Election officials in Fulton County, Pennsylvania are defending their decision to conduct an audit of the 2020 election in their jurisdiction and their right to continue use of their voting machines.

Attorneys from Dillon, McCandless, King, Coulter & Graham LLP who are affiliated with an election-integrity nonprofit known as the Amistad Project, will be handling the case for the small county of about 14,500 residents, situated about 90 miles southwest of Harrisburg. Fulton is the only county to commission an audit of its voting equipment in the wake of last November’s election in which Joe Biden officially received 3,458,229 Pennsylvania votes to Donald Trump’s 3,377,674, or 1.17 percent more.

State legislators from the region, including Senators Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg) and Judy Ward (R-Altoona), made the initial request that Fulton County conduct an audit of its voting machines. 

In July, after the county permitted a software company, West Chester-based Wake TSI, to inspect the voting devices, Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid decertified the machines. Degraffenreid objected to the examination of the equipment by a firm she said had “no knowledge or expertise in election technology,” alleging a violation of state law. 

Degraffenreid, who was appointed secretary of the commonwealth by Governor Tom Wolf (D) in February when then-Secretary Kathy Boockvar (D) resigned, is not allotting state funds to Fulton County to either purchase or lease new voting machines. 

Phill Kline, director of The Amistad Project, denounced Degraffenreid’s action as well as a recent suggestion by the U.S. Department of Justice that local politicians may be prosecuted if they proceed with election audits.

“It’s concerning that we see what is apparently a nationally coordinated effort to intimidate local government from participating with the legislature in understanding what happened,” Kline said. “This is particularly remarkable because the legislature, not the executive branch, has the constitutional responsibility and duty to manage elections.”

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Bradley Vasoli is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to bradvasoliwriter@gmail.com.
Photo “Ballot Machine” by OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. CC BY-SA 2.0.