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York County commissioners raise objections to state senator's call for 'forensic investigation' of 2020 election results

In a letter sent to State Sen. Doug Mastriano, commissioners Julie Wheeler, Doug Hoke, and Ron Smith questioned the legality of his demand and the cost to taxpayers.

YORK COUNTY, Pa. — Editor's note: The video is from June 10.

York County Commissioners this week sent a letter to the Pennsylvania State Senate calling for an Arizona-style "forensic investigation" of the 2020 presidential election pushed by former president Donald Trump, raising strenuous objections to his demand for access to the county's voting equipment and records.

In a letter sent Wednesday to State Senator Doug Mastriano, York County Commissioners Julie Wheeler, Doug Hoke, and Ron Smith questioned the legality of his demand and cited the potential cost to taxpayers and the lack of staff available to complete his proposed "forensic investigation."

The commissioners' letter also said such a process would likely lead to the decertification of the county's voting machines, noting that allowing unauthorized third-party access would be in violation of state guidelines and the contract with Dominion Voting Systems, which supplied the machines.

The commissioners pointed to Fulton County, which recently had its voting machines decertified after its commissioners agreed to a similar voluntary analysis requested by Mastriano.

"We are aware that the commissioners of Fulton County, Pennsylvania agreed to a similar voluntary analysis upon your request which was completed by Wake Technologies," the commissioners' letter states. "This analysis resulted in their vendor, Dominion, who is also our vendor, notifying the Dept. of State that Fulton County was in violation of the licensing agreement. This information is required to be shared with the Department and it has resulted in the decertification of the bulk of their equipment."

In the letter, the commissioners emphasized that they ran the election legally, securely, and transparently and that they completed the required county and state audits to confirm the accuracy of the election results. Also in the letter, the commissioners said that if the county's voting machines were decertified, it would cost taxpayers an estimated minimum of $2.7 million to replace them. 

"Not only is the cost of the analysis prohibitive, the potential loss of certification of the election equipment is a cost that our York County residents cannot sustain, nor should they be asked to do so," the letter says.

Mastriano, a Republican from Franklin County, is reportedly considering a run for governor and is a vocal supporter of the former president, who has claimed that the 2020 election was "rigged" against him and has called for legislators in Pennsylvania and other states where he narrowly lost to conduct audits of the results, the Associated Press reports. 

Last week's letter was the second time that Mastriano has requested an audit of York County's results. He also requested an audit of Tioga and Philadelphia counties' results; Tioga County has reportedly rejected that request. He also made his first request calling for York County commissioners to allow a voluntary analysis of the election results in December. 

The commissioners raised similar objections to that request in their response at that time, the letter states.

"In December 2020 you made a similar request of the Commissioners to permit a company that you had solicited, Allied Security Cooperation Group, along with Wake Technologies, to conduct a voluntary forensic analysis of the general election," the letter reads. "From the information you provided at that time, you indicated that the request was coming from the bipartisan committee that had been formed to explore election integrity issues."

The letter went on: "at the time of the request in December 2020, it was communicated to you that although two of the three commissioners had no objection to the request, there were significant concerns regarding the cost of the analysis, the time commitment related to the analysis, as well as concerns related to the pending litigation matters that involved Dominion, our voting equipment vendor."

The letter concluded: "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."

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