“Doug Mastriano Plans to Use His Secretary of State Pick to Disrupt Pennsylvania Elections”


Doug Mastriano is a Donald Trump loyalist, and an ardent proponent of the former president’s baseless conspiracies about the 2020 election. He was outside the capitol on Jan. 6th, brought supporters to D.C. that day, and has been subpoenaed by the congressional committee investigating the riots. Now, Mastriano is also the GOP nominee in Pennsylvania’s governor’s race in November. His victory would hand over control of a large swing state to a hard right election denier in the lead-up to the next presidential race.

“He has revealed the Deceit, Corruption, and outright Theft of the 2020 Presidential Election, and will do something about it,” Trump said of Mastriano when he endorsed him in May. 

A centerpiece of Mastriano’s promise to revamp the state’s election system is to flex the governor’s authority to choose Pennsylvania’s secretary of state.

“As governor, I get to appoint the secretary of state. And I have a voting reform-minded individual who’s been traveling the nation and knows voting reform extremely well,” Mastriano told Steve Bannon, former chief strategist for Trump, in an April interview. “That individual has agreed to be my secretary of state.”

Mastriano rarely talks to the news media and mostly conducts interviews in far right venues, where his narrative about the 2020 election will not be questioned. As such, he has not publicly named the person he would name for secretary of state, though reporting from HuffPost and the Philadelphia Inquirer  revealed some possible contenders among his like-minded allies. Mastriano’s campaign did not respond to an interview request for this article.

He has made it clear he would use many of the levers at his disposal to change rules he portrays as rife with corruption. “I saw better elections in Afghanistan than in Pennsylvania,” Mastriano, who spent much of his career in the U.S. Army, said during his campaign. He could work with the legislature, for instance, to pass new voting restrictions like rolling back mail-in voting or adopting harsh voter ID laws, measures he has promoted in the past. He has also proposed forcing voters to re-register and has said he could decertify all election machines in the state.

The ability to reshape the secretary of state position gives him more options than he might have in a state where the position is an elected office.

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