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All eyes turn to Pennsylvania after Arizona's 'audit' affirmed Biden's presidential victory

Andrew Seidman and Jonathan Lai, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Political News

But he told The Philadelphia Inquirer the review in Harrisburg is “Pennsylvania-specific.”

“I’m not looking to Arizona,” he said. “If we learn some things after they’re completed, that might be helpful, we’ll certainly find out.”

—Didn’t Pennsylvania already audit the election results?

Yes. State law requires Pennsylvania counties to review a random sample of at least 2% of all ballots or 2,000 ballots, whichever is fewer, to ensure they were tallied correctly. Those audits were completed last year before the Pennsylvania secretary of state certified Biden’s victory, and they were accessible to the public.

In addition, 63 of the state’s 67 counties participated in what’s known as a “risk-limiting” audit, a gold-standard method in which election workers hand recount a random sample of ballots and compare the tabulations to the overall vote count recorded by machines.

The audit of more than 45,000 randomly selected ballots was completed in February. The sample matched the certified results within a fraction of 1 percentage point, further confirming the election’s accuracy.

Grayson said it’s too late to conduct a new audit.

“One of the most important things is to do it at the right time,” he said. “The election has been certified. There’s really nothing that can be done right now.”

—Why are Republicans doing this?

 

They say their constituents have concerns about the election. Trump and his supporters have also publicly pressured GOP leaders to undertake an Arizona-style “forensic investigation.”

“My constituents — I say this all the time — have been outraged. ... Their questions have gone unanswered,” State Sen. Judy Ward, a Blair Republican, said in September. “They want us to look at the process. It is paramount to our democratic process. We must restore their trust and the trust of all Pennsylvanians.”

But Republican voters’ concerns about the election have largely been fueled by Trump’s lies about it being somehow rigged or otherwise illegitimate. And his supporters are a potent political force on the right, turning baseless election conspiracy theories into mainstream political issues.

It’s trickled down to the local level. Kathy Barnette, an unsuccessful GOP congressional candidate from Montgomery County, spent months hunting for voter fraud in the Philadelphia suburbs. Now she’s running for U.S. Senate. And a small town in the Lehigh Valley illegally tried to ban mail voting, an effort led by a township supervisor who attended Trump’s Jan. 6 rally in Washington that preceded the deadly Capitol riot.

—What are the stated objectives?

Republicans say they are performing their legislative oversight function and want to find out if anything went wrong, improve state law and restore voters’ confidence in the process.

“One of two things will happen,” Corman said during a September hearing. “Either we will find things where we can better improve our laws, or we will find nothing, and that will then dispel a lot of people’s concerns, and we all can be more confident in our system moving forward.”

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