The Republican president of Pennsylvania’s state Senate said this week that hearings will kick off what he said would be a “thorough forensic audit” of the 2020 election.
Former President Donald Trump has claimed that although the state’s popular vote totals show President Joe Biden won the coveted swing state, there was fraud in the election. Although that claim has never been proven, the allegation has cast a pall over the state in the eyes of some lawmakers.
Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman on Monday told radio host Wendy Bell that hearings scheduled for this week would kick off the Senate’s investigation.
“We’re going to have some hearings this week to start the process,” Corman said, according to The Hill. “We can bring people in, we can put them under oath, right, we can subpoena records, and that’s what we need to do, that’s what we’re going to do.”
“The underhanded actions of our disgraced, now-former Secretary of State cast doubt upon the fairness of the process, and our new Acting Secretary has done everything in her power to shield that process from transparency. This includes undercutting the Senate’s clear legal authority to provide oversight of our elections in threatening to de-certify equipment reviewed by ‘third-parties,’” he wrote.
Is this audit necessary to learn what went wrong?
Veronica Degraffenreid, acting secretary of the commonwealth, has said counties should shun the GOP-led effort, according to The New York Times.
“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,” her office said in a statement last month.
But Corman said the system needs a review.
I shared my thoughts today about why a thoughtful, responsible forensic audit is the best way to restore faith in our elections and ensure our voting laws are fair. We don’t need rhetoric, we need results. Check out my op-ed below.https://t.co/WcPuxJtaDg
— Senator Jake Corman (@JakeCorman) August 23, 2021
“If we are going to give Pennsylvanians an election system they can believe in, we need to remove any doubt about whether the system is fair. That is why I announced recently the Pennsylvania Senate will conduct a thorough forensic audit of recent elections — including using our subpoena powers,” he wrote in his Op-Ed.
“This audit is intended to go much further than previous reviews mandated by state law, which have focused on whether the reported counts are ‘accurate.’ The goal of the Senate’s investigation will not be to conduct a recount, but to find any flaws in the system that could be exploited by bad actors and take action to correct those flaws through legislative changes to our Election Code,” wrote Corman, who has been in touch with officials in Arizona, where results of an audit are expected to be released soon.
Corman said Republican state Sen. Cris Dush will lead the investigation, and hinted that challenges are expected, stating “we must make sure our approach is legally sound.”
“Our goal should be to proceed carefully, thoughtfully and transparently. I am not interested in a process that panders to any one point of view. We need to follow the evidence wherever it leads and get real results to make our election system stronger and more secure,” he wrote.
In his radio interview, Corman said he’s not sure Biden’s win last fall reflects reality.
“I don’t necessarily have faith in the results. I think there were many problems in our election that we need to get to the bottom of,” Corman said. “The results are that he won by 80,000 votes. Now the Senate doesn’t have the authority to change those results. What we have the authority to do is go in and review those results.”
“Clearly, a lot of shenanigans, a lot of things went on in Pennsylvania that were not right, and clearly the people of Pennsylvania do not have confidence in the results, and that is a problem.”