Three Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers were in Arizona last week to check out that state’s Senate GOP partisan audit of the 2020 election.
In Arizona, a supporter of former President Donald Trump who has promoted election conspiracies is overseeing a hand recount of 2.1 million ballots from Maricopa County.
Trump and his allies claimed without evidence last year that his Arizona loss was marred by fraud. The Arizona Senate GOP used its subpoena power to get access to all ballots, counting machines and hard drives full of election data in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and 60% of Arizona’s voters.
The audit is being led by Cyber Ninjas, a small consulting firm with no prior election experience for a hand recount and analysis of vote-counting machines and data.
The effort will not change President Joe Biden’s victory. But it’s become a model for Republicans in other states hoping to turn up evidence supporting conspiracy theories.
Pennsylvania Sens. Doug Mastriano and Cris Dush and Rep. Rob Kauffman were among the 64 Republican legislators who signed a letter asking the state’s congressional delegation to object to Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes being cast for Joe Biden.
Several conservative extremists have visited Phoenix to promote the audit, including U.S. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz and Enrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys extremist group.
“It’s my belief that Arizona will be the launch pad for election audits and election integrity efforts all over this great country,” Gaetz said.
The GOP lawmakers are now calling for Pennsylvania to conduct an Arizona-style audit of the 2020 presidential election, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
Asked by a reporter if he wants to see the Arizona audit replicated in Pennsylvania, Dush said, “Without question. Absolutely.”
Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt (R) said on CNN’s “New Day” it was right to call out the Arizona audit for aiming to “reach a partisan political conclusion.”
“I know how important audits are. But what is going on in Arizona is not an audit. It is funded by partisan political benefactors, it is directed by partisan political operatives to reach a partisan political conclusion, which is ... not an audit,” Schmidt said.
Fortunately, the GOP lawmakers will have trouble getting anything through Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, who dismissed their trip to Arizona as an “effort to discredit the integrity of our elections” and “an insult to our county election workers and to Pennsylvania voters.”
Despite some baseless allegations from state Republican lawmakers, no county election board, prosecutor or state official has raised a concern over any sort of widespread election fraud in November’s election in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania does not need an Arizona-style partisan election audit based on conspiracy theories.