewing the Governor’s selections for state cabinet positions and confirming their appointments.

I do not take the responsibility lightly.

Although the Governor does have a say on who comprises his cabinet, it is up to the Senate to determine competence and fitness for office. The basic question is whether the Governor’s nominee will serve the people, or their political party. 

With this in mind, I was a “no” vote when Department of State Secretary Kathy Boockvar was confirmed in November of 2019.

Boockvar – who oversaw elections in PA – resigned Monday, due to an “error’ while performing her duties.  I wish that this was the exception rather than the rule as sadly, incompetence was prevalent during her tenure.

The revelation that Secretary Boockvar and this administration bungled a routine step in getting an historic constitutional amendment on the ballot this year is extremely appalling for victims and the legislators who worked to help them obtain justice.

The proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution would have provided a two-year window for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits against their abusers, if the original statute of limitations for the offenses had expired.

Amending the constitution was absolutely critical to ensuring victims obtained justice and that their efforts would withstand legal challenges.

Now, due to the ineptness of this secretary and administration, justice will be delayed even longer.

Secretary Boockvar’s resignation is absolutely warranted due to her dereliction of duty.

Sadly, incompetence was prevalent during her leadership.

On four occasions (twice in person and twice on Zoom), I expressed my concerns about election security directly to Boockvar, and specifically asked how she would address the issue. I never received a satisfactory answer.  Our worst fears were realized with her impressive incompetence in overseeing our elections last November.

As a result of those deficiencies – among others – I have been calling for her resignation since that time.

Pennsylvanians deserve a fair electoral process, where they are assured that every legal vote counts.  Her refusal to offer transparency as to what transpired during the 2020 General Elections, and rather, parrot democrat talking points is a disgrace to the state where the light of liberty was lit in 1776.

The Governor should have demanded a resignation numerous times following her unprofessional performance.

Why?

I raised many issues in November, following Boockvar’s inconsistent “guidance” to counties pertaining to election procedures, which resulted in confusion and a contested Senate election.

As the state’s top election supervisor, you would think that uniformity would be a priority. Unfortunately, that was not the case under Boockvar.

Hours before perhaps the most pivotal election in our history, Boockvar sent out new guidance to counties that created confusion and disorder. According to the Patriot News, she told the Supreme Court that mail-in ballots received after the November 3 election would be set aside, pending an appeal to nullify ballots collected in the days after the election.

Subsequently, the Secretary told counties to tabulate the ballots as quickly as possible, co-mingling ballots received by Election Day with those received after. There was no clarity, whatsoever.

In fact, some Pennsylvania counties counted mail-in or absentee ballots while other counties followed other procedures. Some counties contacted voters who made errors on their mail-in or absentee ballot while other counties did not give voters the opportunity to correct a mistake…and placed their vote and voice in jeopardy.

It is regretful that Pennsylvanians no longer feel secure in casting their vote. After serving our nation for three decades defending this right, I was astonished when Boockvar could never provide me with a clear and concise answer regarding electoral integrity.

The nucleus of any free society is confidence that each citizen’s vote will count. Boockvar neither had neither a plan, nor any idea to alleviate my concerns about her fitness for office.

Nothing is more crucial to Americans than confidence that our voices will be heard through voting. 

Boockvar was unfit for the task.

It is my hope that our next State Department Secretary possesses the leadership qualities necessary to restore confidence in our elections.

Senator Doug Mastriano represents the Pennsylvania 33rd Senate District, which includes all of Adams County, and portions of Franklin, Cumberland and York counties.