PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A Republican state senator from the Gettysburg area who chairs a state Senate committee is asking selected counties to give up election data and equipment for what he calls a forensic audit.
It's a request some are rejecting, calling it a partisan sham audit.
Pennsylvania Sen. Doug Mastriano, who chairs the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, has already sent an eight-page memo to three counties -- Philadelphia, York and Tioga -- asking them to turn over pollbooks, election data and even equipment to his committee for a forensic audit.
"This is necessary as millions of Pennsylvanians have serious doubts about the accuracy of the 2020 General Election," says the Republican senator. "The case for a forensic investigation of the 2020 General Election is evident to any unbiased observer."
In an interview with KDKA political editor Jon Delano, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro calls this a sham audit, an attempt to overturn election results former President Donald Trump already challenged and lost in 85 courtrooms and an election already audited in Pennsylvania.
"After all the votes were tallied, by law here in Pennsylvania, two audits were required in the various counties," said Shapiro. "Those audits confirmed that Joe Biden won the election here in Pennsylvania by about 80,000 votes."
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald calls Mastriano an "insurrectionist" for taking part in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol to prevent the count of Electoral College votes.
Fitzgerald says Mastriano is doing former President Donald Trump's bidding while running for governor next year.
"You have a delusional former president, former candidate, who can never admit defeat ever and doesn't see reality. Unfortunately, you've got an insurrectionist senator who participated in the January 6 insurrection who is following this delusional leader down this rabbit hole," says Fitzgerald.
The audit seems to be patterned after the Arizona Republican audit of its presidential election now underway that Mastriano has visited.
Election officials here worry that if this election material is turned over to a partisan investigation, it will compromise the integrity and privacy of that material, says Shapiro, who is telling counties to ignore Mastriano.
"Any county elections personnel will tell you that once that machinery is turned over to a third party, that would mean they would have to go out and buy new equipment. That would cost these three counties alone millions and millions of dollars," says the Attorney General.
So far, Allegheny County, the state's second-largest county, has received no request from Mastriano for election data and equipment, but Fitzgerald says Allegheny County will not comply with a similar request.
"We'll certainly go to court. There have been enough audits. This is going to be an unfunded mandate that will cost the taxpayers of Allegheny County millions of dollars and potentially have the machines that we bought invalidated in which we can't use them again," says Fitzgerald.
"We've seen that in Arizona in which that's going to cost that state millions of dollars to follow again this delusional former president who lost and Pennsylvania rejected him in favor of Joe Biden. And you know what – we need to move on."
KDKA reached out to Mastriano multiple times, but no response yet, and no one answers phones at any of his three offices.
While Mastriano says his forensic audit will go a long way to restoring trust, his opponents call it politics at its worst.
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