State Senator Doug Mastriano has requested "information and materials" from Philadelphia, York, and Tioga counties for what he calls a "forensic investigation" of both the November 2020 General Election and the May 2021 Primary election in Pennsylvania. Mastriano announced on the John Fredericks Radio Show and posted an Op-Ed News Release to explain on his website on July 7.
Under authority as Chair of the Intergovernmental Operations Committee (IOC), which has "oversight and investigatory responsibilities" related to interagency activities throughout the state, Mastriano requested compliance from the Pennsylvania counties by July 31st. Mastriano stated in the press release:
"A full forensic investigation is critically necessary for our Commonwealth for the sake of transparency and accountability. There is nothing to fear if there is nothing to hide."
Mastriano says the choice of counties representing different geographical regions and differing political makeups makes it a "balanced investigation" and says that it "will go a long way to restore trust in our system." The document states that the IOC has authority to "inspect and investigate the books, records, papers, documents, data, operation, and physical plant of any public agency... including county boards of elections."
"Those who have concerns about the integrity of the 2020 and 2021 election will have those concerns investigated and hopefully addressed. Those who think that there was zero voter fraud, no irregularities and that the elections were conducted perfectly will have the chance to be vindicated."
Mastriano's news release summarizes known causes for concern in the past two state elections, telling us what might be investigated. It reads: "The case for a forensic investigation of the 2020 general election is evident to any unbiased observer,"
Mastriano lists a lack of observation, oversight, and signature verification he says was permitted, multiple rule changes by the Pennsylvania Department of State, and guidance on incomplete ballots that resulted in inconsistent application across the Commonwealth. "It would defy logic to assume that an election with the kinds of drastic changes we saw in 2020 was run perfectly with zero errors or fraud."
UncoverDC has previously reported on the battle over these and other irregularities, including those in the May 18 primary elections that prompted a criminal probe and the battle over whether to count ballots received without a date on them and the decision to do so by Philadelphia City Commissioners.
HereIsTheEvidence.com (HIT) has crowdsourced evidence of anomalies and legal issues in the 2020 Presidential Election, including a roundup of Pennsylvania evidence. HIT says there are a total of 191,725 mail-in ballots "touched by alterations, illegality, or anomalies," including 23,000+ ballots that were marked 'Received' before they were 'Mailed.' The PA Voter Analysis Report hosted by election-integrity.info is a "non-partisan effort by unpaid citizens and volunteer experts" that presents and contains a summary of extensive scientific analysis of statistical, chronological, and county-by-county comparison anomalies.
Pennsylvania's certified election results show Biden winning PA by 80,555 votes, though Trump had led Biden by 1.3 million votes on election day. There were a total of approximately 2.6 million mail-in ballots in PA—as compared to 263,000 in 2016—and about 65% of them were Democrat ballots. Retired Defense/Intelligence investigator/analyst Roy Blehar has said that Biden would have had to receive votes on about 75% of all mail-in ballots for these data points to square and that his analysis "reveals that the election system selected Biden, not the voters."
These anomalies, irregularities, and inconsistencies in Pennsylvania have led to perhaps the most organized grassroots effort in the nation, including AuditTheVotePA’s (ATVPA) petition drive with 75,000 signatures from PA citizens looking to force a full forensic audit of the 2020 General election. Toni Shuppe and Karen Taylor of Audit the Vote PA discussed Mastriano's recently announced forensic investigation on a Livestream Thursday:
Shuppe called the day of the announcement a "really good day," and though they've been contacted both by people who approve of the forensic investigation as described and by those who don't trust Mastriano at all, they are clearly optimistic and are glad that something is finally being done.
About calling it a 'forensic investigation' rather than a 'full forensic audit,' Shuppe said that she considers that "a very, very good thing" and "actually better." She said that when the Pennsylvania election integrity delegation visited the forensic audit conducted by Cyber Ninjas in Maricopa County, Arizona, they found procedures to bring back and found areas for improvement.
That visit included Pennsylvania's State Senator Doug Mastriano, Senator Cris Dush, and State Representative Rob Kauffman, with Mastriano saying he was impressed, calling it "the most comprehensive election audit in the history of [the] United States," and "a model for any audit in any nation or the world."
Mastriano appeared on War Room on June 2 from Maricopa (the full episode is here). Dush, who has a background in protecting classified information for the Air National Guard of Pennsylvania and security for Strategic Air Command in the U.S. Air Force, said the "level of detail" was "evident..." Dush interviewed Wednesday with PA local Marcus Dee.
Mastriano's news release mentions Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid, who he says "refused to conduct any type of thorough investigation" despite "hundreds of affidavits alleging firsthand fraud, irregularities, and illegal behavior witnessed at polling places." He said that the 'risk-limiting audit Pennsylvania previously conducted was "not nearly the type of investigation that was needed to determine any fraud, misconduct, or technical anomalies."
Attorney General Josh Shapiro Tweeted, "This 'forensic audit' is a sham being pushed by one insurrectionist state senator who wants Trump’s approval... I’m not about to let his fishing expedition cost Pennsylvanians their money or their privacy." He added, "If this seditionist, Republican state Senator gets his way, it will cost Pennsylvania taxpayers millions and millions of dollars... All because the Republican Party has become beholden to Donald Trump and the Big Lie."
Governor Wolf Tweeted, "Six months after he was at the U.S. Capitol insurrection, one of our lawmakers is attempting to launch a sham election audit..." and, "The same people who six months ago fueled the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol are now attempting a counting scheme to disrupt our election process... A sham election review of the 2020 election will only compromise voting machines, add expenses to counties, and undermine our democracy... I will not stand for it."
Shuppe seems to think that promises to obstruct the investigation by the political opposition are empty posturing. "...don't worry, they are not going to get in the middle of this, there's absolutely no way, they have no authority, they are a completely separate branch of government. They have no authority whatsoever to shut this down." She later said, "It is very clear in the [Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure] that the courts have no authority to intervene with a subpoena in the Senate."
Mastriano's news release says, "A January poll from Muhlenberg University showed that 40% of Pennsylvania voters are not confident that the results of the 2020 Election accurately reflected how Pennsylvanians voted. Discounting or mocking their concerns is neither an answer nor proper in this constitutional republic."
The Pennsylvania State Department quickly sent out a press release Wednesday responding to Mastriano's action. It is titled, "PA Department of State Statement on Sham Election Review Attempt."
"The Department of State encourages counties to refuse to participate in any sham review of past elections that would require counties to violate the trust of their voters and ignore their statutory duty to protect the chain of custody of their ballots and voting equipment. The Department stands ready to assist counties in upholding their statutory duty to protect the security and integrity of their election machines and systems. Further, we will direct the counties that, if they turn over voting machines or scanners, they should be prepared to replace that brand-new, expensive equipment before any future elections... We will oppose any attempt to disrupt our electoral process and undermine our elections at every step and with every legal avenue available."