WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the heels of Arizona’s embarrassing election audit results late last week proving what the public already knew — that there was no widespread voter fraud, Donald Trump lost the election, and Joe Biden won — government watchdog Accountable.US called on the politicians pushing for a similar dubious audit in Pennsylvania to explain why they want to continue wasting taxpayers’ time and money.
“The Republican sham ‘audit’ in Arizona was about keeping the Big Lie alive, plain and simple. By just calling for an audit, these lawmakers know it will inject doubt into the system and soothe the twice-impeached former president’s ego. As we saw in Arizona, even when an audit proves what we already knew — that Joe Biden won the 2020 Presidential Election — Trump and his allies won’t believe it. It is shameful that Pennsylvania partisans like Rob Kaufman, Doug Mastriano, and Cris Dush are still trying to go down the same tortured road at taxpayers’ expense,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “Haven’t they done enough damage to our democracy?”
Accountable.US recently released a report revealing that among the top corporate donors of the Pennsylvania politicians pushing for election audits and peddling baseless 2020 election conspiracies include those connected to extremist groups and with histories of anti-vaccine rhetoric.
The watchdog posed the following questions to the politicians pursuing audits in Pennsylvania:
- Even after the Arizona audit affirmed Joe Biden won the state, Donald Trump and his allies still won’t accept the results. Doesn’t this prove the audit was never about so-called ‘election integrity’ but pushing Trump’s Big Lie? Why are you continuing to push the Big Lie in Pennsylvania?
The results of Arizona’s election audit were clear: despite Republicans’ fear mongering and rampant efforts to spread disinformation, auditors found that Joe Biden actually won the 2020 Election by an even wider margin over Donald Trump than was previously known. Ultimately, the audit found that “‘[T]here were no substantial differences between the hand count of the ballots provided and the official canvass results for the County… and there is no reliable evidence that the paper ballots were altered to any material degree.’”
Despite this, Trump and his allies have barreled ahead with plans to further examine Arizona’s election results outside of Maricopa County and called for “better” audits in states including Pennsylvania, completely unphased by reality and unwilling to accept the audit’s results. For the twice-impeached former president’s supporters, actual evidence of voter fraud is secondary to their goal of keeping the Big Lie alive and in the public spotlight.
- Fulton County Election Board member Stuart Ulsh testified that “nothing was found” when he audited his county. Doesn’t this prove this audit is a sham meant only to inject doubt into the system?
At the beginning of Pennsylvania’s audit earlier this month, Fulton County Election Board member Stuart Ulsh — the only witness at a hearing to kick off the effort — repeatedly testified that “nothing was found” in the audit of his county pushed by Trump-supporting colleagues in his state. Even with this clear lack of evidence on which to base further action, the former president’s allies in Pennsylvania have continued to push for a wider audit.
Without any reasonable proof of fraud to fall back on, these politicians’ motivations are clear: continue spreading Trump’s Big Lie in order to further undermine our democracy.
- How much will this sham audit cost Pennsylvania taxpayers?
According to Forbes, in addition to the $5.7 million Trump-supporting groups shelled out to make the audit of Maricopa County votes happen, the Arizona state Senate allocated $150,000 for the project. With the voting machines subpoenaed by the Senate decertified and thus unusable for future elections, Maricopa County will also reportedly have to allocate an additional $2.8 million for new voting machines prior to the midterm elections next year. Reporting in the Arizona Republic shows that overall, taxpayers footed the bill for at least $425,000 of audit costs by early September.
Just like in Arizona, Pennsylvania taxpayers would foot the bill for a sham audit in their state, but the grand total is still to be determined. In order to supplement Pennsylvanians’ hard-earned money, the state’s Republicans could pull from a $66 million reserve account long maintained by the legislature — which BuzzFeed reports is “managed in secret, with no rules over how it can be used’ — to pay for the audit. Even worse, if the state complies with the ‘forensic investigation’ being pushed by State Senator Doug Mastriano, Philadelphia alone could have to spend a whopping $40 million to replace subpoenaed voting machines.
These audits aren’t cheap, and the taxpayer costs are quickly adding up. Politicians must explain exactly how much of Pennsylvanians’ hard-earned money they are willing to put towards a sham election audit to confirm the results of an election that are already known.
# # #