One day after beginning a partisan forensic audit of Pennsylvania’s 2020 election, the state Senate’s top Republican is calling on a key Senate panel to issue subpoenas to the Pennsylvania Department of State.
Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman said the Department of State’s failure to appear before the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee during the panel’s first audit-related hearing on Thursday necessitates the use of subpoenas.
“Yesterday’s hearing was an important first step in the process of investigating every aspect of our election system, but it will not be the last,” Corman said in a statement. “Pennsylvanians deserve answers about the Wolf administration’s mishandling of our election.”
Corman called on the committee, which is led by state Sen. Cris Dush, to subpoena the department for “information and testimony.” He also asked the committee to “to take other steps necessary to get access to ballots and other voting materials to begin a full forensic audit of the 2020 General Election.”
Corman’s call for subpoenas comes one day after the Intergovernmental Operations Committee held its first hearing as part of an expansive review into the 2020 general election. The committee heard testimony from Stuart Ulsh, chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, who revealed that a third-party audit agreed to by the county revealed no instances of voter fraud in the 2020 general election.
The Department of State, however, did not testify before the committee. A spokesperson for the department did not immediately return a request for comment.
Senate Democrats have criticized the Republican-led audit at every turn. Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa has alleged that the Intergovernmental Operations Committee lacks the legal authority to conduct a review of elections and has called the use of the committee for a partisan audit a “bastardization” of the committee process.
Following Thursday’s hearing, Costa said it revealed that the Department of State “did their due diligence in effectively communicating with counties about new voting procedures as a result of Act 77 of 2019 and the further implications of an unprecedented global pandemic.”
Costa said in a statement that Corman’s call for subpoenas “is shocking and a blatant disregard of a voter’s constitutional right that their ballot is secret.”
“The Senate Republicans announcement completely contradicts what their own committee chairman stated on the record yesterday about how this is not about the rehashing last year’s election, but rather looking forward to see what needs to be changed in our state election laws,” Costa said. “This is their latest attempt to disenfranchise voters and undermine the integrity of our electoral system.”
Corman, in his statement, said he is hoping to convene the committee on Monday, Sept. 13 to issue subpoenas. He said Dush and the committee have his “full cooperation in achieving these goals.”