Following a headline-grabbing independent audit of the November presidential election results in Maricopa County, Arizona, it appears likely that a similar effort will be mounted in Pennsylvania.
Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano recently requested certain “information and materials” from three counties in that state for the purposes of a “forensic investigation.”
“To restore trust in our system”
According to the Washington Examiner, that effort could lead to a broader probe if any instances of fraud or irregularities are uncovered.
The news could represent a game-changer for those who still harbor suspicions about the outcome of November’s election, though it is also fueling backlash from critics of Mastriano and the notion of conducting post-election audits.
In a post uploaded to his official website, the state senator revealed the rationale behind his call for information. In his capacity as the chair of the Pennsylvania Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, he insisted that his pursuit of a forensic audit of the selected counties — Philadelphia, Tiago, and York — is completely justified.
“A forensic investigation of our election results and processes for the 2020 General Election and the 2021 Primary will go a long way to restore trust in our system,” Mastriano wrote. “Voting is the fundamental right of all citizens. We should continually look for ways to improve the voting process to ensure every voice is heard.”
He went on to note the diverse geographical and political makeup of the selected counties and cited several reasons why “millions” of Pennsylvanians still question the accuracy of the election.
“For the sake of transparency and accountability”
Among the specific concerns that Mastriano referenced was a surge in absentee voting, lax rules on signature verification, and last-minute rule changes made at the executive level in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“It would defy logic to assume that an election with the kinds of drastic changes we saw in 2020 was run perfectly with zero errors or fraud,” he declared.
Mastriano argued that further investigation “is critically necessary for our Commonwealth for the sake of transparency and accountability,” asserting: “There is nothing to fear if there is nothing to hide.”
Of course, his critics have accused him of attempting to curry favor with Trump ahead of a possible gubernatorial bid by echoing the former president’s concerns about voter fraud.
Nevertheless, his proposed audit could help settle a lingering debate over the integrity of U.S. elections.