Is Doug Mastriano really concerned about Pennsylvania’s elections integrity, or is he using that hot-button issue to promote his own political ambitions?
There is no legitimate basis for the Franklin County Republican’s call for three counties to provide information he says would be used in a “forensic investigation” relative to the November 2020 election and the May 2021 primary. The 2020 election, especially, has been diagnosed from every angle and found to be valid.
We urge Mastriano’s targeted counties – Philadelphia, York and Tioga – to quickly deny his request.
And we urge local leaders in Cambria, Somerset and neighboring counties to proclaim publicly their opposition to one more meaningless probe of Pennsylvania’s elections – as has happened in Arizona.
Chris Deluzio – policy director of the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security – called Mastiano’s push “a partisan circus that is utterly divorced from any sort of best practice around election security and doing things to bolster faith in our elections.”
He added: “There has been a whole bevy of litigation rejecting these claims in courts.”
We fully agree, but doubt Mastriano – a state senator and a strong supporter of ex-president Donald Trump – would be willing to do the right thing and stand down.
So counties must push back.
Mastriano attended the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection, a violent attempt to disrupt the confirmation of the 2020 election by congress.
In mirroring an Arizona subpoena, Mastriano requested access to all ballots cast in Pennsylvania in November as well as “logs from all computers and servers used to run the election, timelines of who accessed election equipment,” as our John Finnerty reported, as well as “a complete end-to-end election setup for use in a laboratory.”
What a colossal waste of time and taxpayer resources.
Pennsylvania’s Department of State told counties that if voting machines are turned over to Mastriano’s committee, the equipment would need to be replaced before the next election.
Elizabeth Rementer, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office, said partisan audits in Arizona and Georgia compromised election equipment by allowing access by “third-party individuals without the proper qualifications or security measures.”
Perhaps this is a ploy by Mastriano to build momentum to seek a higher political position, such as the governor’s office in 2022.
Here’s a concept we would support: A Pennsylvania probe similar to what Michigan’s attorney general has opened there to determine who is benefitting financially and personally from repeated unsubstantiated claims about the 2020 election.
The request to AG Dana Nessel, a Democrat, came from the Republican-led state Senate Oversight Committee.
GOP state Sen. Ed McBroom said although a hand count validated the results in rural Antrim County, and determined there was no widespread or systemic fraud, legal professionals and others connected with politics there are raising money and their own stature through repeated attempts to overturn the outcome.
“Those promoting Antrim County as the prime evidence of a nationwide conspiracy to steal the election place all other statements and actions they make in a position of zero credibility,” McBroom’s committee said in a statement quoted by The Associated Press on Friday.
We would applaud such a bipartisan effort in our Commonwealth, where Deluzio called Mastriano’s push “anti-democratic.”
Mastriano said: “A forensic investigation of our election results and processes ... will go a long way to restore trust in our system.”
Here’s what would go a long way to restoring trust in our election system:
Stop spreading false claims of fraud and move on from 2020.