Pennsylvania Democrat Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar announced this week that she is resigning after her department made a serious procedural error related to a constitutional amendment that would give legal recourse to adults who were sexually abused as children.
“Lawmakers learned Monday that a procedural mistake by the Department of State had imperiled the proposed amendment, which had cleared the House last week, and was slated for a Senate vote this week,” Penn Live reported. “The measure would give voters the power to decide whether the constitution should be amended to allow for a retroactive period for victims to seek civil court action against predators. Because of the error, the earliest the amendment can appear on a ballot would be 2023. Lawmakers and advocates had hoped voters would get the chance to approve the amendment this spring.”
Republican leaders in the statement slammed Boockvar and called for an investigation to be launched into the matter.
“It is disgraceful that Pennsylvania Secretary of State, Kathy Boockvar failed in her constitutional duty to advertise a proposed constitutional amendment for child sex abuse victims. Her dereliction of duty has failed these victims, failed voters who would have had a voice this spring, and failed the Commonwealth,” Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward said in a statement. “The reason the Legislature did a proposed Constitutional Amendment instead of a statutory change to begin with is that the General Assembly cannot retroactively eliminate an accrued defense without violating the remedies clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution. That hasn’t changed. The Secretary’s dereliction of duty has put us back to square one.”
“This disastrous scenario demands a full investigation. I will be asking our members to conduct their own hearings to determine how this could have happened. Kathy Boockvar’s resignation does not absolve her of the legal responsibilities she possessed,” the statement added. “The Senate is committed to working with the House of Representatives to ensure a path forward continues. Sadly, the work of so many people on such an important issue has now been derailed by incompetence.”
In a statement, Boockvar said that she would leave office at the end of this week and claimed that she has “always believed that accountability and leadership must be a cornerstone of public service.”
“While I only became aware of the mistake last week, and immediately took steps to alert the administration to the error, I accept the responsibility on behalf of the department,” she added.
“Boockvar became a national political figure after she sought to accept mail-in ballots three days after the Nov. 3 election, which the state Republican Party said usurped the power of the state legislature,” the New York Post reported. “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court sided with Boockvar, as did the US Supreme Court.”
Pennsylvania Democrat Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said in a press release that her resignation did not have anything to do with last year’s elections.
“This change at the Department of State has nothing to do with the administration of the 2020 election, which was fair and accurate,” he said.