Pennsylvania fights forensic audit, ‘third party’ access to electronic voting machines

by WorldTribune Staff, July 12, 2021

The Democrat-led Pennsylvania Department of State is fighting efforts by Republican state senators to conduct a forensic audit of the 2020 election.

The Department of State on Thursday issued a directive that prevents third parties from accessing county voting systems after Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano had announced on Wednesday that he will investigate the Pennsylvania election system, for both 2020 and 2021 elections.

“Demands have been made to allow third-party entities not directly involved with the conduct of elections to have access to electronic voting systems, specifically to review and copy the internal electronic, software, mechanical, logic, and related components of such systems,” the Pennsylvanian State Department directive stated.

The directive adds that if any of Pennsylvania’s county boards of elections “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,” that “those pieces of voting equipment will be considered no longer secure or reliable to use in subsequent elections. As a result, the Department of State will withdraw the certification or use authority for those pieces of the county voting system.”

If the state withdraws certification or use authority for electronic voting systems, it “will not reimburse any cost of replacement voting equipment.”

Mastriano, chairperson of the Pennsylvania Senate’s Intergovernmental Operations Committee, visited the Maricopa County, Arizona election audit in June with other Republican state legislators. The Arizona audit employed four out-of-state companies to conduct its forensic audit of the Maricopa ballots.

“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,” the Pennsylvania directive contends.

“It also jeopardizes the security and integrity of those systems and will negate the ability of electronic voting system vendors to affirmatively state that such systems continue to meet Commonwealth security standards, are validated as not posing security risks, and are able to be certified to perform as designed by the electronic voting system vendor and as certified by both the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the Department of State.”

In a statement responding to the directive, Republican state Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman said, “The Department of State’s directive is an attack on the General Assembly’s power to review, investigate, and legislate in matters within its legislative authority, which includes Pennsylvania’s election system.

“The Legislature has clear authority – both statutorily and constitutionally – to provide oversight and issue subpoenas. This directive tramples those rights which were specifically put in place to prevent potential abuses and overreach by the Executive Branch.”

Mastriano has sent letters to Philadelphia, York, and Tiago counties as part of an Arizona-style inquiry looking for evidence of fraud. He set a deadline of July 31, threatened to pursue subpoenas if they don’t comply, and said other counties could be added depending on what is found.

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