On Monday, July 12, following his July 7 request for information and materials necessary to conduct a forensic investigation of the 2020 General Election and the 2021 Primary, Pennsylvania Senator Doug Mastriano issued a statement in response to efforts by Governor Tom Wolf and his administration and Attorney General Josh Shapiro to block a forensic audit in the state. Mastriano declared:
"On Friday, the Acting Secretary of State issued a veiled threat disguised as a "directive" to all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. This threat implied that any county who participates in a forensic investigation and allows access of electronic voting systems to "third party entities not directly involved in the conduct of elections" will have their machines automatically decertified and retired before the next election."
Facing an across-the-board attack from establishment Democrats against his crusade for Election Integrity, as previously reported by UncoverDC, the PA Department of State also responded to Mastriano's request, labeling attempts to examine and confirm the recent elections in Biden's home state a "sham review." Despite increasing bipartisan suspicion of fraud in the 2020 election, the press release was also quick to attack the current forensic audit underway in Arizona (a hearing today revealed massive fraud), as well as the volatile situation in Fulton County, GA, that has been leaking hints of fraud since the "burst pipe" at the State Farm Arena delayed the results in that battleground state. As Mastriano points out:
"The case for a forensic investigation of the 2020 general election is evident to any unbiased observer."
As referenced by Mastriano, acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid issued a directive on July 8 to prohibit third-party access to electronic voting systems. Effective immediately, the order states that County Boards of Elections "shall not provide physical, electronic, or internal access to third parties seeking to copy and/or conduct an examination of state-certified electronic voting systems or any components of such systems." The order continues, stating that if the voting equipment is accessed, it would no longer be considered reliable or secure for future elections. As a result, the Department of State will withdraw its certification of the equipment. Degraffenreid commented:
"Such access by third parties undermines chain of custody requirements and strict access limitations necessary to prevent both intentional and inadvertent tampering with electronic voting systems. It also jeopardizes the security and integrity of the systems and will prevent electronic voting system vendors from affirming that the systems continue to meet Commonwealth security standards and U.S.Election Assistance Commission certification."
In his statement, Mastriano went on to suggest that Shapiro's time "could be better spent on important law enforcement issues rather than nightly CNN/MSNBC appearances, childish name calling, and tweets of incessant broad, yet empty platitudes." He spelled out some key election integrity issues that warrant the Attorney General's attention:
- Investigating sworn affidavits from the 2020 November election.
- Protecting the personal data of PA citizens by investigating the Wolf Administration’s contact tracing data breach which exposed the personal health data of over 72,000 Pennsylvanians.
- Coming up with actual solutions to stem the rising tide of violent crime in PA cities and standing up to progressive district attorneys.
- Investigating the deaths of 16,000 of our dearly loved elderly resulting from the Wolf Administration’s directive to send COVID-positive patients back into long term care facilities.
At CPAC on July 11, President Trump, who referred to Philadelphia as the "second most corrupt place" in the nation after Detroit for elections, "dropped a bombshell" during his rousing speech, declaring that a Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney, who intended to investigate voter fraud in the state, was told not to do so by Attorney Bill Barr. Trump spoke of a letter sent to him on Jun. 9 by the attorney, William S. McSwain, claiming he had heard about widespread election issues in Pennsylvania. McSwain called the state's 2020 election a "partisan disgrace." McSwain also claimed then-Attorney General Bill Barr blocked him from going public about allegations of election problems. Following Trump's reference to the letter, McSwain spokesperson Peter Towey said in an email:
“As U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain prosecuted election fraud in Philadelphia in the past. He was prepared to investigate allegations of election fraud in 2020 but was asked by his superiors to refer cases to the state.”
Meanwhile, in addition to the "convergence of scare tactics" being practiced by Wolf (who recently vetoed a GOP bill with voter ID) and his administration, President Biden paid a visit to Pennsylvania on Tuesday. During a speech at the National Constitution Center, the president, who commented he used to be chairman of the board at the center, condemned the state's GOP election reform efforts and stressed the importance of accepting the election results. Biden, who spoke of the record numbers that voted in the middle of a pandemic, pushed back against claims the 2020 election was fraudulent and shared his thoughts on the current debate over audits to verify the results, claiming:
"Audits and recounts were conducted in Arizona and Wisconsin. In Georgia, it was recounted three times. The big lie is just that, a big lie. The 2020 election — it's not hyperbole to suggest—is the most examined and the fullest expression of the will of people in the history of this nation. You don't call it fake just because you're unhappy."
On the eve of Biden's visit, Mastriano—who initiated a GOP tour in early June of the Maricopa Election Forensic Election Audit—sent a letter to the president acknowledging his visit to the state to deliver remarks on "actions to protect the sacred constitutional right to vote." Mastriano, who requested a meeting with Biden, noted that the people of the Commonwealth "should have confidence that their vote counts." He continued:
“A full forensic investigation is necessary for the sake of transparency and accountability. Those who have concerns about the integrity of the 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.”