The top Republican in the Pennsylvania state Senate pledged this week to conduct a wide-ranging review of the 2020 election results, a move that comes as GOP lawmakers continue to cast doubt on the contest’s legitimacy by pushing for it to be re-examined. of votes in battlefield states such as Arizona.
State Senator Jake Corman, who serves as president pro tempore of the GOP-controlled chamber, made the comments in an interview with a right-wing radio host and they were first reported on Tuesday by The Philadelphia Inquirer. His comments have been the strongest sign thus far that Pennsylvania — which won President Biden by more than 80,000 votes — can go ahead with a review of its 2020 results, despite there being no evidence of voter fraud that would have affected the outcome.
In the interview, Mr Corman said he wanted to start “almost immediately” and that the hearings would begin this week. He added that he expected to use the full power of the state’s General Assembly, including subpoenas, to conduct the assessment, which he called a “forensic investigation.”
“We can bring people in, we can put them under oath, we can subpoena files, and that’s what we need to do and that’s what we’re going to do,” Mr. Corman said. “And so we go on.”
Previously, state senator Doug Mastriano, a Republican and outspoken supporter of former President Donald J. Trump’s lies about the election, had called for a review of results in three counties.
Until recently, as chairman of the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, he sent letters requesting ballots, records and machines from Philadelphia County, which includes the state’s largest city, which Mr. Biden won with more than 80 percent of the vote. ; York County, south of Harrisburg, which Mr. Trump won handily; and Tioga County, in the northern part of the state, which Mr. Trump also carried with ease. All three provinces refused to comply and Mr Mastriano’s legal authority to enforce the requests remains unclear.
Last week, Mr. Corman removed Mr. Mastriano from his position as committee chairman and installed state senator Cris Dush, also a Republican, to lead the panel and oversee the review.
In the interview, Mr. Corman expressed his own doubts about the election.
“I’m not necessarily confident in the results,” he said. “I think there were a lot of issues in our election that we had to get to the bottom of.”
Jason Thompson, a spokesperson for Mr Corman, said they had “not set a hard limit on how long the audit will take”, but he could not comment further because “many of the details of the audit plan are still being worked out.” , and Senator Dush will need a little more time to get to the final approach.”
Veronica Degrafenreid, who oversees Pennsylvania elections as acting secretary of the Commonwealth, has discouraged counties from participating in election reviews, noting that any inspection of voting machines by unlicensed third parties would lead to their decertification, and that provinces the significant cost of replacing the equipment.
Trump’s bid to undermine the election
“The State Department is encouraging provinces to refuse to participate in a mock review of past elections that would require provinces to violate the trust of their voters and violate their legal duty to protect the control chain of their ballot papers and voting equipment.” ignore,” said Mrs. Degrafenreid’s office said in a statement last month.
It remains unclear exactly how Mr. Corman and the Pennsylvania Senate will proceed with their assessment, including what they might look for in terms of equipment and data, and which counties they might focus on. Mr. Corman did say that after speaking with fellow Arizona lawmakers, he was looking for a “neutral arbitrator” to help conduct the review — a possible nod to how Maricopa County’s review on large scale scale was ridiculed, in part because the chief executive of the company conducting the re-examination had promoted conspiracy theories about counterfeit voting machines costing Mr. Trump the victory in the state.
“I think it’s important that we involve people who have no ties to anyone, who are professional, who will do the work so that we can stand behind the results,” said Mr. Corman.