HARRISBURG (News Radio 1020 KDKA) – As Pennsylvania budget hearings began Tuesday, the testimony of the state’s top elections official became a proxy fight over President Donald Trump’s allegations of voter fraud.

Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee sought to dispel notions of voter fraud while Republicans questioned Secretary of the Department of State Pedro Cortes about it.

Cortes said he makes no claim that elections are perfect.

“But if you’re asking me, am I aware and I think it’s systemic, pervasive, what have you? I don’t have that evidence,” said Cortes.

But, Republican Daryl Metcalfe cited a guilty plea last year by three Philadelphia elections officials.

“Felony fraud charges were dropped because of the plea. So in Philadelphia, fraud that took place…a plea deal that was made…a conviction,” said Metcalfe.

Metcalfe also cited testimony last year before the panel he chairs, the House State Government Committee, from an election lawyer about foreign nationals voting in Philadelphia.

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