After Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano initiated a full forensic audit of the 2020 election process, Governor Tom Wolf called it an “embarrassment” and urged the three counties involved not to cooperate. 

However, Wolf made no substantive arguments to prevent the investigation and told the counties that they risk decertifying their voting machines and that the costs could amount to millions of dollars to taxpayers, according to The Philadelphia Tribune July 8. 

Also, Democratic state senators wrote to officials in Philadelphia and York, and Tiago counties, telling them they should not comply with Mastriano’s requests.

In the first stage of the audit, Mastriano asked officials in the three counties for access to documents and equipment, for which they have until the end of this month, otherwise, they could be subpoenaed.

Mastriano aims to conduct an audit similar to the one being developed extensively in the state of Arizona. 

“As we go through the ballots, my desire is to recount them, but also forensically analyze with photographic material whether the ballots were copied or filled in by a human,” Mastriano told former White House adviser Steve Bannon in an interview, according to The Philadelphia Tribune.

He also expressed doubts regarding the integrity of the software used and the chain of custody of the ballots.

Mastriano cited as many as 45 categories of items to be audited, similar to those obtained in Maricopa County in January by Arizona Senate Republicans, which he synthesized as “a complete end-to-end election setup for use in a lab.”

Mastriano’s goal is to restore confidence in elections and “properly consider future legislation” on election law.

For his part, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, is hopeful that Governor Wolf will veto the investigation. 

“The reason I’m optimistic is because of the veto pen of our Democratic governor, and it is critically important that we always have that veto pen to be able to beat back these challenges to our democracy,” according to The Denver Gazette.

The comprehensive audit that was conducted in Maricopa County, Arizona, became a model for other states. Although the review of the 2.1 million ballots was completed on June 25, final reports are still pending. 

One of the immediate consequences is that the machines used to count the votes will be removed and will no longer be used. 

In this regard, attorney Joseph La Rue wrote in a letter to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs on June 28, saying that “The Board shares your concerns” and promising that the county “will not use the subpoenaed equipment in any future elections.”

Previously, Hobbs had asserted that the machines should be decertified because something could have been done that would have compromised their safety.

Alluding to La Rue’s response he said the “concerns” were just excuses to obviate the fact that the voting devices are unreliable.

“If their machines can’t undergo a forensic audit to verify what happened in an election, then it never should have approved those machines to be used in an election in the first place,” Fann said.

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