Ditch ‘audit’ along with Mastriano

York Dispatch editorial board
editorial cartoon for Monday, Aug. 30

Give Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman credit for removing conservative firebrand state Sen. Doug Mastriano from a Republican-led “election integrity” effort in Pennsylvania.

Then give him hell for not deep-sixing the effort entirely. The so-called “audit” is unnecessary, destructive and insulting to the millions of Pennsylvania residents who cast ballots in the 2020 election.

Corman told the Associated Press he’s had “many frustrations” with Mastriano.

Welcome to the club.

More:Pa. Senate leader Jake Corman resisted his pro-Trump wing. Now he wants a MAGA makeover.

More:Mastriano demotion reflects old-fashioned Pa. hardball politics

More:Hearings in Pennsylvania election 'investigation' to begin, senator says

More:In Capital-Star Q&A, Seth Grove makes what CNN calls a 'stunning revelation' about election fraud

The Franklin County Republican, who represents a small part of York County, has been a reliable cheerleader for former President Donald Trump and his baseless accusations that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. As such, he is hardly the sort of disinterested party who should be anywhere near an elections review, even if one were needed (which it’s not).

Unfortunately, neither should Mastriano’s replacement, state Sen. Cris Dush, R-Bradford.

Like Mastriano, Dush:

  • Has relentlessly echoed the “stolen-election” fabrication;
  • Traveled to Arizona to review the partisan and widely discredited “forensic audit” Republicans orchestrated there; and
  • Was among Pennsylvania Republicans who sought to overturn the state’s presidential election results by having the GOP-led General Assembly seat electors friendly to Trump in place of those reflecting the will of the voters.

Dush isn’t the spotlight-seeker Mastriano is (and by “spotlight,” we refer to the far-right media glare of websites like Newsmax and One America News Network, whose association with legitimate news ends with the mis-use of the noun in their names). But he is as reliably anti-democratic.

Even absent involvement in legislative Republicans’ so-called election integrity efforts, Mastriano maintains a public platform via the support of two local election-denial groups, Audit the Vote PA and Free PA, as well as on social media. As a result, he and the unfortunate, unscrupulous campaign to discredit the 2020 election aren’t going anywhere.

More:‘This is a war’: Doug Mastriano's ties to election deniers and the Jan. 6 insurrection

Same in the Senate, sad to say. After Mastriano slammed Corman for obstructing audit efforts — and his like-minded minions followed suit on social media — the Senate majority leader pledged allegiance anew to the charade.

“I’m a hundred percent on board with this,” he said of the effort on Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s online broadcast. “The people of Pennsylvania need to have results of what happened.”

This is getting tiresome. The people of Pennsylvania have had “results of what happened” since the Saturday after Election Day. Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump in a clean, fair and remarkably problem-free election despite a surge of (perfectly legal) mail-in ballots necessitated by a raging pandemic. Those results have been certified numerous times and have withstood several legal challenges, including in decisions handed down by Trump-appointed judges.

What’s so infuriating is that Corman knows this, as do a majority of the Republicans who either parrot Trumpian cries of fraud or quietly abide their party mates doing so. Trump’s own attorney general — no slouch when it came to doing the president’s bidding — confirmed there was no evidence of widespread fraud. Trump administration national security officials went so far as the call the election “the most secure in history,” adding that, “there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

Enough already! Enough with conspiracy theories designed to undermine public confidence in the electoral process. Enough with costly and blatantly biased phony audits. Enough with magnifying lies that insult voters, state elections workers and the intelligence of the general public.

Without a shred of evidence that suggests any kind of audit is needed in Pennsylvania, it’s not enough that Corman booted Mastriano. He needs to bring the curtain down on the rest of this tired, sorry farce.