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Pennsylvania: Election Denial in Races for Election Administration Positions

A collection of examples illustrates the prevalence of election denial in 2022 contests for the offices that will run the next elections in Pennsylvania.

Published: March 29, 2022
Illustration featuring the state of Pennsylvania
Brennan Center for Justice
View the entire Election Denial in Races for Election Administration Positions series

Below, we compile quotes from campaigns’ ads, websites, social media posts, and state­ments repor­ted in the media that illus­trate endorse­ment or oppos­i­tion to elec­tion denial — claims that the process or result of the last pres­id­en­tial elec­tion was ille­git­im­ate. Each of the candid­ates is running for an office that will play a role in admin­is­ter­ing future elec­tions in Pennsylvania. Inform­a­tion about the finan­cing of these campaigns and those in other battle­ground states can be found here.

Governor

Lou Barletta (lost primary)

Lou Barletta (R), a four-term member of Congress, has said that mail ballots allowed fraud in the 2020 elec­­tion. He has called for a “full forensic audit,” imply­ing that the state’s admin­is­tra­­tion of elec­­tion has some­th­ing to hide. He signed the false Elect­oral College certi­fic­ate that attem­p­ted to assign Pennsylvan­i­a’s elect­ors to Trump.

Lou Barletta Facebook ad

Joe Gale (lost primary)

As a Mont­gomery County commis­­­sioner, Joe Gale (R) voted not to certify Biden’s win in the county, alleging “irreg­u­lar­it­ies” and “unver­i­fied mail-in ballots.” In a Janu­ary 2022 debate, he said there is “no way” Biden received the most votes of any pres­id­en­­tial candid­ate.

Charlie Gerow (lost primary) 

Charlie Gerow (R), a public rela­­tions exec­ut­ive and polit­ical comment­ator, signed the false Elect­oral College certi­fic­ate that attem­p­ted to assign Pennsylvan­i­a’s elect­ors to Trump. Janu­ary posts from the “Charlie for Governor” Face­­book page say “Mail-ins are RIPE for fraud, ” and that Gerow’s prior­it­ies include “Elec­­tion Integ­rity because if we can’t get people to trust the vote we have no demo­cracy.”

Doug Mastri­ano (won primary)

State Sen. Doug Mastri­ano (R) promoted and spoke at an event with MyPil­low CEO Mike Lindell where attendees were asked to sign a peti­tion to decer­tify the result of the 2020 elec­tion in Pennsylvania. Mastri­ano has claimed that there were more votes coun­ted in the elec­tion than there are registered voters in the state and called for an audit. His campaign launch event featured Trump Admin­is­tra­tion National Secur­ity Adviser Michael Flynn and Jenna Ellis, who worked on lawsuits to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion.

Josh Shapiro (won primary)

Pennsylvania Attor­ney General Josh Shapiro (D), the presumptive nominee for the Demo­cratic gubernat­orial ticket, posted on Face­book in Janu­ary that Trump attemp­ted to “over­turn the 2020 elec­tion and under­mine our demo­cracy.” He also posted: “Lying about the outcome of Pennsylvani­a’s 2020 elec­tion . . . is actively damaging our demo­cracy.” In an inter­view published in Febru­ary, Shapiro said, “state actors, like a governor, are going to be crit­ical to defend­ing our demo­cracy. . . . And Pennsylvania, I believe, will be at the epicen­ter of that fight.” He vowed to appoint a secret­ary of state “who will respect the rule of law.”

John Ventre (with­drew)

Former UPS exec­ut­ive John Ventre (R) claimed in a Face­book post from Janu­ary that “Biden stole the 2020 elec­tion.” His campaign website features the claim that Pennsylvani­a’s Act 77 — which made voting easier by allow­ing no-excuse mail voting and other changes — cost Trump the elec­tion in the state.

Dave White (lost primary)

In a campaign ad from former Delaware County Coun­­­cil Member Dave White (R), the candid­ate says, “If there wasn’t any fraud in the Pennsylvania elec­­tion, why every time we call for an audit do the Demo­crats cry like a little baby?” He claims Gov. Tom Wolf was “caught cheat­ing” in the elec­­tion, refer­­ring to the governor having his wife drop off his marked ballot in viol­­a­­tion of state law. Another ad ends with White saying: “Every fraud­u­lent vote steals a vote from someone like you.”

Screenshot of TV ad from Dave White's campaignTV ad from Dave White’s campaign