As the Arizona election audit nears its end, one Republican lawmaker is preparing to take a critical swing state down the same path.
Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano may have just fired the first shots in a battle between the state Legislature and the counties that are refusing to cooperate with a potential audit.
In Arizona, the Republican-controlled state Senate clashed repeatedly with officials in Maricopa County before it was finally able to go forward with a forensic audit, the final results of which have yet to be released.
Mastriano, who traveled to Arizona this summer to observe the audit, took the first steps toward an audit in his own state last month, The Epoch Times reported. The lawmaker requested ballots and access to voting machines in three Pennsylvania counties: Tioga, York and Philadelphia.
The counties, which were given a July 31 deadline to comply, refused.
As far as Mastriano is concerned, that meant only one thing: It’s on.
“As soon as I get a quorum, we will have a meeting, we will vote on subpoenas, and let the fun begin,” he said last week, according to the Times.
After Mastriano made his requests in July, Pennsylvania’s acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid began issuing what may easily be described as threats to the counties concerned, warning that she would decertify any election equipment turned over to a third party.
She has since done so — Fulton County’s election systems were decertified after a third-party assessment of its machines was carried out.
Other counties were not willing to take this risk.
“We can’t be in a position where we don’t have the election machines because we have to run the next election. These are extremely expensive machines, and our position is we need to follow the direction that [Degraffenreid] has given us,” Tioga County Solicitor Christopher Gabriel said.
On July 30, Philadelphia County commissioners voted against compliance with Mastriano’s request, deferring to state and federal entities that have determined the 2020 presidential election was carried out without incident.
Democratic Commissioner Lisa Deeley asserted — somewhat ironically — that further scrutiny would place future elections at risk.
“Philadelphia County’s participation in your proposed analysis would be duplicative of extensive efforts already undertaken by the Philadelphia County Board of Elections, the Pennsylvania Department of State, state and federal courts, and your colleagues in the Pennsylvania State Senate. Participation could also impair our ability to operate fair and secure elections in Philadelphia,” she wrote in a letter to Mastriano.
The state senator has accused Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Degraffenreid of “trying to threaten and bully” Pennsylvania counties into refusing to cooperate with an audit.
Fulton County Commissioner Stuart Ulsh, a Republican, said the assessment in his county was conducted under strict and secure supervision, and alleged that officials from the Pennsylvania Department of State had asked him to remove the report from Fulton’s website.
“It makes you wonder what you’re trying to hide,” Ulsh said.
Pennsylvania’s executive branch fighting tooth and nail against Mastriano’s request doesn’t make the case for the integrity of the election any stronger.
As Gen. Michael Flynn noted in a recent Op-Ed for The Western Journal, Pennsylvania’s election data showed some very odd changes in voting patterns.
The 2020 election saw a significant increase in Republican voters, which is typically consistent with a subsequent Republican victory. Former President Donald Trump flipped the state in 2016, gained voters, and then lost Pennsylvania in 2020.
Maricopa County, which accounts for almost two-thirds of the votes cast in Arizona, hadn’t voted for a Democrat for president since 1948. That includes 1996, when Bob Dole became the first Republican to lose the state in nearly half a century and still took Maricopa.
Is it really so odd that lawmakers still have questions about the 2020 election? Is it really so dangerous to go looking for answers?
If Pennsylvania goes the way of Arizona, we may soon find out why so many Democrats are fighting so hard to prevent further scrutiny of a very unusual election.