Skip to content Skip to footer

Pennsylvania Democrats Sue GOP Over Their Attempt to “Investigate” 2020 Election

Democrats described the investigation as an unprecedented “ploy” to undermine the 2020 presidential election results.

Election personnel sort absentee ballot applications for storage at the Gwinnett County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections offices on November 7, 2020, in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Pennsylvania Democrats in the state Senate have sued to block 17 subpoenas issued by Republican lawmakers who are seeking to conduct a so-called “forensic investigation” into the veracity of the 2020 presidential election.

Such an investigation — which some have described as an audit akin to one that was dubiously conducted in Arizona this year — is not necessary. Allegations of election fraud in last year’s presidential race have lacked any substance whatsoever, and dozens of courts, including some in Pennsylvania, have determined that no such fraud occurred.

Nevertheless, last Wednesday, state Senators in the Intergovernmental Operations Committee issued subpoenas requesting personal records of voters along a party-line vote, with seven Republicans voting to do so and four Democrats opposing the idea. Democrats promised to sue after the vote was held, alleging that the order violated the state constitution.

Per Pennsylvania law, the affirmation or contestation of election outcomes belongs to the judiciary alone, Democrats alleged in their suit.

“The investigation that the Committee seeks to undertake would be tantamount to an election contest and falls outside the authority of the General Assembly to regulate the holding of elections through enactment of legislation,” the lawsuit states.

Republicans, through their subpoenas, are requesting some highly personal information of voters who took part in the 2020 election, including the names of those who voted, their dates of birth, their addresses, drivers’ license numbers, and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers. Such details are likely to be shared with a third-party company contracted to conduct the supposed investigation.

“The latest ploy by the [Pennsylvania state] Senate Republicans is unprecedented and completely unwarranted,” Pennsylvania Democrats said in a statement regarding their lawsuit. “All aspects of the certified 2020 election have been thoroughly reviewed and adjudicated in the courts with no findings of irregularities or fraud.”

President Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania by a margin of 1.2 percent of the total ballots cast, amounting to a difference in ballot counts of 81,660 votes. In spite of Biden’s win, Trump maintained that he was the true winner in the state, citing unspecified voter fraud allegations that he and his allies were never able to substantiate with evidence of any kind. All 20 of the state’s Electoral College electors were assigned to Biden.

A July poll asked Pennsylvania residents whether they supported efforts to audit the 2020 election, like the one currently being promoted by State Senate Republicans. By a 14-point margin, respondents in that poll said that an audit on the election could not be trusted.

​​Not everyone can pay for the news. But if you can, we need your support.

Truthout is widely read among people with lower ­incomes and among young people who are mired in debt. Our site is read at public libraries, among people without internet access of their own. People print out our articles and send them to family members in prison — we receive letters from behind bars regularly thanking us for our coverage. Our stories are emailed and shared around communities, sparking grassroots mobilization.

We’re committed to keeping all Truthout articles free and available to the public. But in order to do that, we need those who can afford to contribute to our work to do so — especially now, because we have just 7 days left to raise $45,000 in critical funds.

We’ll never require you to give, but we can ask you from the bottom of our hearts: Will you donate what you can, so we can continue providing journalism in the service of justice and truth?