Former President Donald Trump's lie that the 2020 election was "stolen" from him by Democrats engaging in widespread election fraud continues to erode Republican voters' faith in the American elections process, despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud (as confirmed by Trump's own Justice Department).
A partisan audit of Maricopa County, Arizona's votes, forced by the state's Republican legislature, has been marred by conspiracy theories and partisan grandstanding. Though the long-delayed report of the audit's results has yet to be released, it's inspired other states with Republican legislatures to launch audits of their own.
Pennsylvania's Republican legislature doubled down on the Republican crusade against public trust in democracy when the state's Senate Intergovernmental Affairs committee issued more than a dozen subpoenas seeking voters' personal information, including names, drivers' license numbers, birth dates, and even partial social security numbers.
The subpoenas were issued under the guise of a "forensic investigation," but the committee's minority leader, State Senator Jay Costa, blasted the development:
"Senate Democrats, going forward, intend to take legal action against this gross abuse of power by filing a lawsuit, challenging in the courts, and to ask the courts to declare the Senate Republicans' actions in violation of separation of power, as well as declaring that they had no authority to issue these subpoenas."
President Joe Biden won the state by more than 80 thousand votes, and multiple court cases only reinforced the validity of his victory.
The committee's efforts were universally criticized.
American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Marian K. Schneider expressed privacy concerns to the New York Times, saying:
"That's a really bad idea to have private information floating around in a Senate caucus, and it's really not clear how the data is going to be used, who's going to be looking at it, who can have access, how it's going to be secured. And it's unclear to me why they even need the personally identifying information."
Others expressed similar concerns.
Democrats in the state have vowed to seek legal action.