A deeply divided Pennsylvania state House on Thursday voted to approve a Republican-sponsored measure that sets up a near-immediate audit of the 2020 election, citing inconsistencies and confusion in the electorate as evidence the process must be improved for future elections in the state.
The chamber voted 112 to 90 for a resolution that told the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, or a contractor it will hire, to conduct the audit and report back by early February.
Republicans argued they were responding to constituents who were confused by some of the procedures as the state conducted a high-turnout election during a pandemic and under greatly expanded mail-in voting eligibility.
Democratic arguments that the measure should be revised or was unconstitutional were defeated by the GOP majority.
“There is no need to fear this audit. I welcome it. We all should welcome it, to find out what went right and what went wrong,” said Bedford County Rep. Jesse Topper, the prime sponsor of the resolution.
The resolution does not require approval by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf or the state Senate. There is no limit on how much the committee can spend on the study.
Separately, the Department of State plans another “risk limiting” audit under a pilot program to apply statistical tools that will measure the election’s accuracy and check for possible interference.
This second audit is to involve data from every county.
Democrats attacked the proposal, calling it unconstitutional, damaging to democracy and unnecessary.
Mr. Wolf issued a written statement by email during the debate, saying any audit done by this approach would be “incomplete, duplicative and unreliable.”
It is BELIEVED that this move by the State Legislature, will prevent Pennsylvania from sending ELectors to the Electoral College for its meeting on December 14. If this is correct, twenty electoral votes from Pennsylvania may not be cast.
HOWEVER, the State Legislature could choose to vote ITSELF on a slate of Electors to send.
The US Constitution clearly grants to "state legislatures" the authority to make election laws and to send Electors.
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