Politics

Pennsylvania Sec. Of State: Don’t Comply With Gop State Senator’s Election Audit

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Pennsylvania’s Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid told all 67 counties in the state on Thursday not to comply with a request for “information and materials needed to conduct a forensic audit of the 2020 General Election,” made Wednesday by State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin), who chairs the Intergovernmental Operations Committee.

Mastriano’s initial request was sent to only three counties–Philadelphia (population 1.5 million), Tioga (population 40,000), and York (population 451,000). The population of the state is 12.8 million.

“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,” Mastriano wrote in an op-ed published on Wednesday:

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.

The Intergovernmental Operations Committee is a standing committee of the Pennsylvania State Senate with oversight and investigatory responsibilities regarding activities relating to or conducted between two or more governments or levels of government, including the administration of elections across the Commonwealth. As set forth in Pennsylvania Senate Rule 14 (d), each standing committee is empowered with the authority to inspect and investigate the books, records, papers, documents, data, operation, and physical plant of any public agency in this Commonwealth, including county boards of elections.

This is necessary as millions of Pennsylvanians have serious doubts about the accuracy of the 2020 General Election. A January poll from Muhlenberg University showed that 40% of Pennsylvania voters are not confident that the results of the 2020 Election accurately reflected how Pennsylvanians voted. Discounting or mocking their concerns is neither an answer nor proper in this constitutional republic.

On Thursday, the following day, Acting Secretary of State Degraffenreid issued a directive to County Boards of Elections in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania.

The Secretary of State’s office said in Directive 1 of 2021, issued on July 8:

County Boards of Elections shall not provide physical, electronic, or internal access to third parties seeking to copy and/or conduct an examination of state-certified electronic voting systems, or any components of such systems, including but not limited to: election management software and systems, tabulators, scanners, counters, automatic tabulating equipment, voting devices, servers, ballot marking devices, paper ballot or ballot card printers, portable memory media devices (thumb drives, flash drives and the like), and any other hardware, software or devices being used as part of the election management system.

Mastriano said in a statement released by his office Monday:

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On Friday, the Acting Secretary of State issued a veiled threat disguised as a “directive” to all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. This threat implied that any county who participates in a forensic investigation and allows access of electronic voting systems to “third party entities not directly involved in the conduct of elections” will have their machines automatically decertified and retired before the next election.

Even worse, the directive stated that counties would be forced to pay for new voting system equipment and prevented from seeking reimbursement from the State Department.

The General Assembly is in fact directly involved in the manner and conduct of elections across the Commonwealth as it is responsible for reforming and amending all election laws.

Nowhere in statute is the Secretary of State mandated to make a predictive finding, automatically retire voting systems after third party access, and force counties to pay for that decision.

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The authority of such a directive from the “Acting” Secretary is also in question as she has yet to go before the Senate to be officially confirmed.  The inclination of the Acting Secretary to act outside of the scope of her constitu… (Read more)

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