NEWS & ANALYSIS

Pennsylvania Republicans Lay Out Legislation to Create New Bureau of Election Audits


After the chaos that ensued during and after the 2020 presidential election, Pennsylvania Republicans want to create a new Bureau of Election Audits to confirm results of every election and check operations, systems and processes at least every five years.

Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler laid out the legislation during a hearing in the General Assembly’s State Government Committee this week, arguing the current system of allowing county election offices to audit themselves is not good enough, Just the News reports

Local election officials “must be held to a standard of accountability,” Cutler said. “It’s not just how did you spend the money. We should not allow individuals in government to self-audit.”     

Pennsylvania law currently requires counties to review a random sample of at least 2 percent of ballots or 2,000 ballots, whichever number is fewer, to ensure accurate vote counts. 

In addition to the Bureau of Election Audits, Senate Republicans launched a forensic investigation into the 2020 election in September of 2021 that is currently underway. 

“This legislation is forward looking and sets in place the data collection permanently,” Cutler said. “It simply asks the data points we all found valuable be available for every election.” 

The legislation would establish the bureau under the Office of the Auditor General, and would require the auditor general to appoint an independent special auditor when the auditor general position is on the ballot. 

“The Auditor General shall conduct independent election audits in accordance with Generally Accepted Governmental Audit Standards and shall ensure that the audit methodology will verify the accuracy of the election and the accuracy of all election equipment used,” the bill reads. 

Committee members approved the bill on a vote of 15 to 9, with only one democrat voting in favor.