OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Pennsylvania Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano is preparing to kick things up a notch.
After visiting the election audit in Maricopa County, Arizona, Mastriano took the first steps toward an audit in his own state.
Mastriano requested ballots and access to voting machines in three Pennsylvania counties: Tioga, York, and Philadelphia.
These counties had until July 31 to comply and they refused.
Now, Mastriano says “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.
After Mastriano made his requests in July, Pennsylvania’s acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid warned that she would decertify any election equipment turned over to a third party.
Pennsylvania officials decertified voting machines in Fulton County after they were subjected to an audit following the 2020 presidential election.
In a letter to the Fulton County Board of Elections, Degraffenreid said that the Dominion voting machines would be decertified after being audited by software company Wake TSI.
The company was contracted following a request from Republican State Sen. Doug Mastriano and from Fulton County election officials, The Hill reported.
Fulton County officials allowed Wake TSI to access certain components of their election system, including their “election database, results files, and Windows system logs.”
The county also allowed the company to use a “system imaging tool to take complete hard drive images of these computers” and “complete images of two USB thumb drives” used to transfer election results.
Degraffenreid said she “had no choice” but to decertify the machines because she claims the Republican-led audit was “not transparent or bipartisan.”
The audit was ordered by Mastriano, who announced that he was going to launch a “forensic investigation of the 2020 General Election and 2021 Primary.”
In his announcement, Mastriano detailed his decision and why it is so important.
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. 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.
Today, as Chair of the Intergovernmental Operations Committee, I issued letters to several counties requesting information and materials needed to conduct a forensic investigation of the 2020 General Election and the 2021 Primary.
We have asked these counties to respond by July 31st with a plan to comply. The counties represent different geographical regions of Pennsylvania and differing political makeups. Some are Republican while others are Democrat, which means that this will be a balanced investigation.
Mastriano also detailed how he believes top officials in Pennsylvania may have skirted the rules or done things unethically in the election:
Additionally, in the weeks leading up to the election, the Department of State repeatedly altered the manner in which Pennsylvania’s election was conducted. Those who voted in person were held to a higher standard than those who mailed in their ballots. Signatures required for mail-in ballots were rendered meaningless as the PA Supreme Court ruled that ballots could not be rejected based on an analysis of the voter’s signature.
On September 17th, the PA Supreme Court ruled that counties had to count ballots received up to three days after Election Day. A week before the election, the Department of State told the U.S. Supreme Court that ballots received after 8 p.m. on November 3rd would be segregated. But the department changed the rules two days before the election and directed counties to canvass those ballots upon receipt. The U.S. Supreme Court had to step in and order the counties to segregate the ballots.
“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,” Mastriano said.
“A full forensic investigation is critically necessary for our Commonwealth for the sake of transparency and accountability. There is nothing to fear if there is nothing to hide. Those who have concerns about the integrity of the 2020 and 2021 elections will have those concerns investigated and hopefully addressed. Those who think that there was zero voter fraud, no irregularities, and that the elections were conducted perfectly will have the chance to be vindicated,” he added.