Private Briefing: Pennsylvania Audit Inches Closer to Reality
Two state senators in Arizona have let the cat out of the bag. Both have confirmed that the Maricopa County election audit results and the “official” results from last November show significant “discrepancies.” That means the numbers don’t match up. We all know why.
The official report from the audit won’t be released for another month or so. But the word is swirling inside Trump-supporting GOP circles. The battle space is being prepared, and the dominoes are about to start falling. Arizona will be the first – and now it looks like Pennsylvania will be the second.
As soon as the rumors from the Arizona senators went viral online, Pennsylvania state Senator Doug Mastriano called the Republicans in his committee into a private briefing. That briefing laid out the way that the Arizona forensic audit was performed, and the discussion included how a Pennsylvania audit could be paid for. They may not be able to fully fund a forensic audit without donations from the private sector. Much of the discussion was about the legal ramifications of doing a public-private partnership to do an audit in Pennsylvania.
That was how the Arizona audit was paid for, by the way. The GOP-led legislature kicked in $150,000 and took in a smaller amount in private sector donations to cover the rest. I don’t know the ins and outs of the Pennsylvania law on the matter, but I assume they need at least some taxpayer funds to go toward an audit in order to provide legal cover and legitimacy. And appropriating funds is harder to do in Pennsylvania than in Arizona, because Pennsylvania has a Democrat governor.
Mastriano went so far as to hire an attorney to give a legal opinion on the funding question during the briefing. The attorney said he has a high level of certainty that partially funding an audit through donations would withstand legal scrutiny. (He admitted that the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court was kind of a mixed bag on questions like this, though.)
Funding questions aside, good for Doug Mastriano for stepping up and doing this. You probably remember him from the hearing that Rudy Giuliani held in Pennsylvania on the fraud that took place after November 3rd. Mastriano chaired that hearing.
When Giuliani noted that a batch of 600,000 ballots poured in during the middle of the night without election observers around, Mastriano asked how many of those ballots were cast for Donald Trump. When Giuliani replied, “3,200,” the entire room erupted in raucous laughter.
It’s a statistical impossibility for a Republican candidate to receive just 0.005% of the votes in a batch of ballots that size. Even in liberal Washington, DC, where Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden pulled in north of 90% of the votes in the last two presidential contests, Trump still got around 5 or 6% of the votes.
But 0.005%? It’s an insult to everyone’s intelligence to pretend that was not fraud, or that Pennsylvania’s election was perfect and totally above-board.
A few weeks ago we all thought that Georgia would be the second domino to fall after Arizona, but things have slowed to a crawl in that state. The Fulton County, GA ballots were going to be unsealed and inspected in June. Then that got pushed back by a lawsuit. The judge ruled in favor of the audits, but the ballots are still locked in a warehouse awaiting… something. We don’t have a date for when the ballots will be unsealed for inspection.
That inspection is based on the sworn affidavits of non-partisan election workers who said – under oath – that the mail-in ballots they examined back in November didn’t have any creases in them. They also noted that the ballots looked like there were on the wrong kind of paper stock, and they looked like they had been run through a Xerox machine. They testified to seeing thousands of ballots that looked like this, with only the oval for “Joe Biden” marked.
The frustration level for all of us is through the roof about this. How long does it take to open up some boxes and check to see whether the ballots look legit, or if they do in fact look like fake photocopies? Apparently, it takes months, when you have “Republicans” in charge like Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
At any rate, the way that things have slowed to a crawl in Georgia makes it look like Pennsylvania will beat them to the punch in examining their results. And the sooner that the Arizona auditors release their final report, the better. That’s when a whole bunch of states are going to need to audit their results, because the clamor from the public will become too overwhelming for them to contain.