As 2019 comes to an end, the Pennsylvania Department of State is excited to share highlights from what's been a busy and productive year:
Leading Pennsylvania and Nationwide
On November 19, Kathy Boockvar was confirmed as the 33rd Secretary of the Commonwealth after serving as Acting Secretary since January.
This summer, Secretary Boockvar was appointed to serve as the co-chair of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Elections Committee. Through this committee, Secretary Boockvar works with her co-chair and Secretaries of State across the country to share best practices and provide the most secure and accessible elections to all eligible voters.
Secretary Boockvar also serves as a NASS representative on the Election Infrastructure Subsector Government Coordinating Council (EIS-GCC), a first of its kind collaboration among federal, state and local officials. The Council is focused on securing elections; working to formalize and improve information-sharing and communication protocols; and ensuring that timely threat information, support and resources reach all election officials so they can respond to threats as they emerge.
Securing Our Elections
The Department of State moved its election-day operations to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) facility for the first time for the May 21 primary. The move, which the department repeated for the November 5 general election, allowed state election experts, security professionals, department staff, call center volunteers and state emergency personnel to closely monitor developments throughout the day from one location with PEMA's state-of-the-art resources close at hand.
In September, Secretary Boockvar testified at a hearing on "Securing America's Elections" before the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. The hearing may be seen here, and Secretary Boockvar's written testimony may be found here.
Philadelphia and Mercer counties piloted the first risk-limiting audits in Pennsylvania following the November election. These highly effective audits are scientifically designed to check the accuracy of election outcomes. Read more about post-election audits.
By December 30, all 67 counties took action toward acquiring new voting systems that meet updated security, accessibility and auditability standards. Most counties used their new voting systems in the November 5 election. The remainder will deploy their new systems in the April 28, 2020, primary.
Registering Corporations & Charities
In 2019, the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations (BCCO) registered 10,660 charities and 379 professional fundraisers. Over the course of the year, military veterans saved a total of $353,750 as a result of fee exemptions for 3,118 new business filings.
Licensing Pennsylvania's Professionals
To better serve the licensing community, the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA) launched online Professional Licensing Guides in 2019 that provide applicants with complete information about the process and expected timeframes for receiving their licenses. Pennsylvania is one of only a handful of states across the country that provides full transparency into the licensure process from start to finish, along with recommendations for how to reduce delays. Each licensing board and commission will have their own navigator webpage with specific information for each license type.
Regulating State Athletics
The State Athletic Commission (SAC) regulates and monitors professional and amateur boxing, kickboxing, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and professional wrestling contests in the commonwealth. SAC also registers all athletic agents doing business in Pennsylvania.
In 2019, the commission was once again one of the most active athletic commissions in the country, having regulated 36 pro boxing events, 26 MMA events, 11 Kickboxing/Muay-tai events and more than 300 pro wrestling events. The SAC also sanctioned nine televised events that were broadcast on ShowTime, ESPN, DANZ and Fox Sports.
The Pennsylvania Department of State wishes all Pennsylvanians a happy, healthy new year. We look forward to continuing to serve you in 2020.