Former Philadelphia election official who has spoken of receiving death threats for defending the city’s vote counting in 2020 against the lies of former President Donald Trump will be nominated for the top election administration post in Pennsylvania by the incoming Democratic governor, Josh Shapiro. This former official has told of enduring death threats for defending the city against the lies of former President Donald Trump.
The impending nomination of Al Schmidt to the position of secretary of state, which was revealed on Thursday by Shapiro, positions him to oversee what is anticipated to be a fiercely contested race in the crucial presidential battlefield in the year 2024. Ahead of Shapiro’s inauguration on January 17, Schmidt is the first Cabinet picks to be made public by the next governor.
Protecting elections and voting rights was a primary focus of Shapiro’s campaign, as he highlighted his intention to nominate a “pro-Democracy” secretary of state and his role, as attorney general, in combating efforts in court by Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Shapiro is running for the position of attorney general.
In a statement, Shapiro said that Schmidt has a “proven track record” of defending democracy, protecting voting rights, and standing up to extremism, even in the face of grave threats. “Al Schmidt has a proven track record of defending our democracy, protecting voting rights, and standing up to extremism,” Shapiro said.
Schmidt, who is 51 years old, is a Republican, which is consistent with Shapiro’s goal of forming a nonpartisan administration in Pennsylvania, which is a politically split state. Schmidt is both the president and chief executive officer of the Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization known as the Committee of Seventy. Schmidt served for ten years as a Republican elected to the three-person board that regulates elections in Philadelphia before he became a member of this organization a year ago. Before that, he worked for both the city and state Republican parties.
Schmidt will be one of 12 individuals to receive the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Joe Biden in a ceremony that will take place at the White House on Friday, the second anniversary of the rebellion that took place at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. This is the first time that Vice President Biden has bestowed the Distinguished Service Medal, which is the nation’s second-highest civilian honor.
“During the 2020 election, he kept the vote tally continuing in the face of criticism and efforts to reverse the election,” the White House stated. “He did this even though there were efforts to overthrow the election.” Confirmation from the Senate, which is now controlled by Republicans, is required to serve in the position of secretary of state.
It is a task that has grown in complexity with the advent of the state’s no-excuse mail-in voting law and conspiracy theorists inspired by Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him. The job entails overseeing how the state’s 67 counties run their elections, giving them guidance and assistance on how to manage it. The salary for the job is $165,000, and it involves giving the county guidance and assistance on how to manage it.
Additionally, the department is in charge of the administration of a lengthy list of professional licensing commissions, all of which report to the department. In the year 2020, Schmidt became the public face of Philadelphia’s drawn-out vote count as a result of President Trump and his campaign spreading lies and making repeated claims that “bad things happen in Philadelphia” to cast doubt on the validity of the election in the predominantly Democratic city. Trump was ultimately defeated by Biden in Pennsylvania, thanks in large part to Philadelphia’s support.
During the time that Schmidt claims to have gotten death threats against him and his family that were inspired by Trump and that he has referred to as “domestic terrorism,” there were very few Republicans who rushed to Schmidt’s defense if any at all. Instead, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and the vast majority of state lawmakers affiliated with the Republican Party of Pennsylvania worked to prevent Biden from receiving Pennsylvania’s electoral votes.
In the race for mayor of Philadelphia in 2020, no lawsuit, prosecutor, or election worker has been able to show evidence of significant voter fraud. In the immediate aftermath of the election, Schmidt testified in front of a committee of the United States Senate as well as a legislative committee that was investigating the assault on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Since then, he has established himself as a leading opponent of what he refers to as the “vicious cycle” of conspiracy theorists and politicians who promote disinformation about elections. He has said that this loop is responsible for the propagation of misinformation.
According to Schmidt, the lies caused deceived constituents to demand that politicians do something, which typically resulted to restrict voting rights and violent threats against election workers. In an interview, Schmidt stated that he had numerous goals for improving the electoral process in the state of Pennsylvania.
One revolves around “bigger, broader things,” such as making it as easy as possible for people to register and vote, and ensuring that those votes are counted — a nod to the fact that certain technicalities have resulted in the disqualification of thousands of mail-in ballots from legally eligible voters.
Schmidt remarked that “I believe that’s sort of a North Star in a lot of this and leads you when choosing how to better the political process for voters.” “I think that’s sort of a North Star in a lot of this,”
To be more specific, he stated that the law needs to be changed to allow counties to process mail-in ballots before an election day. This would allow for results to be produced sooner and avoid a prolonged post-election vote count, which Trump and his allies took advantage of in 2020 to spread false information about voter fraud.
Pennsylvania is one of the very few states that provide such a short amount of time to process such votes; yet, Republican lawmakers have refused to allow it without concessions from Democratic politicians on items like a tighter voter identification requirement. According to Schmidt, this places Pennsylvania at a “unique disadvantage” when compared to other states that report the results of mail-in ballots on election night.
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