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Pennsylvania Republicans to hold hearing on election integrity, 2020 investigation

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Nearly 10 months after the November 2020 election, Pennsylvania Republicans will hold a public hearing on their investigation into the election results, a state Senate committee announced Thursday.

The Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee will hold its first public hearing for a probe into election "irregularities" on Sept. 9 at the state Capitol, Chairman Sen. Cris Dush (R) said in a statement.

The committee is inviting Pennsylvania Department of State officials to testify "regarding last-minute guidance provided to counties and its impact on the 2020 General Election."

Dush said the hearing will be part of a broader inquiry into Pennsylvania's election system. The time and location of the hearing is still being determined.

In addition to testimony from officials, the committee is requesting sworn testimony from the public "regarding problems they have personally experienced with the state's election system."

"As part of the committee's comprehensive election integrity investigation, Dush is encouraging voters to come forward if they have witnessed voter irregularities or other election improprieties firsthand," the committee said. "The information will help lawmakers develop potential improvements to state law to bolster election security."

The committee said it set up a webpage where Pennsylvania residents may submit their testimony and advised that anyone who wishes to do so must be "comfortable signing an affidavit and potentially testifying under oath at a Senate committee hearing under penalty of perjury."

Pennsylvania has conducted two prior post-election reviews: A statistical sampling that is required by law and a risk-limiting audit of the 2020 election results. According to the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, 63 of the commonwealth's 67 counties participated in the risk-limiting audit, and neither probe of the election found evidence of widespread fraud.

The state certified that former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden by 80,555 votes. Nevertheless, Trump has repeatedly claimed that the election in Pennsylvania and several other contested states was stolen, and Republicans in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, and elsewhere have sought to audit their respective election results to find evidence of Trump's claims. So far those efforts have not produced evidence that would overturn the election.

Critics of the Republican-led effort have accused Trump and his supporters of undermining the integrity of U.S. elections by questioning the results. Pennsylvania state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat who is running for governor, has called previous Republican attempts to audit the election a "sham" and a "partisan fishing expedition."

An effort to conduct a "forensic" probe of the 2020 election led by state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) was halted after Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R) demoted Mastriano following a feud over his methods. Corman appointed Dush to pick up the probe.

The intent of this new probe is not to find evidence that would overturn the election; rather, it is to identify weaknesses in the electoral system that Pennsylvania lawmakers might strengthen through new legislation.

"The purpose of this investigation is to uncover information which is necessary for the Legislature to potentially take future legislation action," Dush said in a statement. "I look forward to putting my years of experience with legal cases, court proceedings, and evidence collection to good use in restoring faith in our elections."

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