Some go further.
“Indeed, we know that the 2020 election was stolen,” Senate candidate Carla Sands told a debate audience last week.
In the gubernatorial race, every candidate in the GOP’s nine-man field has vowed to repeal Pennsylvania’s two-year-old law that introduced absentee voting.
Many Republicans on Pennsylvania’s campaign trail are also addressing the need to expand Pennsylvania’s voter identification requirements and ban drop boxes. This is despite the fact that prosecutors in the 2020 election may have identified only one case of in-person voter fraud and no evidence that dropboxes were a channel for fraudulent ballots.
Prosecutors have filed charges in about five cases in which voters — all Republicans — voted for a deceased relative or spouse. That gives gubernatorial candidate Lou Barletta his punch line.
“Listen, we know dead people have been voting our entire lives in Pennsylvania and now they don’t even have to leave the cemetery to vote,” Barletta told a debate audience last week. “You can send in your ballots. I’ll get rid of it.”
Postal voting, he said, is “ripe for fraud, ballot harvesting. We could go on like this.”
Claims about the 2020 election include widespread voter fraud taking place, but an Associated Press review found fewer than 475 cases of potential voter fraud in the six states Trump contested — a number that made no difference in the elections would have done.
A candidate for governor, Senator Doug Mastriano, who alleges the election was skewed by fraud against Trump, proposed a plan in the legislature to overturn it and received a subpoena from the congressional committee that ended the March 6 riot January in the US Capitol probe into the GOP’s creation of an alternative voter list.
He said that if elected, he would require voters to “re-register.” We’re going to start all over again.”
However, this is prohibited by the national voter registration law and is likely to face significant protections under the constitution and federal — and possibly state — laws, constitutionalists say.
Democratic candidates have not shied away from highlighting the GOP’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election — and pollsters who have conducted polls say the majority are skeptical of allegations of voter fraud and the resulting investigations.
“Trying to make this an issue, a central campaign issue, does Republicans more harm than good,” said Christopher Borick, pollster and political science professor at Muhlenberg College in Allentown. “And it’s day and night, primaries versus general elections.”
At a recent campaign halt in Potter County, Josh Shapiro, the incumbent attorney general and the undisputed champion of the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, made the issue a central part of his pitch.
Election lies led to lawsuits to overturn the election, the Jan. 6 riot, and then laws in state capitols restricting voting rights, Shapiro told audiences. Republican election legislation passed in some states, but in Pennsylvania, it was vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat.
“But make no mistake, they’re coming back,” Shapiro told the crowd. “And I will always stand up and protect our democracy. I will always stand up and make sure you have the right to vote and be heard in our system.”