A Republican senator in Pennsylvania initiated the first steps this week of a forensic election audit, but the state’s top law enforcement official promised intervention should the effort continue.

Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Gettysburg, said on Wednesday he’s requested information and materials from three counties needed for a “forensic investigation” into both the 2020 general election and the 2021 primary election completed in May.

He said the effort is “necessary” because millions of residents harbor serious doubts about the accuracy of the results, citing a January poll from Muhlenberg University that showed 40% of respondents “are not confident” that the outcome “accurately reflected how Pennsylvanians voted.”

“Discounting or mocking their concerns is neither an answer nor proper in this constitutional republic,” he said.

Mastriano said the counties – comprised of a mix of geographical, demographic and partisan features – must respond by July 31 with a plan to comply.

“A full forensic investigation is critically necessary for our Commonwealth for the sake of transparency and accountability,” he said. “There is nothing to fear if there is nothing to hide.”

Pennsylvania AG fires back Mastriano’s plan

Attorney General Josh Shapiro fired back against Mastriano’s plan, telling the counties to ignore the “fishing expedition” that’s more than a continued effort “to pay homage to former President [Donald] Trump and further spread misinformation about our elections.”

“This ‘audit’ could risk decertifying the counties’ voting machines, costing county taxpayers’ millions of dollars,” he said. “Right now this information is being requested voluntarily but should subpoenas be issued, you can expect our office to do everything to protect the Commonwealth, its voters and the free, fair election that was held in Pennsylvania.”

Officials in Tioga, York and Philadelphia counties confirmed to The Associated Press that they’d received letters from Mastriano requesting the information.

“This investigation is not about overturning the results of either election,” Mastriano said Wednesday. “The goals are to restore faith in the integrity of our system, confirm the effectiveness of existing legislation on the governance of elections, and identify areas for legislative reform.”

The development comes after Mastriano and two other Republican lawmakers visited the forensic audit site in Phoenix where a team recounted more than 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County last year.

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