HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania state senator who has helped spread former President Donald Trump’s falsehoods about fraud in last year’s presidential election said Wednesday that he has asked several counties to submit to a “forensic investigation” of the 2020 election and May’s primary election.
Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, said in a statement that, as chair of the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, he issued letters to several counties, requesting “information and materials needed to conduct a forensic investigation of the 2020 General Election and the 2021 Primary.”
Counties were asked to respond by July 31 “with a plan to comply,” he wrote. Mastriano did not name the counties, but York County confirmed Wednesday that it received a letter.
Mastriano could theoretically issue subpoenas to hold out counties with a majority vote of his committee. The Democratic bastions of Philadelphia and Allegheny County, home to Pittsburgh, could be prime targets.
Trump has applied pressure to Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania to conduct an Arizona-style audit, as he has in other states he lost narrowly.
“These counties should refuse to participate in this partisan fishing expedition. This “audit” could risk decertifying the counties’ voting machines, costing county taxpayers millions of dollars,” Pennsylvania Attorney General, Josh Shapiro said, in a press release.
Right now this information is being requested voluntarily but should subpoenas be issued, you can expect our office to do everything to protect the Commonwealth, its voters and the free, fair election that was held in Pennsylvania,” Shapiro continued.
In Arizona, the state Senate used its subpoena power to take possession of more than 2 million ballots and the machines that counted them, along with computer data.
The Associated Press reported Friday that Mastriano led a private briefing last week for Republican senators on his plan and solicited legal advice from a Philadelphia-based law firm about the Senate Republican caucus using private money to finance consultants and lawyers.
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No county election board, prosecutor or state official has raised concern over any sort of widespread election fraud in November’s election in Pennsylvania.
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