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Pennsylvania appears to be on the precipice of initiating an Arizona-style audit of the 2020 election.
State Sen. David Argall, who heads a committee that oversees elections, told local news outlets he favors a forensic audit of the contest that state and federal officials insist was secure.
The Republican, under pressure by former President Donald Trump to take action, told the Capital-Star the audit is now a “very real possibility." The report said he is considering subpoenas for ballot information and which jurisdictions to send them.
“There are a lot of things under consideration right now, and I told them to check back in a week or two, and we hope to have some more detail,” he told the outlet after meeting with audit-supporting activists on Thursday.
Pennsylvania and Arizona are two states won by President Joe Biden last year in which post-election audits showed no widespread fraud.
But after dozens of lawsuits with election fraud allegations and voting irregularities were rejected by courts around the country, the audit in Maricopa County, commissioned by the GOP-led Arizona Senate, has become a beacon of hope for Trump and his supporters who herald the legislature-backed review as a model for other states to replicate.
Yet, just like Arizona Senate President Karen Fann — who has said the Maricopa County audit is not meant to overturn the 2020 election results but rather to restore trust in the system and influence possible changes to voting laws — Argall seems to acknowledge there will be no effort geared toward trying to change the results of the November contest, even if critics peg it as an effort meant to undermine confidence in the outcome, including Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.
Similar to efforts in other states, GOP lawmakers in Pennsylvania are pursuing a raft of voting reforms, and Argall argued an audit of the 2020 election would only help shore up the process.
“Do I have 100% confidence … that everything was perfect? No, I’d really like us to take a detailed review of that,” Argall said. “That’s why we’re looking at changing pieces of the election legislation, and it’s also why I think it wouldn’t hurt at all to go back, do that audit, and say, ‘How exactly did that work out?'"
Republican lawmakers from several states, including Pennsylvania, have made the pilgrimage to Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, where the Maricopa County audit is stationed, to learn more about the process. With this in mind, Trump issued a statement this month urging the Pennsylvania Legislature to follow suit with an audit of its own and warned Argall by name he risks losing his position if he doesn't comply.
Pennsylvania Sen. David Argall. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
"Great patriots led by State Senator Doug Mastriano, Senator Cris Dush, and State Representative Rob Kauffman went to Maricopa County, Arizona, to learn the best practices for conducting a full Forensic Audit of the 2020 General Election. Now the Pennsylvania Senate needs to act," Trump said in a tweemail. "Senate President Jake Corman needs to fulfill his promise to his constituents to conduct a full Forensic Audit. Senator Dave Argall, Chairman of the State Government Committee, has to authorize the subpoenas, if necessary. The people of Pennsylvania and America deserve to know the truth. If the Pennsylvania Senate leadership doesn’t act, there is no way they will ever get re-elected!"
Argall, whose district covers part of Berks County and all of Schuylkill County in eastern Pennsylvania, won reelection for another four-year term in 2020.
All this is playing out as the Justice Department appears poised to crack down on the Maricopa County audit before releasing its findings and any copycats before they get started.
The Justice Department is setting its focus on the GOP-backed voting laws being passed in states across the country in the wake of the 2020 election, Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a speech last Friday. He added that the agency "will apply the same scrutiny to post-election audits to ensure they abide by federal statutory requirements to protect election records and avoid the intimidation of voters. In that regard, we will publish guidance explaining the civil and criminal statutes that apply to post-election audits."
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Original Author: Daniel Chaitin