An effort by Republican Pennsylvania state Senator — and vocal Trump ally — Doug Mastriano to conduct an audit of the presidential election results in Pennsylvania is flailing after three counties, including Philadelphia County, have now refused to give him their voting machines alongside materials from last year’s election. To be clear, there is no legitimate evidence necessitating the kind of audit that Mastriano is hoping to undertake, and in every single state — including Pennsylvania — officials have confirmed that the presidential election results were secure. Around the country, the presidential election results underwent rigorous, comprehensive scrutiny — pretending otherwise is just false.
Besides Philadelphia County, Tioga County and York County have also now refused to give Mastriano certain materials from last year’s presidential election cycle. As explained by CNN, what Mastriano requested ranged “from router logs to voter rolls to ballot production and tabulation equipment.” One of the issues that local officials noted in their responses to Mastriano is that complying with his request could cost local taxpayers millions of dollars, due to the need to procure certified equipment before future elections in the almost certain event of the decertification of the equipment that counties currently possess, should it be handed over. Equipment used for elections must be confirmed as secure, and transferring these items to outside interests hoping to conduct audits puts the security of local election equipment in serious and inescapable jeopardy.
Mastriano has indicated that he’s interested in subpoenas, but he’d have to garner the support of other members of a state Senate committee on which he sits in order to issue those. Meanwhile, as Lisa Deeley, chairwoman of the Philadelphia City Commissioner’s Office, put it in a letter sent to Mastriano by that commission:
‘The board cannot agree to the undertaking of your proposed review of the county’s election equipment… Among other things, there is no claim that Philadelphia County’s election systems or processes were compromised nor is there any basis to jeopardize the constitutionally mandated secrecy of the votes cast by City of Philadelphia residents, to expose the taxpayers of the city to tens of millions of dollars in additional and unanticipated expenses, or to risk the very ability of Philadelphians to cast ballots in future elections if Philadelphia’s system was decertified.’
That letter also notes that replacing Philadelphia’s election equipment would incur a cost of over $35 million. (Philadelphia is a combined city-county.) On a similar note, Tioga County attorney Christopher Gabriel, representing local officials, noted to CNN that local authorities are “responsible for having the things in place that are needed for our voters to be able to vote in the fall,” adding: “That’s our concern, and again, no one’s helping us with our concern.” CNN reports that in Fulton County, Pennsylvania, local election equipment was already decertified by the acting secretary of state “because it was subjected to a post-election review by a third party in violation of Pennsylvania’s Election Code.”