GOP Presses Absentee Voter Controversy After Murphy’s AG Announcement
By Laura Bonawits, Contributing Writer
Just after former Rep. Patrick Murphy announced a run for Pa. attorney general in 2012, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania didn’t waste much time to bring up a 2010 election controversy involving questionable absentee ballot applications.
“How can we trust Patrick Murphy to be the chief law enforcement office of the Commonwealth when he turned a blind eye to fraudulent activities occurring within his own Congressional campaign?” Chairman Rob Gleason said.
During the height of the race between Murphy and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick in late October, residents in the 8th congressional district received a mailing encouraging them to issue absentee voter applications because their voting participation was “in jeopardy.” The letter was accompanied with a prepaid envelope to be mailed to a P.O. Box of the “Voter Assistance Office,” a fictitious agency..
Murphy’s campaign manager, Tim Perisco, was one of the two individuals who had access to the post office box. Those applications were resent to the county Board of Elections, according to the conservative National Review.
The state Democratic Party sent the mailer in conjunction with the Murphy campaign to increase absentee voting. However, requesting that citizens send in voter absentee applications is not illegal, Politico reported.
This issue prompted more questionable behavior– this time from Republicans. The party challenged hundreds of ballots, mostly from Democrats. The election board permitted those with challenged ballots to vote in person, but especially in a tight race, Democrats expressed concern whether those with ballots pulled would even know to recast their vote.
At the very least, the GOP’s salvo this week echoes the message that Murphy’s campaign hopes to send: namely, that he’s a strong general election candidate who already has Republicans worried.
“Patrick Murphy’s manipulative tricks couldn’t camouflage his failed record, which includes rubber-stamped approval for President Obama’s stimulus and healthcare takeover,” Gleason said. “After his own constituents fired him from Congress, how can Pennsylvanians promote Patrick Murphy’s failed record and questionable judgment to the Attorney General’s office?”