Pa. county won’t offer up voting machines to Mastriano ‘election audit’

Chester County election workers sort, inspect, flatten and scan mail in ballots at the West Chester University gym.

Chester County election workers sort, inspect, flatten and scan mail in ballots at the West Chester University gym. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

One of three counties targeted by a Pennsylvania state lawmaker for an Arizona-style “forensic investigation” of the state’s 2020 presidential election sought by former President Donald Trump will not allow third-party access to its voting machines.

The three commissioners in rural Republican-controlled Tioga County made the decision.

The county’s solicitor, Christopher Gabriel, said Wednesday that the thrust of state Sen. Doug Mastriano’s request for cooperation for his undertaking — under the threat of a subpoena — involves access to Tioga County’s voting machines.

But, Gov. Tom Wolf’s top election official, Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid, told counties that the state would decertify any election equipment that is subject to any such third-party access, rendering it useless in an election.

The state would not reimburse a county for the cost to replace the equipment, she told counties last week.

“We can’t be in a position where we don’t have the election machines, because we have to run the next election, these are extremely expensive machines and our position is we need to follow the direction that the secretary has given us,” Gabriel said.

The commissioners’ chairman, Roger Bunn, said the county had audited the 2020 presidential election, according to requirements in state law, and had found no problems with it before certifying the results.

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