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On Conservative Media, Reschenthaler Offers Baseless Claims Of Voter Fraud

J. Scott Applewhite

Western Pennsylvania Republican Guy Reschenthaler alleged on conservative media this week that “voter fraud here is constantly an issue” in Pennsylvania, though some of his claims fly in the face of what is known about the 2020 election.

Reschenthaler voiced a series of concerns in an interview during an interview for the conservative media outlet Newsmax. He said that “two huge treasure troves of ballots” were found in the 17th Congressional District outside of Pittsburgh, and that there were “some precincts” that “had more than 100 percent voter participation.”

“Voter fraud here is constantly an issue,” he said. 

But Reschenthaler's office did not respond to WESA requests made over a day-and-a-half for specific details about the ballots and precincts in question. And to date there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Pennslyvania, or anywhere else. In fact, a Trump campaign lawyer acknowledged in a Pennsylvania courtroom this week that he had no evidence of fraud in his case, and arguably the campaign's broadest challenge to the election results focuses on concerns over vote-by-mail rules, not fraud. 

Philadelphia’s top Republican elections commissioner has said allegations of voter fraud are “totally untrue.” And on Thursday, top U.S. election security officials in the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council Executive Committee called the Nov. 3 election “the most secure in American history.”

“While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should too,” the statement read.

Some of Reschenthaler's assertions were being undermined even before his interview, including one about U.S. Postal Service workers in Erie who claimed that the postmarks on some mail-in ballots had been backdated. One postal worker walked back the allegation in interviews federal investigators, according to reports by The Washington Post.

Reschenthaler went on to say that it’s “abnormal” that Republicans won two statewide offices (state treasurer and auditor general) but did not win the presidential election. But the very same thing happened to Democrats in 2016, when Donald Trump won Pennsylvania while Democrats won all three statewide offices. This year, meanwhile, Republicans fared well in downballot races across the country, even as their president – whose approval ratings have remained below 50 percent throughout his administration – faltered. 

Reschenthaler also sought to cast aspersions on the fact that Trump seemed ahead on Election Night, only to have that lead collapse as mail-in ballots were counted. He called that "very suspect," but the so-called "red mirage" dynamic was widely anticipated and discussed prior to the election. Democrats were far more likely to vote by mail – in part because Trump discouraged his own voters from doing so – and those ballots take longer to count.

Reschenthaler was first elected to Congress in 2018 and represents the 14th Congressional District which includes Washington, Westmoreland, Fayette and Greene Counties. He won his own re-election bid this year by a nearly two-to-one margin, but did not suggest there were any irregularities involving that outcome.