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Group seeking 2020 presidential election audit cries ‘foul’

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Executive Plaza.

Stressing that this is “not an issue that is going to go away,” a group of county residents told the Lycoming County Commissioners that they are seeking a hand recount of votes from the 2020 election.

They presented to the commissioners a copy of a petition that has been circulating in the county, calling for the recount because of what they contend were anomalies in the voting from that election.

“Everywhere I go, someone’s telling me another story about an anomaly that they encountered,” said Karen DiSalvo, a representative for the group.

“You know, where there’s smoke, sometimes there’s fire and so it would be nice for us to be able to put this issue to bed,” she added.

Another member of the group, Jeff Stroehmann, concurred with DiSalvo.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that there have been a lot of issues and irregularities, a lot of mayhem involved with the election process,” Stroehmann argued.

“I also understand that people who are opposed to auditing any part of the 2020 election are pretty vigilant in attacking those who asked to do so. I want to make it clear that this is a group of your constituency and we want to be able to give you what you need to be able to move forward with your duties, knowing that you have support and that’s why we’re here,” he said.

He stated that the group wanted to open a “constructive dialogue, not destructive, not be divisive.”

The group in particular said that they wanted to work with the commissioners, as elected officials, on this issue and asked not to “be pushed off to the unelected bureaucrats.”

“I’m going to give you an example as to why. When we started the process of canvassing this county with irregularities that we identified, volunteers going door to door on a mission to ask people if they could understand why this anomaly showed up. It was a good and honest attempt,” Stroehmann said.

He then referred to a statement that had come out from the Voter Services office cautioning county residents about people who were going door to door, identifying as being from Voter Services while not actually from that department.

The statement was “unfounded” and “publicly against our efforts,” Stroehmann alleged.

“Saying that we were identifying ourselves as individuals for voter services and it was a scam. Those are unfounded accusations. Not fair. I’m crying foul,” he stated.

“I want to make it clear. You, our representatives, our elected officials, did not make that statement. An unelected bureaucrat and I don’t mean unelected bureaucrat is a negative term, it’s just the fact that you are our voice,” he said.

Commissioner Rick Mirabito did state that the commissioners had reviewed the statement from Voter Services before it was sent out and that it had not been aimed at any specific group.

However, because of the statement issued by Voter Services, Stroehmann argued that not only did it affect the people in his group that were canvassing, but it also hindered people who were seeking signatures for nominating petitions in the most recent primary election.

“That statement hurt the election process,” Stroehmann said.

“I’m concerned about a problem and for that reason I would ask that in going forward I believe the trust has been broken between our individuals and the person who has been hired to run election services. I’m sorry, it’s just that way,” he said.

Going forward, Stroehmann requested that they would like to submit any information they might have concerning issues with the election to the commissioners — “our elected voices” — and not to voter services.

“There’s a lot of accusations out there that our efforts are coming from the hip and there’s no foundation — there’s no evidence. Well, you can’t produce evidence until you can access it,” he said.

The group is seeking to identify statistical anomalies with the 2020 presidential election and to conduct a hand recount of votes. So far, they have around 1,000 signatures on petitions asking for the recount.

“We do not want to violate the sanctity of the vote, the voter box or the anonymous nature of the voters. That’s not what we’re after here, but we would like a very thorough investigation into the points that we’re going to bring up,” Stroehmann said.

The group was told that they should ask for a meeting of the Lycoming County Election Board to address the issue.

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