Pennsylvania Republican leaders on Friday did not join President Donald Trump and his close allies in accusing the state’s election officials of fraud, but did step forward to call for an audit of the election.
Two leaders of the Republican-controlled legislature said they had concerns about the conduct of Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat, who they say overstepped her role by issuing a series of last-minute instructions that revised election rules. Soon after, Boockvar ordered an audit.
"I have no knowledge of any voter fraud and I have no knowledge of any misdeeds, other than the process [by] which the Department of State ran in this election," Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, told reporters on a Zoom call about concerns with the administration of the election.
Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler said only an audit would enable "Pennsylvanians and the rest of the world [to] have faith in our election process."
The lawmakers' chief concern, as other Republicans expressed in court, has been a series of accommodations Boockvar granted in the days before the election. On her guidance, some counties took steps to help voters fix ballots that had been submitted with errors -- a process called curing. Not all counties acted on her instructions, leading to "disparate" treatment of voters, they said.
Boockvar announced plans Friday afternoon for an audit, similar to the one conducted after the state's June primary.
The secretary of state has been at odds with GOP leaders for having failed to reach an agreement with the state’s Democratic governor to allow election officials to start processing ballots ahead of Election Day, as many other states did to speed up their vote counts.
"They don't like the late counting of ballots because they don't like anything that allows more eligible voters to be enfranchised," she said.