Pennsylvania

‘Audit the Vote' in Pa.? One GOP State Senator Won't Give Up on '20 Presidential Election

Doug Mastriano, a former Army colonel who is one of the Pennsylvania's biggest Trumpers, visited Arizona last week to see the efforts undermining democracy there. He wants the same thing here, but faces long odds.

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President-elect Joe Biden on Monday delivered remarks following the Electoral College’s certification of his victory over President Donald Trump. He commented on Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results. “It is my sincere hope that we never again see anyone subjected to the kinds of threats and abuse we saw in this election,” Biden said.

Doug Mastriano was a little known Pennsylvania state senator newly elected to his first term in office when he began challenging the 2020 presidential election of President Joe Biden.

The retired Army colonel who represents parts of four counties surrounding Gettysburg near the state border with Maryland made a name for himself in a notorious way: he was among the crowd at the U.S. Capitol riots on Jan. 6. He also paid for buses to bring fellow Pennsylvanians to Washington that day.

Some Pennsylvania Democratic lawmakers called for his resignation, but their indignation did nothing to stop his rising support from conservatives. In recent weeks, he has showed an interest in running for governor in 2022.

Last week, he was one of three state lawmakers to go to Arizona to check in on an ongoing refutation by some Republican legislators of Trump's loss to Biden there.

"The AZ Forensic Election Audit is the most comprehensive election audit in the history of United States," Mastriano said in a press release Wednesday. "Transparency is a must in our republic. Every citizen should be confident that their vote counts."

Julio Cortez/AP
State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, attends a hearing of the Pennsylvania State Senate Majority Policy Committee in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Nov. 25, 2020.

There is no evidence of voter fraud in Arizona or Pennsylvania, but that is not stopping Mastriano from continuing his crusade to push the Trump myth that the former president was robbed of the 2020 election.

He said over the weekend that he doesn't want a recount in Pennsylvania, but would like a forensic audit of the election. It is not clear what he is asking for beyond the certifications already conducted by each county in Pennsylvania, as is required by law.

Mastriano did not return messages seeking comment for this story.

"If they were as good as Governor Wolf and (Attorney General) Josh Shapiro says they are, fantastic, and then the people in the state will say, 'I have faith there wasn’t a problem,'" Mastriano said while speaking at an event in Harrisburg on Saturday, according to a local news station.

Both Wolf and Shapiro have rejected any notion that Biden didn't win Pennsylvania by a healthy margin. It was larger than Trump's victory in the state four years earlier over then Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

A Republican elections official in Philadelphia also rejected Mastriano's recent assertions that the 2020 results needed further scrutiny.

A Republican colleague of Mastriano's in the state legislature, Rep. Seth Grove, who oversees election law as chairman of the State Government Committee, said the House would not be revisiting the 2020 election result.