HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/KDKA) — Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday said it is a "disgrace to democracy" that a Republican state lawmaker is trying to launch what he calls a "forensic investigation" of Pennsylvania's 2020 presidential election, similar to what is happening in Arizona.
Wolf, a Democrat, said on Twitter that the "sham election audit" being attempted by Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano is also a "profound waste of time and taxpayer money," in addition to being a disgrace.
Wolf's administration has discouraged counties from cooperating, saying they risk decertifying their voting machines and costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
Also Thursday, Democratic state senators wrote to officials in Philadelphia and two counties to tell them that they should not comply with Mastriano's requests.
The four Democratic members of the committee chaired by Mastriano said in the letter that elections are not in the purview of the Intergovernmental Operations Committee.
Mastriano on Wednesday issued letters to Philadelphia and York and Tioga counties, giving officials there a sweeping request for access to documents and equipment, with the threat of subpoenas for holdouts who do not respond affirmatively by July's end.
Trump has persistently claimed the 2020 election was rigged against him, and pressured Republican lawmakers in states he lost narrowly to conduct an audit, as is happening in Arizona.
The Department of State issued this response to any audit:
"The Department of State encourages counties to refuse to participate in any sham review of past elections that would require counties to violate the trust of their voters and ignore their statutory duty to protect the chain of custody of their ballots and voting equipment. The Department stands ready to assist counties in upholding their statutory duty to protect the security and integrity of their election machines and systems. Further, we will direct the counties that, if they turn over voting machines or scanners, they should be prepared to replace that brand-new, expensive equipment before any future elections. When the Secretary certifies voting systems, she certifies that they can be secured from outside intrusion. Such a 'forensic' exercise as that described by the senator would nullify that assurance.
"Additionally, the federal government has designated voting equipment as protected infrastructure and, as such, there should be no expectation that anyone without the necessary security clearance would be afforded the kind of access requested here.
"We already have seen systems compromised in Fulton County and in the state of Arizona. In both cases, the politically motivated reviews turned up absolutely no evidence of any fraud or discrepancies. Those partisan exercises did, however, prove to be very costly for local officials and taxpayers when election administrators were forced to lease or purchase replacement equipment.
"Pennsylvania counties, despite a convergence of difficult circumstances, ran a free, fair, and accurate election in 2020. The majority of Pennsylvanians – and Americans – are satisfied with that truth.
"And yet there continue to be similar moves to conduct reviews in other states, led by a very small group of bad actors, who are not trying to allay election mistrust. They are feeding it for their own purposes, and in the process impugning the integrity of the county and local election officials we rely on to conduct elections, and leaving them to find millions to pay for the new equipment which would be needed if they comply.
"We will oppose any attempt to disrupt our electoral process and undermine our elections at every step and with every legal avenue available."
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