Boockvar Out As PA State Department Head After Constitutional Error

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar’s last day in her position will be February 5.

Boockvar, who is a Bucks County resident, is stepping down following an error involving a proposed constitutional amendment. Boockvar lives in Doylestown and is married to Common Pleas Judge Jordan Yeager.

The constitutional amendment would have retroactively extended the window for victims to take legal action against abusers in civil court. It first passed in the state House in November 2019 as House Bill 963.

In PA, the constitutional amendment process requires the Department of State to advertise the amendment in newspapers. These advertisements must appear in two newspapers in each county for three months prior to the upcoming general election.

This “did not occur” in the most recent 2020 election cycle. A statement from the Department of State includes more details.

“Proposed constitutional amendments must pass in two consecutive sessions of the state legislature, after which the proposal is put to the voters in a statewide referendum. The General Assembly was set to begin the process for second passage of the amendment this week. In preparing for the potential passage, DOS staff noticed late last week that the amendment was not previously advertised.”

“I’ve always believed that accountability and leadership must be a cornerstone of public service,” said Boockvar. “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.”

Governor Tom Wolf thanked Boockvar for her service. He added the change had no relation to the 2020 election.

“The delay caused by this human error will be heartbreaking for thousands of survivors of childhood sexual assault, advocates and legislators,” said Governor Tom Wolf, “and I join the Department of State in apologizing to you.”

Virginia Degraffenreid. Photo via PA DoS.

Boockvar served two years as head of the Department of State.

In her place, Wolf has appointed Veronica Degraffenreid as acting secretary. Her bio on the DoS website calls her “new to Pennsylvania.”

Degraffenreid most recently worked with PA as a Special Advisor on Election Modernization. Previously, she spent six years as Director of Election Operations for the North Carolina State Board of Elections.