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Pa. Vote Count

On Tuesday, Republican state lawmakers called for an audit of the general election, citing concerns from constituents.

Two days later, Republicans from the state’s senate government and house government committees said they are preparing to launch investigations into the process of the election.

“I’ve heard a lot of concerns from constituents,” said Lou Schmitt, Republican representative for Pennsylvania’s 79th district. “Not just here, but across Pennsylvania and, in fact, from across the United States of America.”

Schmitt was one of several republican lawmakers requesting an audit of the general election Tuesday.

He said he does not want to detail specific allegations of potential voter fraud he’s received, saying they have not been proven and require more investigation.

“I do feel it’s necessary to go back and take a look at these issues, to determine whether in fact this election did have integrity,” Schmitt said.

“There are many measures in place to keep the system secure,” said Scott Conklin, Democratic state representative for PA District 77. “As far as people coming to me saying that there were any irregularities, no one has come to me.”

Conklin hailed election officials in the state and in the region, saying Centre County commissioners should be applauded for their handling of the vote.

He said the audit is a good opportunity for his colleagues to educate themselves.

“I can tell you that the elections process is very secure and very fair,” Conklin said. “What’s most important is that those individuals who don’t understand that process, need to be involved and learn how it works. I’m hoping that they actually take the initiative and go into the county and talk to the Democrat and Republican commissioners who were overseeing this election, talk to those individuals on the election board.”

Schmitt said the Pennsylvania House Government Committee, of which he is a member, is launching a separate investigation into the election.

The Pennsylvania Senate Government Committee is also opening a review.

Both, Schmitt said, could begin as early as next week.

“It will not in any way interfere or intervene with regard to the outcome of the election. This is a process driven investigation and a process driven review,” Schmitt said. “We are going to be calling witnesses, reviewing documents and we are going to be investigating every aspect of the election process.”

Despite the impending audit and investigations, Republican lawmakers, many of whom were elected or re-elected according to the general election results in question, selected party leadership on Tuesday.

The move prompted criticism from Democrats.

“That’s a legitimate question and I’ll give the same answer the Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler gave and that is we are investigating the process. The outcome is going to be what the outcome is going to be,” Schmitt said. “As long as we are sure that the process worked the way it was supposed to, then we will accept the outcome.”

Republican State Senator Judy Ward said she looks forward to being an active participant in the senate government committee’s planned review and ensuring faith in the election system is restored.

Governor Tom Wolf took to Twitter Thursday, saying state and county officials “provided a free, fair and secure election.”

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