Pennsylvania Republican state Sen. Dan Laughlin on Thursday voiced opposition to auditing the 2020 election results in his state, becoming the first state GOP official to publicly call for an end to that attempt.
Laughin said that efforts to investigate Donald Trump’s defeat in the Pennsylvania election results are being carried out without “credible evidence of fraud”. The senator added in an op-ed that this will not change the outcome of the election.
“The current attempt to discredit the 2020 election results runs headlong into an unmistakable truth,” wrote Laughlin, a centre-right Republican from Erie County. “Donald Trump lost Pennsylvania because Donald Trump received fewer votes.”
As reported by Reuters, his view represents a public disagreement with Republican State Senator Doug Mastriano from within his own party. Mastriano has called for a thorough “forensic” investigation that includes inspection of voting equipment, modeled on a contentious partisan investigation underway in Maricopa County, Arizona.
Mastriano, who has been an important promoter of Trump’s baseless stolen-election claims, launched the investigation earlier this month with requests to Tioga, Philadelphia, and York counties for access to their voting machines.
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Tioga and York have indicated they will not comply after the state’s top election official said she would decertify their voting equipment, costing taxpayers millions of dollars. Philadelphia is also expected to reject Mastriano’s request.
Pennsylvania has already made a so-called risk-limiting audit of the 2020 elections. Every county audited a sample of their votes. Neither attempt revealed widespread fraud that would call into question Trump’s loss to Biden in the state by 81,000 votes.
Mastriano, considered as a potential contender for governor in 2022, has said he would issue subpoenas to the counties, a move they will likely challenge in court.
In turn, Laughlin has stated that efforts to “rummage through already counted ballots while employing statistical tricks” in an attempt to find fraud would only negatively impact the Republican party and aid Democrats in fundraising.