Almost one year after the most secure election in U.S. history (so says the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency), the Pennsylvania Senate is continuing its search for evidence of widespread voter fraud that does not exist.

The Senate is labeling this undertaking a “full forensic investigation,” an “election integrity” review, and — perhaps most absurdly — an “audit.” These terms might sound official, but in reality, they only serve to hide the dangerous nature of the Senate’s actions.

A real election audit is conducted by professional experts strictly following a transparent set of rules to check and confirm that the final results are accurate. A real election audit adheres to established best practices, uses guidelines that are set before voting begins, and strengthens voter confidence in an election’s outcome. All county election boards in Pennsylvania have already audited the 2020 election results. Most, including Philadelphia, have audited the results not once, but twice.

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In contrast, the Senate’s “investigation” will be led by an unidentified third party, set its own ad hoc rules 10 months after the last ballots in the 2020 election were cast, and aim to undermine voter confidence in election results for short-term partisan gain.

Some may dispute the idea that the purpose of this “investigation” is to undermine voter confidence. In hearings, lawmakers said that the review is “not about overturning the results of any election” and instead to determine if election practices “need to be changed to make our elections work better for everyone.”

This would sound reassuring — had the Pennsylvania Senate not already done a thorough and bipartisan investigation into ways to improve Pennsylvania elections earlier this year.

In March, a special committee on election integrity and reform was convened, and, after hearing from more than 20 election experts from Pennsylvania and all over the U.S., the committee made eight commonsense legislative recommendations. These recommendations include allowing pre-canvassing of mail-in ballot envelopes three days before Election Day, cross-checking voter rolls with national, state, and local data monthly, and requiring the training of election workers prior to their service. These ideas are largely aligned with those that the Bipartisan Policy Center has recommended that all states adopt.

The damage being done by the Senate’s “investigation” is twofold. First, it is sowing baseless doubt in election results. Second, it is taking attention away from the important reforms that are needed to truly improve the voting process.

One year ago, 92% of Trump voters said they were very or somewhat confident that in-person votes across the country would be counted as voters intended. After the 2020 election, that number dropped by one-third. Conspiracy theories spread by elected officials from Washington, D.C., to Adams County, Pa., have fueled voters’ doubt about the 2020 result, causing some to threaten election officials with violence and attack police and the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

This has become perfectly circular — they spread lies about Pennsylvania’s 2020 election to justify an election “investigation” and simultaneously claim an “investigation” is justified because voters believe their lies. In its search for imaginary fraud, the Senate has subpoenaed sensitive voter information, such as driver’s license numbers and partial Social Security numbers, and it is putting nine million Pennsylvanian voters at risk of identity theft if this information is provided to an untrustworthy third party — all in exchange for dominating a few news cycles and degrading the foundation of our democracy.

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We can be certain of what the final results of this new “investigation” will be — just look at Arizona. At the cost of significant taxpayer dollars, their election “audit” has spread confusion and conspiracy theories among Arizona voters.

Election officials and true public servants across Pennsylvania should continue to defend our voters and our democracy, in court if necessary.

The Senate has everything a responsible legislature needs to improve elections in Pennsylvania: the will and attention of the voters, bipartisan support, and expert-endorsed proposals. Its failure to capitalize on this opportunity to serve the public is a tragedy for Pennsylvanians and our nation.

Al Schmidt is a Philadelphia city commissioner and the vice chairman of the bipartisan Board of Elections. He previously served as a senior analyst at Congress’ Government Accountability Office, conducting oversight to identify and eliminate waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. Matthew Weil is the director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Elections Project.