Pennsylvania court allows lawsuit to decertify Northampton County voting machines to move forward | Peter Hall/The Morning Call

A Pennsylvania judge ruled a lawsuit to block the use of electronic voting machines used in Northampton County and elsewhere can move forward. Commonwealth Court Judge Kevin P. Brobson on Monday rejected arguments by the state’s top election official that election security advocates and more than a dozen Pennsylvania voters lacked standing and had failed to make valid claims about the ExpressVote XL voting machines used in Northampton and Philadelphia counties. The National Election Defense Coalition and Citizens for Better Elections filed a petition in January 2020 seeking a preliminary injunction requiring the state to decertify the ExpressVote XL electronic voting system for the primary and general election. It cited information from voters about security concerns and trouble using the machines and a “no confidence” vote by the Northampton County elections board, and said there is “no way to restore voters’ trust in the machines.” Attorney Ron Fein, who represents the petitioners, said his clients look forward to reviewing documents and interviewing potential witnesses in the case. “The court rejected every one of the secretary of state’s arguments,” Fein said. “The plaintiffs look forward to conducting discovery, examining the ExpressVote XL machine and presenting evidence it never should have been certified at trial.” A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of State said it had no comment on the decision. Brobson, who authored the opinion for the three-judge panel, is the Republican candidate for a seat on the state Supreme Court this November.

Full Article: Northampton County voting machine lawsuit can move forward – The Morning Call

Pennsylvania Republican lawsuits over Act 77 election law have Democrats quietly worried | Jonathan Lai/Philadelphia Inquirer

Two years ago this month, Republicans and Democrats in Harrisburg reached a deal on the most significant changes to Pennsylvania election law in decades — including greatly expanded mail voting. But now, a year after a presidential race in which Donald Trump’s lies about mail voting and Pennsylvania’s results sowed distrust of the electoral system among his supporters, some Republicans are intensifying efforts to undo a law their party almost universally supported. The law known as Act 77 is facing perhaps its most serious court challenges yet. Republicans filed two lawsuits this summer saying it violates the state constitution. Democrats had hoped courts would quickly throw them out, but the cases have instead been combined and continue to move forward. The national and state Democratic Party organizations asked Friday to join the litigation in defense of Act 77. During oral arguments in one case, a panel of judges aggressively questioned lawyers representing the state, in what one Democratic observer described as “skepticism and hostility.” The hearing raised fears among Democrats that the state court might soon rule against the law. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration would almost certainly appeal a loss to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where a majority-Democratic bench has generally sided with the state on election issues. But while few believe the Supreme Court would ultimately throw out Act 77, some Democrats and good-government advocates worry that even a temporary loss could create significant challenges.

Full Article: Pennsylvania Republican lawsuits over Act 77 election law have Democrats quietly worried

Pennsylvania GOP wants personal voter data to root out fraud, but state already uses a more secure system | Danielle Ohl/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pennsylvania has spent nearly half a million dollars over the past six years to find and remove outdated registrations from its voter database, a process Senate Republicans now want to take up in a partisan-driven review at added expense to taxpayers. In the weeks since approving a far-reaching subpoena seeking access to sensitive voter information, GOP lawmakers in favor of the effort have claimed the vast troves of data are necessary to identify voters who shouldn’t have cast a ballot in either the November 2020 or May 2021 elections. The senators in charge of the investigation have not defined how they will prove a voter is “illegal” if they suspect fraud, nor have they acknowledged that Pennsylvania has already spent $403,904 for access to a sophisticated voter list maintenance program that regularly performs the analysis Republicans say they are seeking. Senate Republicans, in justifying the investigation, have claimed there is a need to investigate the “validity” of ballots cast during the previous elections, despite several court cases that found no evidence of widespread fraud. They have often pointed to a 2019 auditor general report identifying potential birthdate inaccuracies and duplicate information in fewer than 1% of voter registrations. The Department of State at the time pushed back on the auditor general’s analysis, saying it had “incorrectly flagged thousands of records as potential concerns.”

Full Article: GOP wants personal voter data to root out fraud, but Pa. already uses a more secure system | TribLIVE.com

Pennsylvania Republican made a big claim to defend the party’s election review. There’s no evidence for it. | Jonathan Lai and Andrew Seidman/Philadelphia Inquirer

Days after Pennsylvania Republicans subpoenaed Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration for millions of voters’ personal information, including the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, the head of the Senate GOP acknowledged the request was “intrusive.” But, Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward said, the subpoena simply demanded the same records the administration had already disclosed to third parties. Not only that, but those outside groups could have compromised the voter rolls, she suggested last month: “We don’t know what information they could add to the system. We don’t know what information they could take from the system.” It was a striking claim. Trump supporters have been pushing similar claims for months, and the Republican senator leading the party’s new election review has said lawmakers will be “digging into” the issue. But there’s no evidence to support it. A top Pennsylvania elections official said in sworn testimony earlier this year that outside groups had no such access. House Republicans investigating the matter accepted his explanation. Rep. Seth Grove (R., York), House Republicans’ point person on elections, said he’s concluded there’s nothing to it: “Just because you read it on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true.”

Full Article: Defending subpoena for Pennsylvania Republican election review, Kim Ward misstates facts

Pennsylvania: Deadline passes in GOP’s election ‘investigation’ subpoena | Marc Levy/Associated Press

The deadline passed Friday for Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration to comply with a subpoena from a Republican-controlled state Senate committee pursuing what the GOP calls a “forensic investigation” of last year’s presidential election, as a state court sorted through three legal challenges. Wolf’s administration and Senate Republicans remained silent in the matter Friday. The court was expected to set up an expedited briefing schedule in one or all of the cases. Challengers, including Senate Democrats and state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, have sought broadly to block the subpoena, saying it is an abuse of legislative power, and in particular have challenged its request for the driver’s license numbers and partial Social Security numbers of roughly 9 million registered voters. Republicans maintain that they are attempting to find and fix problems in last year’s presidential election and this year’s primary election. Democrats accuse them of helping perpetuate baseless claims that former President Donald Trump was cheated out of victory. It’s not clear whether Wolf’s administration can be forced to comply with a Senate subpoena. The subpoena comes as Trump and his allies pressure battleground states to investigate ballots, voting machines and voter rolls for fraud. Democrats say it is part of a national campaign to take away voting rights and undermine both democracy and elections. Democrat Joe Biden beat Trump in Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes, according to certified results.

 

Full Article: Deadline passes in GOP’s election ‘investigation’ subpoena

All eyes turn to Pennsylvania after Arizona’s ‘audit’ affirmed Biden’s presidential victory | Andrew Seidman and Jonathan Lai/Philadelphia Inquirer

Pennsylvania now stands to become ground zero in the movement to “audit” the election after former President Donald Trump’s efforts to discredit the 2020 election results failed in Arizona. A monthslong partisan review in Arizona affirmed President Joe Biden’s victory there, according to findings made public Friday of the so-called “forensic audit” of the election results in Maricopa County, a linchpin county. That review had been widely criticized by experts for failing to follow best practices and was led by a company called Cyber Ninjas that had no previous experience with elections. Lawmakers in Harrisburg have insisted their “forensic investigation” is different from Arizona’s. Asked about the results there, State Sen. Cris Dush — the Jefferson County Republican leading the Pennsylvania probe who traveled to Phoenix in June to tour the facility where the Cyber Ninjas team counted ballots and inspected machines — issued a brief statement Friday night that said: “Protecting the integrity of Pennsylvanians’ election system is not only critical to the overall function of our country, but also secures Pennsylvania’s unique role as a state within the fabric of our nation by allowing Pennsylvanians to express our state’s culture, demographic, and geographic diversity through our voting process. It is for these reasons, that Pennsylvania and other states must have certainty in the oversight and integrity of their state’s voting system.” … Best practices for post-election audits include that they are routine and happen shortly after elections, using specified procedures, said Mark Lindeman, a director at Verified Voting, a nonprofit that focuses on the role of technology in election administration. “What’s extraordinary about what’s increasingly happening around the country — and the sort of bandwagon that Pennsylvania seems to be climbing on — is it’s not routine, there are no defined procedures, and even the objectives, beyond airing grievances and paranoid fantasies about the 2020 election, are radically unclear,” he said.

Full Article: All eyes turn to Pennsylvania after Arizona’s ‘audit’ affirmed Biden’s presidential victory

Editorial: The survival of U.S. democracy may hinge on this decision by Pennsylvania’s next governor | Will Bunch/Philadelphia Inquirer

To millions of Americans, what just happened in Arizona’s largest county was a laughingstock, a bad joke that blew up in the face of Donald Trump and his cultists like some exploding cigar from a 1940s cartoon. A GOP-approved hijacking of voting records and machines from the 2020 election — do not dare call it an “audit” — conducted by a scammy-is-too-good-a-word contractor called the Cyber Ninjas that dragged on through much of 2021 ultimately claimed that any miscounted votes actually expanded President Biden’s win in Maricopa County. The cackling on left-leaning Twitter and MSNBC Friday night could be heard from Key West to Kalamazoo. But one man — a Michigan carpetbagger turned Arizona politico named Mark Finchem — had a very different interpretation of what the conspiracy-minded voting sleuths had uncovered with official Republican support. “I call for decertification of the Arizona election, arrest of those involved in tampering with election systems, and an audit of Pima County (in northern Arizona) as a next step,” Finchem tweeted Friday. The crazy part is that Finchem’s minority viewpoints on Donald Trump and his invisible claims of election fraud may matter a heck of a lot more than yours or mine come the 2024 vote counting. Last week, the disgraced 45th president (and would-be 47th) officially endorsed Finchem, now a state lawmaker, in his 2022 GOP primary bid to become Arizona’s next secretary of state. Trump’s imprimatur makes Finchem the instant primary favorite, in a midterm election in which both history and newfangled voter suppression favors Republicans. That means Finchem — not just a garden-variety Trumpist but a member of the extremist Oath Keepers who was on the Capitol grounds during the Jan. 6 insurrection — could be Arizona’s chief vote counter if and when the bleats of voter fraud and a stolen election again emerge from Mar-a-Lago in three years. Be very afraid.

Full Article: The survival of U.S. democracy may hinge on this decision by Pa.’s next governor | Will Bunch

Pennsylvania Senate Democrats sue Republicans to block election review subpoena | Jonathan Lai/Philadelphia Inquirer

Democrats in the Pennsylvania Senate sued their Republican colleagues Friday evening to block them from subpoenaing voter records as part of a review of the 2020 election. The lawsuit argues that the Republican effort unconstitutionally tramples on the separation of powers by stepping on the courts’ power to investigate and rule on election disputes and on the executive branch’s power, given specifically to the state auditor general, to audit how elections are run. The lawsuit also contends that the subpoena violates state election law because it requests voters’ private information, including driver’s license numbers and the last four digits of Social Security numbers. Senate Democrats “ask this Court to prevent violation of the Pennsylvania Election Code and the Pennsylvania Constitution through [Republican lawmakers’] untimely election contest and to protect the rights of the approximately 6.9 million Pennsylvanians who cast votes in the 2020 General Election, including protection from the unlawful disclosure of their private information” in the state voter database, the suit reads.

Full Article: Pa. Senate Democrats sue Republicans to block election review subpoena

Pennsylvania GOP lawmakers vote to subpoena voter records, official emails in 2020 probe | Elise Viebeck and Rosalind S. Helderman/The Washington Post

Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania on Wednesday approved subpoenas for a wide range of data and personal information on voters, advancing a probe of the 2020 election in a key battleground state former president Donald Trump has repeatedly targeted with baseless claims of fraud. The move drew a sharp rebuke from Democrats who described the effort as insecure and unwarranted and said they would consider mounting a court fight. Among other requests, Republicans are seeking the names, dates of birth, driver’s license numbers, last four digits of Social Security numbers, addresses and methods of voting for millions of people who cast ballots in the May primary and the November general election. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) called Wednesday’s vote “merely another step to undermine democracy, confidence in our elections and to capitulate to Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.” Wolf added in a statement, “Election security is not a game and should not be treated with such carelessness. Senate Republican[s] should be ashamed of their latest attempt to destabilize our election system through a sham investigation that will unnecessarily cost taxpayers millions of dollars.” But Sen. Cris Dush, the Republican chairman of the committee that approved the subpoena, argued during the hearing that the information is needed because “there have been questions regarding the validity of people who have voted — whether or not they exist.” “Again, we are not responding to proven allegations. We are investigating the allegations to determine whether or not they are factual,” he said, adding that the vetting process for outside vendors will be “rigorous.”

Full Article: Pennsylvania GOP lawmakers vote to subpoena voter records, official emails in 2020 probe – The Washington Post

Pennsylvania Governor says he’s rescinding nomination of top election official over dispute with Senate GOP’s audit | Jan Murphy/PennLive

Gov. Tom Wolf said he has decided against subjecting his Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Veronica Degraffenreid to a Senate confirmation process and, in a rare move, is recalling her nomination. Instead, the governor indicated he will have her serve in that role in an acting capacity. This decision comes amidst a growing dispute between the governor and Senate Republicans over the caucus’ move to launch an audit of the conduct of the 2020 presidential election. President Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in Pennsylvania on his way to winning the White House, but some Republican lawmakers have continued to call for a review of the election. Wolf said based on the Senate Republican majority’s pursuit of an investigation into baseless claims of fraud that skewed the results in Biden’s favor, “it is clear that Veronica Degraffenreid will not receive a fair hearing from this Senate on her merits.”

Full Article: Wolf pulls election nominee, slams Senate GOP over handling

Pennsylvania GOP lawmakers to subpoena personal information on every voter in controversial 2020 election review | Danielle OhlSpotlight PA

Republican lawmakers in the Capitol are pushing to collect personal information on every registered Pennsylvania voter, as well as a trove of communications between state and county election officials, as part of a controversial inquiry into the 2020 presidential election. The GOP lawmakers have crafted a sweeping subpoena, shared with Spotlight PA late Tuesday, in which they are requesting all communications between state elections officials and elections officials in every county, as well as the name, address, and partial social security number of every voter registered as of last November. The subpoena, which is up for a vote before a Senate committee on Wednesday morning, is likely to face pushback from Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration, as well as Democrats in the legislature who have characterized the GOP’s efforts as baseless partisan attacks meant to undermine President Biden’s win over Donald Trump. But Republicans who control the state Senate say they believe the sweeping review is necessary because of the state’s evolving guidance last year to counties on how to handle mail-in and other ballots, and to ensure that there were no irregularities in last year’s election — even though GOP legislative leaders have acknowledged that they have no evidence of fraud. “We saw an extraordinary number of changes and guidance and clarifications and modifications of that guidance leading up to the election,” said Jason Thompson, a spokesperson for Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R., Centre). “Certain aspects of that guidance we felt were partisan.”

 

Full Article: Pa. GOP lawmakers to subpoena personal information on every voter in controversial 2020 election review · Spotlight PA

Pennsylvania: ‘One enormous conspiracy theory’: Federal judge orders attorneys who pushed election fraud lie to pay sanctions | Julia Agos/WITF

A federal judge is determining the cost of sanctions for two attorneys ​whose lawsuit contained baseless claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Attorney General Josh Shapiro filed the motion in May ​to recover legal fees from Gary Fielder and Ernest Walker. Shapiro says the two lawyers attacked how Pennsylvania’s election was conducted and attempted to undermine faith in the results. “While any reasonable attorney would have been aware from the start that this entire case was unjustifiable, plaintiffs’ attorneys were specifically made aware of the spuriousness of their case soon after they filed it,” Shapiro wrote in the filing brief.  In the class action suit ​filed in Colorado, United States Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter found the lawyers acted in bad faith and tried to mislead the court with unfounded claims of fraud. The class-action suit asked for $1,000 for each of the 160 million voters.

Full Article: ‘One enormous conspiracy theory’: Federal judge orders attorneys who pushed election fraud lie to pay sanctions to Pa. and other defendants. | WITF

Pennsylvania Republicans launch new election audit but don’t say how it will work | Andrew Seidman and Jonathan Lai/Philadelphia Inquirer

Following months of demands from former President Donald Trump, Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers on Thursday jumpstarted what they’re calling a “forensic investigation” of the 2020 election — but they didn’t detail how the review will actually work. State Sen. Cris Dush (R., Jefferson), chairman of the committee leading the review, said it’s aimed at determining whether Pennsylvania election law can be improved. “This investigation is not about overturning the results of any election, as some would suggest,” he said in remarks that opened an almost two-hour hearing. “That horse is out of the barn, as far as this investigation is concerned.” But Dush’s stated objective closely resembles the rationale GOP lawmakers gave for previous probes, including one led by a special panel formed by the top Senate Republican specifically to review the election and recommend changes to state law. For months, State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R., Franklin) — a pro-Trump firebrand and likely candidate for governorled the push for an investigation. But until late August, it was unclear whether GOP leaders would take up Trump’s cause. That’s when Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R., Centre) came out in favor of a review, and ousted Mastriano from overseeing the probe.

 

Full Article: Pennsylvania Republicans launch new election audit but don’t say how it will work

14 Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers go to court to challenge mail-in voting law 11 of them voted for | Marc Levy/Associated PRess

Fourteen Republican state lawmakers have filed a new lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting law, calling it unconstitutional and asking for it to be thrown out — even though 11 of those lawmakers supported it just two years ago. The legal challenge was filed just before midnight Tuesday in the state Commonwealth Court. It is the latest attempt by Republicans to invalidate the 2019 law that GOP lawmakers almost unanimously supported. The central claim of the lawsuit is that the law — which allowed no-excuse voting by mail — violates a constitutional provision that requires lawmakers to provide a way for people to vote if they are unable to do so in person for specific reasons. Those reasons include being out of town on business, illness, physical disability, Election Day duties or a religious observance. But the lawsuit contends that the 2019 law violates that because it allows people to vote by mail even if they do not meet fall under one of those categories.

Full Article: 14 Pa. Republican lawmakers go to court to challenge mail-in voting law 11 of them voted for | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania: Despite infighting, GOP senators push 2020 election audit | Katie Meyer and Sam Dunklau/WHYY

A week after the most powerful Republican in Pennsylvania’s Senate promised a full “forensic audit” of the 2020 election, there’s little clarity among those in the legislature — including on the senator’s own staff — about exactly what that means, or how it will work. But based on conversations with GOP staffers and members on both sides of the aisle, one conclusion appears widespread among those watching the Senate’s audit drama unfold: Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, generally seen as a by-the-books pragmatist, is making a political calculation. “I think Senator Corman and other Republicans are responding to political pressure from the national party,” said Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia). “The national Republican party, led by the former president, has ginned up a lot of anxiety about whether the election process happened fairly, which we know it did.”

Full Article: Despite infighting, Pa. GOP senators push 2020 election audit – WHYY

Pennsylvania: Months after its launch, risk-limiting election audit pilot comes under review by Senate panel | Marley Parish/Pennsylvania Capital-Star

As Senate Republicans coordinate an investigation into Pennsylvania’s two most recent elections, an audit initiative is under review — 10 months after it launched — by an executive branch committee with election oversight. Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid and members of the Department of State’s post-election audit workgroup testified before the Senate State Government Committee on Tuesday to outline the risk-limiting audit, a post-election review piloted during the 2020 general and 2021 primary elections. All counties are required to conduct a statistical sample of at least 2 percent of the ballots cast or 2,000 ballots following every election. But 63 out of 67 counties conducted risk-limiting audits, a review developed by the workgroup that examines a random sample of paper ballots, and compares the paper votes to the totals reported by the vote-counting machines to ensure that the winner of the race is valid. Neither type found evidence of widespread voter fraud or misconduct. Any post-election review should be “transparent and bipartisan,” Degraffenreid told lawmakers. Although the risk-limiting audit is a pilot, she said the goal is to implement the review as an alternative to the 2 percent statistical sampling.

Full Article: Months after its launch, risk-limiting election audit pilot comes under review by Senate panel | Pennsylvania Capital-Star

Pennsylvania GOP lawmaker says hearings will begin this week to start ‘forensic investigation’ of 2020 election | Andrew Seidman/Philadelphia Inquirer

Almost 10 months after the presidential election, the Pennsylvania Senate will open hearings this week as it launches a “forensic investigation,” the top Republican senator said Monday. Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R., Centre) said lawmakers will seek voting records, ballots, and machines — and suggested the Senate will use subpoenas to get them. “We can bring people in. We can put them under oath. We can subpoena records, and that’s what we need to do,” he said in an interview with the pro-Trump radio personality Wendy Bell. “That’s what we’re going to do.” Corman said he has spoken with former President Donald Trump about the issue: “I think he’s comfortable where we’re heading.” The development came days after Corman ousted fellow GOP Sen. Doug Mastriano (R., Franklin) as the leader in Harrisburg of the push for an Arizona-style “audit” of the 2020 election, saying Mastriano was more interested in “grandstanding” than in getting results. Corman installed Sen. Cris Dush (R., Jefferson) as the new chairman of the committee that will lead the review. Corman, who was first elected to the Senate in 1998, has long been seen as a steady hand and protector of the legislative institution. In a matter of days, he has gone from mostly keeping quiet about Trump supporters’ demands for an Arizona-style “forensic investigation” into President Joe Biden’s victory to plunging full steam ahead into baseless election fraud claims.

Full Article: Jake Corman, top Pa. GOP senator, says 2020 election ‘investigation’ begins with hearings this week

Pennsylvania hearings in election ‘investigation’ to begin, senator says | Marc Levy/Associated Press

The top Republican in Pennsylvania’s Senate said Monday that hearings will begin this week as he committed to carrying out a “full forensic investigation” of the state’s 2020 presidential election. Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, said he has communicated with former President Donald Trump, whose baseless claims about election fraud have propelled loyalists to pursue audits, reviews or other examinations of ballots and voting machines in battleground states where Democrat Joe Biden defeated him. “I think he’s comfortable with where we’re heading and so we’re going to continue that work,” Corman said on the conservative Wendy Bell Radio program streamed online Monday. Amid clashes over how to conduct it and how to pay for it, Corman on Friday removed the rank-and-file state senator who had been the figurehead in the push for an Arizona-style audit of Pennsylvania’s 2020 presidential election. Sen. Cris Dush, tapped to replace Sen. Doug Mastriano, will begin holding hearings this week, Corman said. Dush and Mastriano both traveled to Phoenix in June to see the audit there up close.

Full Article: Hearings in election ‘investigation’ to begin, senator says

Pennsylvania county sues over decertified voting system | Associated Press

A sparsely populated county in southern Pennsylvania is suing over last month’s decertification of its voting machines, and asking a statewide court to reverse the order by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s top elections official. In the suit filed Wednesday in Commonwealth Court, Fulton County said it had complied with the guidance in force at the time for the inspection of voting machines by third-party vendors. The lawsuit also said Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid should have re-examined the machines before decertifying them and given Fulton County an administrative opportunity to appeal her July 20 decision before it took effect.

Full Article: Pennsylvania county sues over decertified voting system

Editorial: Exporting the fraudit to Pennsylvania would be disaster | Trey Grayson/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

In July, Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano announced his intention to bring the Arizona audit to Pennsylvania. County officials have rebuffed his requests for election data, and Mastriano is threatening subpoenas to fuel the investigation. This is going to be a mess. Strange circumstances aside, a Pennsylvania audit is a disaster in the making. If Mastriano is successful, his review will harm election integrity and undermine confidence in our electoral system. For evidence, look no further than the Arizona “audit” debacle. Aside from being rooted in the lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 election, the Arizona audit has been a technical nightmare on multiple levels. As a former two-term Kentucky Secretary of State, I know firsthand how elections are run. Along with my co-author, University of Wisconsin professor Barry Burden, I recently conducted an independent evaluation of the Arizona audit and found multiple key failures by the contractor, Cyber Ninjas. The firm and its subcontractors failed four major criteria that are the bedrock of safe and fair election reviews.

Full Article: Trey Grayson: Exporting the fraudit to Pa. would be disaster | TribLIVE.com

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia elections board votes to reject state senator’s election audit | MarK Scolforo/Associated Press

Philadelphia’s elections board voted Friday to reject a Republican state senator’s request for access to its voting machines for a “forensic investigation” into former President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection defeat. The Office of the City Commissioners’ unanimous decision will be laid out in a letter telling state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, that Philadelphia “will not participate in your proposed analysis.” Omar Sabir, one of two Democrats on the three-person board, said shortly before the meeting that he thinks it’s time to move on. “It’s time, it’s resources,” he said. “The 2020 election has been proven by many standards that there was no fraud and the election went well.” The vote occurred during a brief meeting at which the three election board members said little about Mastriano’s July 7 request that gave them until the end of the month to reply. Mastriano has said he plans to subpoena the three counties through the state Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, which he chairs, but it’s unclear if he has enough support from his fellow Republican senators to follow through with that threat.

 

Full Article: Philly board votes to reject state senator’s election audit

Pennsylvania GOP legislator speaks out against death threats over county refusal to turn over voting machines for audit | Williamsport Sun-Gazette

State Sen. Cris Dush, R-Pine Creek Township, condemned those who are making death threats against the Tioga County commissioners over their decision not to submit voting machines to an election audit in a statement released Friday. “I am outraged at the behavior of those who claim to be in support of the audit process but are seeming to do everything they can to undermine it and the rule of law,” the statement reads. “In the strongest terms, I condemn anyone who makes death threats and other acts of intimidation against the Tioga County commissioners or the employees of the county. This is not the appropriate way to voice your concern. Further, I encourage law enforcement to investigate these threats and to take appropriate action.” Dush, who has given his support to an effort by state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, for an Arizona-style election audit, also acknowledged the commissioners’ reasoning for not submitting to the audit “at this time and in this manner.” The audit would require the county to turn over its election machines, possibly rendering them void for future elections due to stringent requirements outlined by the state. Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s top election official, told counties recently the state would decertify any election equipment that is subject to third-party access, citing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s designation of election equipment as “critical infrastructure.”

Full Article: Pa. GOP legislator blasts threats against Tioga County commissioners over election audit – The Morning Call

Pennsylvania Republican blasts election audit, rebukes fraud claims | Nathan Layne/Reuters

A Republican lawmaker in Pennsylvania has come out against his colleagues’ “forensic” audit of the 2020 election, becoming the party’s first statewide official to publicly call for an end to the effort and warn of electoral consequences. In an op-ed on Thursday, state Senator Dan Laughlin says that moves to investigate Donald Trump’s loss to President Joe Biden in the state are being made “absent credible evidence of fraud” and won’t change the outcome, as some voters hope. “The current attempt to discredit the 2020 election results runs headlong into an unmistakable truth,” wrote Laughlin, a centre-right Republican from Erie County. “Donald Trump lost Pennsylvania because Donald Trump received fewer votes.” His comments mark a rare public rebuke of Republican state Senator Doug Mastriano from within his own party. Mastriano has been arguing for a comprehensive “forensic” investigation involving the inspection of voting equipment, modeled on a contentious partisan probe ongoing in Maricopa County, Arizona. Mastriano, who has promoted Trump’s baseless stolen-election claims, launched the investigation earlier this month with requests to Tioga, Philadelphia and York counties for access to their voting machines. Mastriano has said he would subpoena the counties if they did not comply by July 31.

 

Full Article: Pennsylvania Republican blasts election audit, rebukes fraud claims | Reuters

Pennsylvania state department decertifies Fulton County voting machines after third-party audit | Nathan Layne/Reuters

Pennsylvania’s top election official has decertified the voting equipment of a rural county that participated in an audit of the 2020 election requested by a Republican state lawmaker and staunch ally of former President Donald Trump. Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid said on Wednesday that Fulton County violated the state election code by giving a third party access to its election databases and other certified equipment in an audit of the 2020 results. The audit was conducted in December at the request of Republican state Senators Doug Mastriano and Judy Ward, who asked county officials to allow Wake Technology Services Inc to probe the county’s results, according to media reports. Degraffenreid’s announcement was the latest salvo in a battle between Mastriano, a promoter of Trump’s false stolen-election claims who is now waging an effort to conduct a wider “forensic investigation” into Trump’s loss in the state, and the administration of Democratic Governor Tom Wolf. “These actions were taken in a manner that was not transparent,” Degraffenreid said. “As a result of the access granted to Wake TSI, Fulton County’s certified system has been compromised.”

Full Article: Pennsylvania decertifies county’s voting machines after 2020 audit | Reuters

Pennsylvania: Threats rattle county targeted in election audit | Nathan Layne/Reuters

One of the Pennsylvania counties targeted in a Republican lawmaker’s “forensic investigation” into the 2020 election has beefed up security around its courthouse following threatening posts on social media, one of its commissioners told Reuters. The incendiary Facebook posts appeared targeted at members of Tioga County’s all-Republican board of commissioners after they decided not to comply with the lawmaker’s request to turn over their voting machines, Commissioner Erick Coolidge said. One individual, in an apparent reference to the county’s three commissioners, called them traitors and said there were “plenty of trees” in a nearby gorge to “hang ropes from,” according to a post viewed by Reuters on a Facebook page. In response, the law enforcement presence was strengthened around their offices at the courthourse in the town of Wellsboro, Coolidge said, without providing details. The Tioga County sheriff’s office did not reply to a request for comment. “We’ve kind of beefed up security around the courthouse,” Coolidge said. “I’m more concerned about our personnel than myself.” Pennsylvania has already conducted a so-called risk-limiting audit of the November election, and all counties also audited a sample of their votes as mandated by law. Neither effort turned up widespread fraud to put in question Donald Trump’s loss to President Joe Biden in the state by 81,000 votes.

Full Article: Threats rattle Pennsylvania county targeted in election audit | Reuters

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia sees $40 million in possible costs from Trump ally’s election probe | Nathan Layne/Reuters

Philadelphia could face $40 million in costs to replace voting machines if forced to comply with a “forensic investigation” into the 2020 election launched by a Republican state lawmaker and ally of former President Donald Trump, a city commissioner told Reuters. The estimate by Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt, a Republican, highlights the potential burden on taxpayers from state Senator Doug Mastriano’s attempt to gain access to election equipment from Philadelphia and at least two other counties for inspections, similar to costs that have arisen out of a contentious Republican-led audit of the vote in Arizona. After Mastriano announced his probe last week, the Pennsylvania Department of State issued a directive to the state’s 67 counties warning it would decertify any equipment handed over to third parties because the chain of custody would be broken.  Democratic President Joe Biden won Pennsylvania by about 81,000 votes, four years after Trump’s victory there helped propel the Republican to the presidency. Republicans in Pennsylvania and other swing states won by Biden have pursued audits of the November election, repeating Trump’s baseless claims that widespread fraud cost him a second White House term. Schmidt, who has repeatedly defended the integrity of the vote count in heavily Democratic-leaning Philadelphia, said Mastriano’s request for a wide array of equipment could force the city to replace some $30 million worth of voting machines and an additional $10 million in central programming and tabulation equipment. “We just got all our new voting equipment in 2019, so replacing it would be very expensive for taxpayers,” Schmidt said on Monday.

Full Article: Philadelphia sees $40 mln in possible costs from Trump ally’s election probe | Reuters

Pennsylvania: York County joins Tioga County in raising objections to Mastriano’s election audit | Marc Levy and Mark Scolforo/Associated Press

Another Pennsylvania county targeted for an Arizona-style “forensic investigation” of the 2020 presidential election being pushed by former President Donald Trump is raising strong objections to a sweeping demand for access to its voting equipment and records. York County’s three commissioners — two Republican and one Democrat — wrote this week to the Republican state lawmaker seeking the information and raised questions about the legality of his demand, the cost to the county and their lack of staff to complete the project. The commissioners also pointed to the likelihood that its voting machines would be decertified and rendered useless if they allow third-party access to the machines that is not authorized by the state or the company that supplied them, Dominion Voting Systems. In any case, the county’s commissioners said they had run the election legally, securely and transparently, and completed the required county and state audits confirming the accuracy of the results. York County responded a week after receiving the five-page request from Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who has talked of possibly running for governor and claimed that Trump “asked me” to run.

Full Article: York County joins Tioga County in raising objections to Mastriano’s election audit | News, Sports, Jobs – Williamsport Sun-Gazette

Pennsylvania: Tioga County won’t offer up voting machines to GOP election audit | Marc Levy/Associated Press

One of three counties targeted by a Pennsylvania state lawmaker for an Arizona-style “forensic investigation” of the state’s 2020 presidential election sought by former President Donald Trump will not allow third-party access to its voting machines. The three commissioners in rural Republican-controlled Tioga County announced the decision Tuesday, six days after receiving a sweeping, five-page request from Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano for access to documents, information and equipment. The county’s solicitor, Christopher Gabriel, said Wednesday that the thrust of Mastriano’s request — under the threat of a subpoena — involves access to Tioga County’s voting machines. That could mean losing those machines, Gabriel said. “We can’t be in a position where we don’t have the election machines, because we have to run the next election, these are extremely expensive machines and our position is we need to follow the direction that (Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid) has given us,” Gabriel said. Degraffenreid, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s top election official, told counties last week that the state would decertify any election equipment that is subject to any such third-party access, rendering it useless in an election.

Full Article: County won’t offer up voting machines to election audit

Pennsylvania Department of State directs counties not to turn over election equipment | John Finnerty/CNHI News Service

Two days after state Sen. Doug Mastriano announced that he’s requesting that three counties turn over election materials and equipment for a “forensic investigation,” the Department of State on Friday directed counties to refuse any requests for access to voting equipment by third-party groups. Acting Secretary of State Veronica W. Degraffenreid issued a directive prohibiting third-party access to electronic voting systems, addressing requests that counties allow outside entities not involved with the conduct of elections to review and copy the internal electronic, software, mechanical, logic, and related components of Pennsylvania’s voting systems. “Such access by third parties undermines chain of custody requirements and strict access limitations necessary to prevent both intentional and inadvertent tampering with electronic voting systems,” Degraffenreid said. “It also jeopardizes the security and integrity of the systems and will prevent electronic voting system vendors from affirming that the systems continue to meet Commonwealth security standards and U.S. Election Assistance Commission certification.” Mastriano, a Republican from Franklin County, sent his request to the boards of elections in Philadelphia, Tioga and York counties, directing them to turn over all cast ballots and balloting materials from the November 2020 general election and the May 2021 primary. The request also included unprecedented access to electronic voting equipment. Mastriano, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump who attended the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, was one of three state Republican lawmakers who traveled to Arizona to view the election audit commissioned by the Senate Republicans in that state. The others who made the Arizona trip were state Sen. Cris Dush of Indiana County and state Rep. Rob Kauffman of Franklin County.

Full Article: Department of State directs counties not to turn over election equipment | News | meadvilletribune.com

Editorial: Pennsylvania Governor Wolf is right, election audit plan is a sham | Philadelphia Tribune

Gov. Tom Wolf says 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. Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano, an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump and a likely gubernatorial candidate, sent letters last week to officials in Philadelphia, York and Tioga Counties seeking election-related equipment and materials “needed to conduct a forensic investigation” of the 2020 election and the 2021 primary. “We’re looking at three counties, and if sufficient evidence comes up with shenanigans and corruption or fraud, then we’ll have a second round with additional counties,” he said on the far-right, pro-Trump cable network OAN. Philadelphia officials confirmed that the city received the letter. Mastriano’s sweeping request includes election-related materials such as ballots, mail ballot applications, mail ballot envelopes, voting machines, ballot scanners, vote-counting equipment, ballot production equipment, poll books, and computer equipment used throughout the election process. Mastriano warns in his letter that the Senate committee he heads may issue subpoenas if counties don’t respond by July 31 with a plan to comply.

Full Article: EDITORIAL: Wolf is right, election audit plan is a sham | Editorials | phillytrib.com