Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin), who has recently positioned himself as a leading advocate for the Keystone State’s fight for election integrity, joined his Republican colleagues in voting for the measure, Act 77, which arguably caused many of the issues seen during the 2020 election — particularly permitting no-excuse voting in exchange for the abolishment of straight-ticket voting.
Mastriano, who is reportedly considering a gubernatorial bid, has recently put himself at the forefront of the state GOP’s pursuit of election integrity, standing as one of three state Republicans who toured Arizona’s audit site at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, this week.
While he said he is “not about overturning anything,” he appeared to support an audit so lawmakers can “find out what went right, what went wrong, and how do we have better elections in the future.”
Mastriano told WEEO-FM they intend to “bring the information back to the Senate leadership, we’ll back-brief them on the way ahead and then hopefully we can come up with an approach here to make sure every person in Pennsylvania can rest assured they have one vote and it counts.”
However, Pennsylvania Republicans have largely failed to address their role in Pennsylvania’s chaotic and controversial 2020 presidential election procedures, which dates back to their approval of Act 77 in 2019.
Far-left Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed the bill into law October 31, 2019, but Republicans at the time “didn’t see mail-in voting as an electoral liability,” as Public Source noted. Rather, Republicans were focused on ridding straight-ticket voting, which allowed voters to check a one-party box — an option they say hurt candidates in down the ticket races. Republicans in the Senate overwhelmingly voted for the measure 27-0. House Republicans also supported it 105-2. Mastriano supported it in committee as well.
The radical-left governor celebrated the bill at the time, contending it made voting “more convenient and more secure” as his office lauded the creation of the “new option to vote by mail without providing an excuse.”
However, in the early days of the pandemic, Mastriano began to express concern over what Act 77 could do to the election moving forward, as reported by The Daily Item in April 2020:
State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin County, a former Army colonel, said that while serving in Afghanistan he helped plan for the election security during elections in that country. He’s worried about the potential for fraud as Pennsylvania expands access to mail-in voting, Mastriano said.
“I feel a bit dubious about this,” said state Mastriano said.
In December, the lawmaker penned an op-ed, detailing things that went wrong in the election but did not explicitly mention his role in advancing no-excuse absentee voting — arguably one of the most significant factors contributing to the confusion and chaos in the Keystone State’s election. Rather, he pointed to others, including Gov. Wolf, who he said used the public health crisis to “undermine Act 77 and voting in general in PA.”
“Using Federal CARES money, Wolf forced mail in voting upon people with a proactive propaganda campaign to perpetuate it. Likewise, he used fear mongering to insinuate that polling stations would be closed or undermanned due to the risk of the virus,” he wrote.
In a statement to Breitbart News, Mastriano described Act 77, in its original form, as a “comprehensive voting reform package,” pointing to its unanimous Republican support and “almost unanimous Democrat opposition.”
“There were no red flags as evidenced that every Republican in the Senate supported it, even those of us who are routinely a ‘no’ vote on anything that could undermine our freedoms,” he said. “And the near-unanimous Democrat opposition to this bill highlights that in its original form, there was no insidious risk.”
“Unfortunately, the PA Supreme Court, Secretary of State Boockvar, and Governor Wolf had other ambitions,” he said, contending they effectively “rewrote Act 77 to compromise our election,” using the Chinese coronavirus as a pretense to do so.
He contends the original law was specific, including the requirement for ballots to be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
“The state Supreme Court unilaterally – and in direct contravention of the wording of Act 77 – extended the deadline for mailed ballots to be received from Election Day, to three days after the Election Day,” he said, adding, “Similarly, the court declared that ballots mailed without a postmark should be presumed to have been received on time.”
“The court also mandated that mail-in ballots lacking a verified signature be accepted,” he explained.
Now, Mastriano is seeking to advance election integrity measures, including one to repeal the no-excuse mail-in ballot provision of Act 77, despite the fact that he and other Republicans overwhelmingly supported it in 2019:
Taking advantage of mail-in voting, the Governor, State Dept Secretary & a rogue Supreme Court unlawfully set conditions without legislative approval.
— Senator Doug Mastriano (@SenMastriano) January 21, 2021
Notably, Mastriano recently came under fire after claiming that former President Donald Trump “asked” him to run for governor in Pennsylvania, claiming that Trump also promised to campaign for him.
“President Trump has not made any endorsement or commitments yet in this race,” Trump adviser Jason Miller said following Mastriano’s remarks:
President Trump has not made any endorsement or commitments yet in this race.👇
“AP Report: President Trump Picks Pennsylvania’s Next Governor” https://t.co/24rY2G2BD1
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) May 20, 2021
According to a recent report from the Washington Post, the Pennsylvania lawmaker “recently met with the former president at Trump Tower to talk about the prospect of launching a similar audit in his state, according to people familiar with the discussion.”