Even after the Arizona Republicans' election "audit" was exposed as an utterly bonkers exercise, there was little doubt that GOP officials from other states – many of whom traveled to Phoenix and took notes – would try to export the fiasco. The question wasn't whether we'd see some Arizona-style election "investigations"; the question was where and when.
The answers are increasingly clear.
Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania kicked off an "election integrity" review with a public hearing on Thursday, joining partisan efforts in other battleground states to cast doubts on former President Donald Trump's November election loss. The hearing at the State Capitol in Harrisburg was the first step in what is expected to be an expansive review of the 2020 election....
To the extent that the hearing itself was relevant, state legislators heard from a Republican county commissioner who didn't see any evidence of election wrongdoing or fraud. It led Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania's Democratic state attorney general, to describe the event as "a complete dud."
But the quality of the hearing is less important than its existence: Pennsylvania Republicans are conducting a "full forensic investigation" for no good reason.
The state Senate's top Republican, President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, recently told a conservative media personality that he and his GOP colleagues are justified in this partisan exercise, not because there's evidence of wrongdoing, but because they think evidence of wrongdoing might emerge if they keep looking for it.
"I don't necessarily have faith in the results," Corman said last month. "I think that there were many problems in our election that we need to get to the bottom of."
But as we've discussed, the state senator's hunches are based on nothing, and literally no one has produced any evidence of "many problems" in Pennsylvania's 2020 elections. A couple of Trump voters were caught trying to cast illegal ballots on behalf of dead relatives, but in a state in which roughly 7 million Pennsylvanians voted, the vanishingly small number of Republicans who tried and failed to commit fraud was inconsequential.
By all appearances, Corman lacks "faith in the results" because voters in his state had the audacity to support the Democratic ticket – just as Pennsylvania voters did in 2012. And 2008. And 2004. And 2000. And 1996. And 1992.
Indeed, as the NBC News recently reported, after the official tally showed President Joe Biden winning the Keystone State, "Pennsylvania conducted two-post election audits confirming the accuracy of last fall's count, and the results were certified."
And yet, here we are, watching a wildly unnecessary "review" get underway anyway.
Proponents have said the review is necessary to look for irregularities that exist in the minds of conspiracy theorists. But as the circus in Arizona has made clear, the actual goal of these endeavors is to undermine public confidence in American elections and create a pretense for additional anti-voting measures.