Top Pennsylvania Senator Says He Supports Election Audit
“I support the call for an election audit, in order to answer any lingering questions that still remain about the fairness of the 2020 elections in Pennsylvania. This is the best path forward to address the legitimate concerns of the large majority of my constituents who voted to reelect President [Donald] Trump, as well as all Pennsylvanians,” state Sen. David Argall, a Republican who chairs the Pennsylvania Senate’s State Government Committee, told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.
“This is just one of many election reform efforts which I hope to see approved here in the next few weeks,” he added.
Argall had earlier said he was reviewing the pros and cons of a potential audit.
A spokesman for the senator declined to say whether he had spoken with state Sens. Doug Mastriano or Cris Dush, who recently returned from touring the forensic audit taking place in Maricopa County, Arizona.
Both Mastriano and Dush support an audit in Pennsylvania.
The Arizona audit started after an Arizona Senate panel issued subpoenas for election equipment and ballots.
Because Republicans control the Pennsylvania Legislature, the state Senate’s State Government Committee has seven Republicans and four Democrats. Mastriano and Dush are two of the GOP members.
“This was the most impressive audit I’ve ever seen. This level of voter integrity here, of forensically analyzing ballots, it’s all science, it’s not subjective at all. It’s going through every ballot and seeing if ballots were thrown on the copy machine and they could tell that forensically,” Mastriano told supporters in a Facebook Live video this week.
“The people overwhelmingly want an audit. I think just a county or two would do. My preference would be a Democrat and a Republican County, and let the chips fall where they may,” he added.
Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 General Election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Ariz., on May 6, 2021. (Matt York/Pool/AP Photo)
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives in November 2020 approved a resolution that called for the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, a bipartisan committee, to conduct an audit or contract with an outside firm to carry one out.
The resolution said that there were “a litany of inconsistencies” in the election stemming from orders and guidance, such as some counties not segregating ballots that were received after Election Day.
After the resolution was approved, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee voted 2-1 against performing an audit.
State Rep. Jake Wheatley, who joined state Sen. Jim Brewster in voting against conducting an audit, told a meeting before the vote that an audit would be a waste of time, considering the Pennsylvania Department of State planned to do an election review.
“I’m at a loss as to what the purpose of the resolution is and why it’s even necessary, if the work’s going to be done,” added Brewster.
Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Mensch, a Republican, voted yes. Pennsylvania Rep. Stephen Barrar, a Republican who later retired, missed the vote. A tie vote would have failed.
Pennsylvania House State Government Chairman Seth Grove, a Republican, mentioned the vote this week before adding:
“The PA House of Representatives will not be authorizing any further audits on any previous election. We are focused on fixing our broken election law to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”
Mensch in April introduced legislation that would require Pennsylvania’s auditor general to perform an audit of ballots cast in the 2020 election. Argall referenced the bill while speaking to The Associated Press.
“There’s an enormous amount of election-related bills pending for the month of June, and this is one of them,” Argall said.
The Pennsylvania Department of State later carried out what was described as a statewide risk-limiting audit pilot, which featured a review of over 45,000 randomly-selected ballots. Pennsylvania’s former Secretary of State, Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat, said in February that the audit showed “strong evidence” that the ballot count was correct.
An election assessment was recently completed in Fulton County, Pennsylvania. Wake Technology Services Inc., a firm involved in the Maricopa County audit, performed the assessment, which found errors in ballot scanning and four other issues.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf was among the Democrats this week condemning efforts to do another audit.
“What they’re calling for isn’t an ‘audit.’ It’s a taxpayer-funded disinformation campaign and a disgrace to democracy,” Wolf said in a Twitter post. “Pennsylvania had a free and secure election. That’s a fact. Pennsylvanians deserve better from their elected officials.”