Heading into Election Day, DAs Focus on Safety and Election Integrity

November 2, 2020

Pennsylvania DAs prepared for 2020 electionAcross Pennsylvania, law enforcement officials at all levels have made historic preparations to ensure the 2020 election is free from fraud, interference, and intimidation.

We want Pennsylvanians to know that any concerns should first be reported to the local Judge of Elections at their polling place and by calling the Department of State’s Hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772).

Your District Attorneys are also prepared for any issues that may arise before, during or after Election Day. As part of those efforts, the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and the Office of Attorney General worked together to compile legal guidance related to Election Code violations. That guidance was provided to Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. In addition, the Office of Attorney General’s Election Protection Task Force will work with local, state and federal law enforcement partners to ensure Pennsylvanians’ right to a free and fair election is protected.

“Free and fair elections are the foundation of our democracy,” said PDAA President and Snyder County District Attorney Michael Piecuch. “This collaboration will help ensure the continuation of a lawful, peaceful process where every vote counts.”

At the local level, district attorneys are coordinating with their county commissioners, putting security plans in place, and addressing any issues should they arise. I want to share some examples of how district attorneys and law enforcement are doing their part:

  • York County District Attorney Dave Sunday joined the county’s police chiefs to encourage the public to respect the rights of others throughout the election process.
  • In Delaware County, First Assistant District Attorney Tanner Rouse reminded citizens, “Stay calm, stay focused, relax. The people you are going to be interacting with on Election Day are your neighbors.”
  • The Clinton County District Attorney Tweeted this statement noting his office is working closely with the Clinton County Office of Voter Registration to ensure that any election law complaint is fully investigated.
  • In Lancaster County, District Attorney Heather Adams said voter intimidation and violence will not be tolerated.
  • The Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office has assembled a team of assistant district attorneys and detectives to immediately investigate any claims of fraud or intimidation.
  • “We’ve been preparing for several months for this,” said Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone regarding his office’s preparation for any complaints, including voter intimidation, on Election Day.
  • And the Pennsylvania State Police issued this bulletin regarding poll watchers and disinformation campaigns.

“Our office is looking forward to working with Attorney General Shapiro to protect the sanctity of every vote, to ensure that our voters feel safe and secure in exercising their Constitutional rights, and to avoid any appearance that any office has a political motivation in carrying out its duties under the law,” said Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis.

Heading into Election Day, we here at PDAA echo DA Salavantis’ comments. We were proud to be part of these preparations and look forward to an Election Day where everyone exercises their right to vote in the spirit of civility and faith in the process.

Lindsay Vaughan is executive director for the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. She can be reached at lvaughan@pdaa.org.