- Pennsylvania state Sen. Dan Laughlin criticized a GOP-led 2020 election audit in an op-ed.
- “Donald Trump lost Pennsylvania because Donald Trump received fewer votes,” he wrote.
- Biden defeated Trump in Pennsylvania by 1%, or roughly 80,000 votes out of 6.9 million ballots cast.
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A GOP lawmaker in Pennsylvania is criticizing his party’s efforts to push a “forensic” audit of the 2020 statewide election results that saw President Joe Biden defeat former President Donald Trump.
In a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review op-ed that ran on Thursday, state Sen. Dan Laughlin of Erie County spoke out against an investigation of the election results, emphasizing that such a probe would be conducted “absent credible evidence of fraud” and would “only further the paranoid atmospherics, poisoning both parties.”
“The current attempt to discredit the 2020 election results runs headlong into an unmistakable truth,” Laughlin wrote. “While Donald Trump narrowly lost Pennsylvania, the same ballots secured Republican control of the state Senate and House, sent several incumbent Democrats packing, and did so amid record turnout and an expanded voting franchise.”
He added: “Donald Trump lost Pennsylvania because Donald Trump received fewer votes.”
Laughlin rebuked the efforts of conservative state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who has been the leading force behind a potential audit in the Keystone State that has Trump’s blessing.
Mastriano met with Trump earlier this summer at Trump Tower in Manhattan and traveled to Arizona to meet with GOP lawmakers and tour the audit site. The senator has sought to inspect voting equipment through a “forensic” audit, modeling the investigation after the GOP-led probe in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous jurisdiction.
In the op-ed, Laughlin rebuked the Arizona audit, saying that the process “undermined public trust.”
“An outside vendor with a preconceived position was asked to ‘audit’ the ballots and equipment,” he wrote. “The only credible result has been an undermined public trust in democracy and a cost of millions of dollars to taxpayers who must now replace voting machines that were decertified because a third party had tinkered with them.”
Trump, who pushed debunked election conspiracy theories well before the 2020 election, said in June that GOP leaders who weren’t lined up behind him were “stupid, corrupt, or naïve” and “will be primaried and lose by big numbers.”
Mastriano initiated an investigation last month, requesting access to the ballot machines in Philadelphia, Tioga, and York counties. While Philadelphia is one of the most Democratic jurisdictions in the entire county, consistently delivering massive margins for the party’s statewide candidates, Tioga and York are dominated by Republicans.
To date, none of the counties have complied, despite Mastriano’s threat of a subpoena if the officials didn’t turn over machines by July 31.
Pennsylvania already completed a narrow “risk-limiting audit” of the 2020 election, with counties auditing a selection of votes; there was no evidence of the sort of widespread fraud alleged by Trump.
Biden bested Trump in the Keystone State by a little over 1% of the vote, or roughly 80,000 votes out of 6.9 million ballots cast.