As part of an ongoing investigation into Fulton County, Pa.’s problematic review of 2020 election results, American Oversight has asked software company Wake TSI to preserve any and all records related to the election analysis it conducted in the county.
Following the 2020 election, in response to conspiracy theorists claiming that the vote had been marred by fraud — and at the instigation of state Sen. Doug Mastriano — Fulton County election officials allowed for Wake TSI to conduct a review of ballots cast in Fulton County. Wake TSI appears to have been contracted by Defending the Republic, a group run by Trump-allied lawyer Sidney Powell. American Oversight filed a lawsuit against Fulton County in January 2022, seeking multiple categories of records that were missing from the documents previously released by the county in response to our requests.
In a letter sent on Dec. 5, American Oversight requested that Wake TSI “preserve and keep safe” records related to the review, including emails and text messages exchanged with the county commissioners and elections director, and asked that the firm not destroy or alter any relevant records. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania (ACLU-PA), which is involved in similar but separate proceedings against Fulton County, also joined American Oversight in the notice.
While Pennsylvania was won by Joe Biden in 2020, a majority of votes in Fulton County went to Donald Trump. The review of votes in Fulton County, which was conducted in December 2020 and February 2021, was a precursor to an attempted statewide “forensic investigation” launched by Republicans in the state Senate in September 2021. Last year, American Oversight obtained records indicating that Mastriano — a prominent election denier and Trump ally who later ran for governor — had threatened Fulton commissioners with subpoenas unless they voluntarily participated in an audit of votes. Our records also confirmed that Wake TSI’s inspection of voting machines took place without the approval of the county’s only Democratic commissioner, Paula Shives.
Wake TSI later subcontracted with Cyber Ninjas to help conduct a sham “audit” of votes in Maricopa County, Ariz. American Oversight obtained numerous records providing details about Wake TSI’s role in the “audit,” such as the company’s hiring of election deniers and conspiracy theorists.
Both Pennsylvania and Arizona have continued to be stages for further efforts to cast doubt on election integrity. Following the November 2022 midterms, Luzerne County, Pa., waited until two days after its deadline to certify results. Democracy Docket described the effort as “part of a trend of Republicans weaponizing previously routine tasks to undermine confidence in the electoral process.” A similar scene took place in Arizona, where Cochise County faced lawsuits after refusing to certify the election.
In August, American Oversight joined ACLU-PA in conducting discovery, and in October deposed the county’s now-former open records officer. Earlier that month, Fulton County produced more than 30,000 pages of records in response to our lawsuit. With the letter sent earlier this month, American Oversight seeks to preserve any additional public records related to the election review to fully understand threats to democracy in Pennsylvania.
Read more about American Oversight’s work protecting democracy in Pennsylvania here.
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