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Politics & Government

Pennsylvania Republicans Criticize Decision To Decertify Fulton County Voting Machines

Voting Local Election Officials vote ballot
Mary Altaffer
/
AP
In this Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, file photo, municipal workers extract Luzerne County ballots from their envelopes, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Republican state lawmakers are criticizing the decision by Pennsylvania’s top election official to decertify the voting machines that a sparsely populated county used in the 2020 presidential election.

Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid decertified the machines after Fulton County disclosed that it had agreed to requests by local Republican lawmakers and allowed a software firm to inspect the machines as part of a free post-election “audit."

Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Fulton, said Friday he hopes Degraffenreid will reconsider and allow county officials to make their case that the voting machines can be used again. Decertifying the machines wasn't necessary and it is costly to replace them, Topper said.

Topper said county officials had been unaware that the Department of State had a list of vendors who are certified to test voting machines, and that the department should have made that information known to counties.

County officials have maintained they did nothing wrong.

In a joint statement, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, and Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland, said Degraffenreid's action was "antagonistic" and serves to erode voting rights and undermine the role of counties in elections.

The lawmakers’ request for the “audit” came amid former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was rigged against him in Pennsylvania and other battleground states.

Degraffenreid, an appointee of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, notified Fulton County officials in a letter Tuesday that the inspection violated state law.