Pennsylvania Secretary of State Boockvar to step down after failure to advertise constitutional amendment

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Boockvar to step down after failure to advertise constitutional amendment

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar is stepping down from her position and as of Friday will no longer be part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration.

The decision comes after it was reported that Boockvar’s department failed to advertise a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution that would retroactively extend the timeline for sexual assault victims to file civil suits against their abusers. A press release from Wolf’s office said that due to this error, the amendment process must start over from scratch unless the state legislature passes a bill.

Boockvar, as the senior election official in the state, made national headlines in 2020, both as the official defendant in pre-election lawsuits related to election rules and as the source of updates during Pennsylvania’s ballot-counting process. Wolf made it clear that Boockvar’s pending departure is unrelated to the election, but is connected to the failure related to the amendment.

“This change at the Department of State has nothing to do with the administration of the 2020 election, which was fair and accurate,” Wolf said in a statement. “The delay caused by this human error will be heartbreaking for thousands of survivors of childhood sexual assault, advocates and legislators, and I join the Department of State in apologizing to you. I share your anger and frustration that this happened, and I stand with you in your fight for justice.”

Wolf said he would work to help the General Assembly pass a bill that would help victims in a similar fashion to what the amendment was aimed to achieve.

The governor, who claimed he did not know about the mistake until recently, recognized Boockvar for taking responsibility for the mistake.

“I’m extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished for the people of Pennsylvania,” said Secretary Boockvar. “I’ve 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 responsibility on behalf of the department.”