- President Joe Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes in 2020.
- But state Republicans have faced pressure from pro-Trump activists to find evidence the race was "stolen."
- A Republican-led audit of the results in Fulton County did not uncover any fraud.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro filed a lawsuit on Thursday aimed at stopping a Republican effort to subpoena personal information about the state's more than nine million registered voters.
Earlier this month, Republicans, who control the Pennsylvania legislature, approved a subpoena demanding that the state hand over all voter records, including each voter's driver's license number, home address, and the last four digits of their Social Security number. That came after months of pressure from Republican activists and pro-Trump lawmakers, such as state Sen. Doug Mastriano, to conduct a "forensic audit" over false claims the 2020 election was rigged.
Democrats, including Gov. Tom Wolf, have cast the effort as a partisan fishing expedition. Senate Democrats filed their own lawsuit last week.
In a statement, Shapiro, who is also a Democrat, said handing over the data "would compromise the privacy of every Pennsylvania voter."
State Sen. Cris Dush, the Republican chairman of the committee that issued the subpoena, has portrayed the request for voter data as part of an effort to ensure election integrity.
"[T]he reason for requesting the last four digits of a voter's Social Security number or their driver license is because it is the best way to determine the accuracy of voter rolls and make sure there are not duplicate, doctored, or deceased voters," he said in a statement earlier this month.
But Thursday's lawsuit, filed in state court, argues voters' privacy is jeopardized by virtue of the Republicans' plan to hire a third party to analyze it.
That has raised concern that the information could fall into the hands of unscrupulous actors, with critics pointing to the partisan election review in Arizona, where a company called Cyber Ninjas was hired by state Senate Republicans to go over some 2.1 million ballots, despite having no experience conducting election audits. The company is led by a conspiracy theorist who asserted the 2020 election was "rigged" before getting the job.
The attorney general's office maintains that the effort to dig through Pennsylvania's voter rolls is merely an effort to "placate former President Trump and his political base and propagate his false allegations while avoiding the embarrassment that has resulted from previous efforts to provide evidence of voter fraud that does not exist."
A Republican-led effort to find evidence of fraud in Pennsylvania's Fulton County, for example, did not uncover anything of the sort, a GOP official there recently testified.
Dush did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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