Pennsylvania GOP's election probe is an unnecessary and wasteful fool's errand – GoErie.com
It might be Thanksgiving Week, but Harrisburg Republicans are treating people like it’s April Fools’ Day.
After the 2020 election — the highest turnout election in the history of our commonwealth, conducted openly, counted fairly and independently audited and confirmed — politicians seeking to curry favor with former President Donald Trump’s most extreme supporters cranked up the propaganda machine.
Even if most elected Republicans didn’t believe the Big Lie of a stolen election, their inaction to combat it is shattering peoples’ faith in democracy. One top Republican in the Pennsylvania Senate has suggested she only questioned the election because she was afraid of Trump supporters “bombing her house” if she didn’t.
Dozens of lawmakers signed a letter demanding that votes of millions of people be thrown out despite zero evidence of fraud. Those lies fueled a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, an act of domestic terrorism designed to end American democracy as we know it.
Thanks to the many brave Capitol police officers and congressional staffers, this would-be coup failed.
What they couldn’t take by force they then tried to take in the courts, spending nearly $2 million taxpayer dollars trying to find a way to undo the will of the people.
More:Gov. Tom Wolf: Republicans’ election lies are tearing our commonwealth apart
As extremist politicians attempted to find new ways to make it harder to vote and make it easier to throw out the votes the GOP didn’t want counted, a new front opened up — the “forensic audit.”
More:Guest Opinion: Pennsylvania has real problems. Election integrity is not one of them.
Despite an audit attempt in Arizona turning into a national laughingstock as an unqualified company searched for secret bamboo threads in ballots and countless dollars wasted, the “fraudit” did nothing more than affirm the results. In fact, it even found Trump lost by more votes than originally thought.
Claims of “widespread voter fraud” in Pennsylvania came down to one Republican trying to vote Trump for his dead mother, another Republican trying to vote Trump for his dead mother, and one Republican trying to vote Trump a second time disguised as his son — all of whom were caught.
Undaunted, the GOP-controlled House and Senate held dozens of hearings, ignored the testimony of experts at those hearings, have tried to pass two bills restricting voting rights and now are charging taxpayers nearly $300,000 to start their own audit. They have hired a company formed about a year ago.
We don’t know how much it will cost to replace voting machines that might be damaged or destroyed in the investigation effort. In Arizona, the Washington Post reported that cost at almost $3 million — in one county. The Pennsylvania GOP is looking into auditing every county.
That is money that could be going to better internet connections, better schools or literally anything else that provides Pennsylvania families with what they need.
House Democrats have moved on. Instead of looking backward, we’re presenting solutions to improve our democracy, not ruin it. As chair of the House Policy Committee, I worked with my colleagues on Defending Democracy — a project that began after two Policy Committee Hearings that secured feedback from state officials, bipartisan county election officials, members of Congress, professors, and experts on hate speech in order to improve our election process.
Under this project, 20 lawmakers have introduced more than 30 bills and amendments that reflect feedback from county election workers to improve our processes.
We’re committed to defending democracy and we are being open and honest about how we think it can be improved.
Enough is enough and it’s time to end this fool’s errand, no more taxpayer money going to a fraudit of an election that was the most secure in history.
It’s a fool’s errand, and it’s time to stop wasting your tax dollars on it.
Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-3rd Dist., represents a portion of Erie County.