by WorldTribune Staff, July 13, 2021
Pennsylvania Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano issued a statement on July 12 in response to attempts by the administration of Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro to obstruct a forensic investigation of the 2020 general election and 2021 primary. He wrote:
On Friday [July 9], the Acting Secretary of State [Veronica Degraffenreid] 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.
Even worse, the directive stated that counties would be forced to pay for new voting system equipment and prevented from seeking reimbursement from the State Department.
The General Assembly is in fact directly involved in the manner and conduct of elections across the Commonwealth as it is responsible for reforming and amending all election laws.
Nowhere in statute is the Secretary of State mandated to make a predictive finding, automatically retire voting systems after third party access, and force counties to pay for that decision.
The authority of such a directive from the “Acting” Secretary is also in question as she has yet to go before the Senate to be officially confirmed. The inclination of the Acting Secretary to act outside of the scope of her constitutional powers is deeply concerning and will certainly be considered during her confirmation process.
Mastriano added that “the scare tactics last week did not just emanate from the Acting Secretary.” He noted that “Attorney General Shapiro has made numerous tv appearances and social media statements to threaten costly legal action and make baseless claims about how much an investigation would cost to taxpayers.”
Mastriano criticized Shapiro for dereliction of duty for failing to probe genuine concerns, including “investigating sworn affidavits from the 2020 November election.” He also mentioned “the Wolf Administration’s contact tracing data breach which exposed the personal health data of over 72,000 Pennsylvanians” the administration’s inability to offer “actual solutions to stem the rising tide of violent crime in PA cities,” and Shapiro’s unwillingness to stand up the to the agendas of “progressive district attorneys” or investigate “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.”
Mastriano accused Wolf and Shapiro of “scare tactics” designed “to intimidate county officials and obstruct a forensic investigation.” By so doing, he said, the two are “are standing in the way of the constitutional authority of the General Assembly.”
He reasserted his resolve that the committee “will press forward in the pursuit of a forensic investigation.”
The statement comes on the heels of Mastriano’s July 8 op-ed in which he announced the initiation of an investigation of Pennsylvania’s forensic audit of the problematic 2020 presidential election results.
The senator noted pressing concerns for restoring trust in the state’s voting processes, as “40 percent of Pennsylvania voters are not confident that the results of the 2020 Election accurately reflected how Pennsylvanians voted.”
Mastriano said the investigation is “not about overturning the results of either election.” Rather, “the goals are to restore faith in the integrity of our system, confirm the effectiveness of existing legislation on the governance of elections, and identify areas for legislative reform.”