On Friday, Philadelphia election officials voted unanimously to reject Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano's request for access to city voting machines for the forensic investigation he has initiated.
The denial of the request could set the stage for a legal battle.
The Philadelphia City Commissioners, the board responsible for the rejection, is made up of two Democrats and one Republican. After holding the vote at a public meeting, Chairwoman Lisa Deeley wrote a letter to Mastriano, according to U.S. News, saying that the 2020 election was ''secure, fair, and free from interference'' and that his inquiry could cost taxpayers $35 million because it would lead to the decertification of voting machines.
''In addition to being costly,'' Deeley wrote, ''replacing the voting system and equipment would likely take over a year. This would render it impossible for Philadelphia to conduct the November 2021 General Election as well as the May 2022 Primary Election.''
The Pennsylvania agency in charge of elections warned that if its voting machines were turned over for an audit, they would have to decertify the equipment. Mastriano has since set a July 31 deadline to Philadelphia, York and Tioga counties with the tacit warning that there could be a legal fight if they don't comply.
''We can expect Philadelphia County to do the legal challenge, which is fantastic. That's their right. But in the end we will take a look scientifically, honestly, with full transparency,'' Mastriano said.
Philadelphia, York and Tioga counties have all said they will not participate in the audit at the risk of their voting machines being decertified.
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