Pennsylvania election official to resign after failing to put constitutional amendment for sex abuse victims on the ballot2 min read

BY-ANSHUMAN SRIVASTAVA

Pennsylvania top election official will be resigning after the agency made a mistake that will delay a statewide vote on whether decades-old survivors of Sexual abuse should be able to sue the perpetrators and institutions that did not let the crime see the light of the day.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Monday that Secretary Kathy Boockvar, will resign on Feb. 5,2021.

The resignation is followed by the discovery that as required the Department of State did not advertise, a long-sought amendment to the state constitution that would open a  window for a two-year time period for litigation by survivors of child sexual abuse who have aged out of the statute of limitations.

This error would result in Pennsylvania unable to vote on such a change until the spring of the year 2023 at the earliest. It is a blow to the survivors who have fought for a window for nearly 20 years.

The two-year window was a prime recommendation made by the blistering 2018 report by a statewide grand jury that investigated the cover-up of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania. It is backed by the state’s community of survivors, who held vigils and few other events, three years ago in the Capitol during tense negotiations in the legislature about the best and most appropriate manner to handle the matter.

Boockvar said in a statement that she came to know of the error last week only and then immediately notified Wolf’s office. She still believed that accepting responsibility was the right thing to be done.

Adding to the statement she said that she always believed that leadership and accountability must be the cornerstone of public service

Jennifer Storm, the state’s onetime victim advocate who championed the two-year window alongside survivors in Pennsylvania, called the mistake “devastating.”

Boockvar’s agency was required to advertise the change every single time it was approved. Agency officials discovered last week that the Department of State, which looks after the elections, did not advertise the proposed ballot question when it was approved in the 2019-20 session., meaning that the entire process has to begin afresh.

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