Reject call for election subpoenas

York Dispatch editorial board
A Facebook post showing state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Adams, and former GOP state lawmaker Rick Saccone at Wednesday's pro-Trump rally in Washington.

There are sore losers and then there are former President Donald Trump and Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano.

Nine months after the 2020 elections, seven months after the results were certified in Congress and six months after the new administration took office, they’re still peddling the fantasy that the vote was somehow fraudulent.

They’ve got no evidence, no argument and no shame. What they do have is plenty of gall and the support of mistaken or misinformed backers.

And Mastriano is hoping to ride both to convince the state’s Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, which he chairs, to subpoena elections equipment in York, Tioga and Philadelphia counties. Voting machines, hard copies of ballots, supplemental equipment — Mastriano wants to get his hands on all of it, for both the 2020 general election and the May 2021 primaries.

Why?

“We’re really interested in the outcome, whether our elections are free and fair,” he told his friends at a right-wing propaganda site.

Why would he think they were otherwise — other than that the biggest crybaby ever known to politics continues to say so?

A wave of failed post-election lawsuits is testament to the fact that there has been absolutely zero evidence of improprieties. Frankly, suggesting otherwise is an insult to the state’s elections officials, who navigated an influx of mail-in ballots, a public health crisis and no end of Republican headwind to pull off an all but flawless election.

Don’t take our word for it, here’s how the Republican-majority York County Board of Commissioners responded to Mastriano: “There were no indications that the County of York experienced any equipment issues or anomalies during either the General Election of 2020 or the Municipal Primary Election of 2021.”

While they were at it, the commissioners pointed out a number of other problems with Mastriano’s vainglorious subpoena suggestion:

  • The county underwent an independent audit requested by the Department of State that verified election results were accurate.
  • The jurisdiction of Mastriano’s committee to subpoena the records is questionable.
  • It’s not known what firm would conduct the so-called audit (only two are approved to do so by the state).
  • Mastriano’s make-believe audit would very likely result in decertification of the county’s voting machines, an unnecessary and expensive inconvenience.
  • There have been no provisions for paying for the process.
  • The time commitment needed to address the analysis would burden the county.

Good points, all. We’d add one more: There is absolutely no need to continue to mislead voters as to the outcome of the 2020 election, either in Pennsylvania or nationally.

Election workers in Philadelphia count ballots on Nov. 4, 2020. Republican lawmakers this week outlined a sweeping set of changes they hope to negotiate in time for next year’s elections.

President Joe Biden, it shouldn’t need repeating, defeated Trump handily in the popular vote (just as Hillary Rodham Clinton did in 2016) and in the Electoral College (where Clinton fell short). Dozens of lawsuits alleging otherwise have been dismissed by Republican-appointed judges up to and including the Trump-heavy Supreme Court. Allowing elected officials to access elections equipment so they can conduct partisan fishing expeditions further diminishes the voter confidence Republican lawmakers insincerely claim to defend.

For these reasons, for the reasons outlined by the county Board of Commissioners and for the good of representative democracy and the integrity of the ballot, the state Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee must summarily and handily reject their chairman’s imbecilic request for subpoenas.