By Jack Phillips
Several witnesses who spoke during a Republican state Senate-held event in Pennsylvania said that hundreds of thousands of votes were allegedly counted with no “civilian oversight.”
Justin C. Kweder, a certified canvass observer and lawyer, said he served as an observer at the Philadelphia Convention Center. GOP observers, he said Wednesday, were kept between 10 and 200 feet away from the vote-tabulating process.
Because of the distance, “it was impossible for me or any observer to see what the workers were doing with any type of specificity.”
“The observers were not able to challenge any decision or determination being made about the processing of these mail-in ballots,” Kweder also said. “No civilian oversight over hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots. Zero opportunity for observers to observe, challenge or inspect the mail-ins being opened. I find this to be an issue and to be irregular,” he added.
He said that more than 90 percent of the poll workers were processing “hundreds of thousands” of ballots and observers were not able to challenge them.
Kweder claimed more than 5,000 damaged mail-in ballots were apparently duplicated by election workers, adding that poll observers were told that the board would duplicate the mail-in ballots that couldn’t be read by the scanner.
Philadelphia’s elections agency hasn’t immediately responded to a request for comment.
Other witnesses in Pennsylvania expressed similar concerns. Kim Peterson, a poll observer from Pittsburgh, said during the hearing that she and others were kept at a distance from the tabulation efforts.
“The closest was about 20 feet and you could not see at all,” she said. “The envelope, the ballot itself, where they were stacking them, anything that was required that we were being able to see.”
Another poll observer in Delaware County claimed there were no observers in a back room where votes were being counted.
“What became of concern was the back room, which had no observers, no line of sight or transparency into the process. There was no cooperation, complete resistance from election night to every day after,” said GOP poll observer Leah Hoopes, of Delaware County, in the hearing.
Hoopes said that she and other GOP poll observers were harassed after signing affidavits about their concerns.
“We have stuck our necks out, been intimidated, threatened bullied, have spent countless hours away from our families, friends, and jobs,” she said.
During the hearing, President Donald Trump weighed in via phone.
“We have to turn the election over, because there’s no doubt,” Trump said Wednesday, adding that supporters need to stand up to the threats and intimidation. “We have all the evidence, we have all the affidavits, we have everything. All we need is to have some judge listen to it properly without having a political opinion or having another kind of a problem.”
Pennsylvania Senate Democrats, in response to the Republican hearing, said President Donald Trump’s campaign is “peddling unsubstantiated voter fraud claims in any place that will have him” and won’t accept the “loss with grace or a modicum of dignity.”
Democratic Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said she has seen no evidence of voter fraud or mass irregularities that would overturn the election results in the state. State data shows that Biden leads Trump by about 80,000 votes. Other secretaries in other states where the results are being challenged have echoed those claims.
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