Shapiro launches Election Threats Task Force

With the countdown calendar just under 250 days, Gov. Josh Shapiro has put plans into motion to ensure that the upcoming elections will proceed as smoothly as possible.

The governor, with Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt, announced the establishment of the Pennsylvania Election Threats Task Force, dedicated to the coordination of federal state and local election, security and law enforcement entities in a comprehensive effort to eliminate threats to a free, fair and just election.

“Pennsylvania is the birthplace of American democracy, and we are working to continue defending Pennsylvanians’ fundamental freedoms and ensure we have a free, fair, safe, secure election this November,” Shapiro said. “As attorney general, I brought law enforcement leaders at every level together to ensure our elections remained free from fraud, interference and intimidation here in Pennsylvania – and I made a commitment to continuing that work as governor.”

The task force is comprised of the Department of State, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Department of Homeland Security and Pennsylvania National Guard, among others.

“We take our responsibility as stewards of our democracy seriously,” Shapiro said. “The Election Threats Task Force will ensure all levels of government are working together to combat misinformation, safeguard the rights of every citizen and ensure this election is safe, secure, free and fair.”

Pennsylvania has prioritized election integrity in recent years with state-of-the-art voting systems that include paper-auditing capabilities, mail-in voting options and strengthened election administration.

“In recent years, we’ve seen bad-faith actors attempt to exploit these changes by spreading lies and baseless conspiracy theories, and attempting to delegitimize our safe, secure and accurate elections,” Schmidt said. “This task force has been working together to develop and coordinate plans to combat this dangerous misinformation and continue providing all eligible voters with accurate, trusted election information. Together with Gov. Shapiro and our local, state and federal partners, we will continue working to ensure we have another free and fair, safe and secure election.”

The Wolf administration convened an Inter-Agency Election Preparedness and Security Workgroup in 2018, which met on a regular basis and played a role in coordinating election preparedness efforts through the beginning of the Shapiro administration.

The Election Threats Task Force builds on that foundation to include additional law enforcement partners.

“Every eligible Pennsylvania voter has the right to cast their vote safely and securely,” said Pennsylvania State Police Col. Christopher Paris. “The Pennsylvania State Police is committed to working with our partners to ensure voters are safe and any threats are mitigated.”

For more information about election security in Pennsylvania, visit the Department of State’s website, ••