Pennsylvania Senate GOP edges toward Arizona-style election audit
A top Pennsylvania Republican says he supports an audit of the state’s presidential election results similar to a review being conducted in Arizona, raising the potential for other states to spend taxpayer money investigating former President Trump’s false claims of improprieties and fraud.
Pennsylvania state Sen. David Argall (R), who heads the Senate State Government Committee that has oversight of election administration, told reporters he supports another look at the Pennsylvania results.
“It’s a very careful recount, forensic audit, so yeah, I don’t see the danger in it,” Argall said during a forum with reporters from Spotlight PA, a consortium of media companies from across the state. “I just think that it would not be a bad idea at all to proceed with an audit similar to what they’re doing in Arizona.”
Argall, a political scientist who teaches at Penn State Schuylkill, acknowledged two other audits of Pennsylvania’s votes that have already taken place and which confirmed President Biden’s victory in the perennial swing state.
But he said he would back yet another count as a way to address the mistrust in election results he hears from constituents in his home district.
“I am not hung up on how exactly the audit is completed. I just think that we should complete one,” he said. “I think it needs to be independent. I think there is going to be mistrust if the same people who conducted the election conduct the audit.”
Biden carried Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes by a margin of more than 80,000 votes, or more than 1 percentage point, a wider margin than Trump’s victory there in 2016. Biden won 3.45 million votes in Pennsylvania, more than any presidential contender in the commonwealth’s history.
Trump has repeatedly pushed Republicans to conduct audits of election results in states he lost. In a statement last week, Trump criticized both Argall and state Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R) for their inaction.
“Why is State Senator Jake Corman of Pennsylvania fighting so hard that there not be a Forensic Audit of the 2020 Presidential Election Scam? Corman is fighting as though he were a Radical Left Democrat, saying that a Forensic Audit of Pennsylvania not take place,” Trump said in the statement. “Why is Senator David Argall playing the same game? Are they stupid, corrupt, or naive?”
A spokesman for Corman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday morning.
The Republican-controlled state House in Pennsylvania has rejected any potential audit, and Corman has been coy about the prospects of the state Senate funding its own count. Argall’s committee has subpoena power, but funding an audit would likely require the legislature to approve an appropriation.
Republican legislators from at least 10 states have visited Arizona to observe the state Senate-ordered audit of votes cast in Maricopa County. That audit has been riddled with allegations of security lapses and wild conspiracy theories, and auditors have not claimed to have found any wrongdoing.
Some of those legislators have returned home to states like Georgia, Utah and Michigan demanding their own audits.
At least one Pennsylvania legislator, state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R), who also participated in the Jan. 6 rally that led to the Capitol insurrection in Washington, was among the political tourists observing the count.