A Republican state senator and Trump ally on Wednesday requested election data from several Pennsylvania counties as the first step in a “forensic investigation” of the 2020 election and last spring’s primary, saying millions of Pennsylvanians have “serious doubts” about the accuracy of President Biden’s win there.
Sen. Doug Mastriano of Franklin County, chair of the state Senate’s Intergovernmental Operations Committee, said the requested information from unspecified Republican and Democratic counties would “go a long way to restore trust in our system.” He gave the unnamed counties until July 31 to respond.
But top state Senate Democrats asked Republican leaders to put a stop to what they called Mr. Mastriano‘s “political, misguided farce,” arguing that his committee lacks the authority to investigate elections.
“He is corrupting the committee process and politicizing it for the whims of former President Donald Trump,” wrote state Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa and Democratic Whip Anthony Williams. “This is nothing more than an attempt to appease disgruntled supporters of former President Donald Trump and serve as a campaign vehicle for Sen. Mastriano to advance his run for governor.”
They said the state’s 2020 election is “settled and certified.” They also said that 86 judges have rejected Mr. Trump’s challenges of the election results.
Mr. Trump is pushing for election audits in Pennsylvania and other battleground states where he lost to Mr. Biden.
“Election reform must happen in swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Arizona where voters have lost confidence in their electoral process,” Mr. Trump said in a statement Tuesday.
“The Secretary of State in Pennsylvania allowed 21,000 deceased registrants (dead people) to remain on the voter rolls for the 2020 presidential election — a total disgrace! Republicans in state Legislatures must be smart, get tough, and pass real election reform in order to fight back against these Radical Left Democrats. If they don’t, they’ll steal it again in 2022 and 2024, and further DESTROY our country!”
Mr. Mastriano, who toured the Republican-ordered election audit process recently in Maricopa County, Arizona, said his committee has “oversight and investigatory responsibilities” for statewide elections. He said he‘s not seeking to change the outcome of the presidential election in Pennsylvania.
“This investigation is not about overturning the results of either election,” Mr. Mastriano said in a statement. “The goals are to restore faith in the integrity of our system, confirm the effectiveness of existing legislation on the governance of elections, and identify areas for legislative reform.”
York County, a Republican bastion, is one county that received the request from Mr. Mastriano.
Mr. Mastriano led a private briefing last week for GOP state senators on his plan and sought advice from a law firm about Senate Republicans using private money for the effort.
He said the investigation is needed to check on the accuracy of the 2.7 million mail-in ballots that were used in the 2020 election due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many of these ballots were counted at offsite locations with little outside observation or oversight,” Mr. Mastriano said. “Furthermore, mail ballots without signature verification were permitted to be counted across the Commonwealth. 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.”
The Democratic leaders said they have “grave concerns” about Mr. Mastriano‘s ability and motives to lead such a probe. They cited his participation in the pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
“He coordinated and provided transportation for participants to the January 6 attempted interference with the counting and certification of the Electoral College vote — that vote being required by the United States Constitution and federal law,” Mr. Costa and Mr. Williams wrote. “His further participation in the events at the U.S Capitol on January 6, 2021, have never been investigated. He instigated an election audit in Fulton County [Pennsylvania] by a company that prior to that had no experience in election audits. That audit was cited as support for the audit of election results in Maricopa County, Arizona, which Senator Mastriano toured. This does not appear to be a coincidence.”
Philadelphia County also received a request for election data from Mr. Mastriano, as did Tioga County in the state’s rural northern tier, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.