Arizona GOP Keeps The Big Lie Going With Very Legal, Very Cool 2020 Election ‘Audit'
The 2020 election refuses to end, and although we like Joe Biden's chances because he's already president, we thought we'd look into the current Arizona election “audit."
Biden flipped Arizona last year thanks to a strong showing in Maricopa County, the largest county in the state. Latinos accounted for about 20 percent of Arizona voters, up from 15 percent in 2016, and according to NBC's analysis of exit polls, 63 percent of this growing demo supported Biden. The former White House squatter didn't carry 110 percent of the white vote, so his narrow but decisive loss isn't a shock.
Still, Donald Trump's Big Lie endures, even after multiple recounts and audits that found no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing, other than Democrats winning, which Republicans today consider inherently fraudulent.
An extensive effort to recount ballots from the November election moved forward in Phoenix on Friday as a private vendor hired by Republicans in the Arizona Senate began reviewing nearly 2.1 million ballots cast in the state's largest county.
The recount of the ballots from Maricopa County was sought by Senate Republicans to examine unsubstantiated claims that fraud or errors tainted President Biden's win.
Even the Republican-led county board of supervisors has objected to the recount. State Democrats filed a lawsuit last week to halt the proceedings, which they argued violated state law governing ballot security, but an Arizona judge on Friday demanded that the Democrats put up $1 million to cover potential costs of a delay. Democrats refused to put up the money, so the recount is proceeding.
Arizona state senate Republicans pinky swear that "the process is intended only to explore ways to improve the state's elections, rather than to cast doubt on Biden's 10,457-vote victory in Arizona." However, sensible people can see through this clever ruse. Election observers and voting rights advocates contend the process lacks independent oversight and will just promote more garbage claims about the 2020 election, which President Lost Cause lost like a loser.
The GOP has assigned the audit to a private security firm, which we can tell is probably on the up-and-up because the company's based in Florida and is called “Cyber Ninjas." Its official website features images of a dude dressed like how you'd image ninjas look if you've watched a lot of kung-fu movies. He's wearing a black ski mask and black gloves. There's also a sword involved.
Cyber Ninjas Chief Executive Officer Doug Logan is reportedly a supporter of "Stop the Steal" movement. Logan's Twitter feed is littered with bogus claims that the 2020 general election was rigged against the one-term loser. This diabolical scheme somehow didn't impact the many races Republicans actually won.
For instance, on Dec. 14 Logan retweeted a response to a tweet by Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward in which she questioned the validity of 200,000 Maricopa County ballots. The response by another user said "Hint: After auditing the adjudicated ballots and corresponding AuditMarks, you may discover Trump got 200k more votes than previously reported in Arizona."
Logan deleted his account shortly afterward, but it didn't take a cyber ninja to uncover all this.
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, has been eager to conduct yet another audit that would supposedly “restore integrity to the election process." She's using public funds from the Senate operations budget for this farce.
Ken Bennett, former Arizona GOP secretary of state, is the volunteer spokesperson for the recount. He claims the goal isn't about changing the result of the 2020 election:
"This is not about calling into question the results of the November election," said Bennett, a Republican who served from 2009 to 2015. "This is about identifying if there are any areas of our elections that need to be improved going forward."
It's hard to take Bennett seriously when the GOP is only focusing on races Democrats won. Republican victories in Maricopa County are not part of the latest “audit," because those are obviously legit.
Last week, the Arizona Republic reported all sorts of issues with this process.
During the confrontational hour-long press briefing, Logan and Bennett couldn't say whether the three-person teams that will hand count the nearly 2.1 million ballots will each have at least one Democrat and one Republican. They wouldn't say how statisticians they consulted determined where auditors will knock on voters' doors to confirm their voter registration, which has alarmed voting rights advocates. And they refused to disclose who besides the Senate, which has a $150,000 contract with Cyber Ninjas, is paying the company for the audit.
Journalists were denied access to the venue where the audit is taking place, but the Republic's Jen Fifield volunteered as an observer and quickly witnessed security problems.
Doug is running this audit. He told me that his understanding was that blue ink was fine - that the ballots only re… https://t.co/YwblxzbOGo— Jen Fifield (@Jen Fifield) 1619198860.0
Non-partisan election officials who studied the Arizona state senate's audit plan were very concerned. Aside from the lack of transparency, the process is rushed, which can result in sloppy work. They're spending $150,000 to recount 2.1 million ballots over 20 days. According to Fifield, "other audits of this size have taken months and cost millions."
But election integrity is not the point here. The twice-impeached thug's cronies want to cast more doubt over Biden's victory. This is barely four months after a MAGA mob attacked the US Capitol. Steve Benen at the MaddowBlog suspects the fix is in and that the “audit" will declare that the one-term loser actually won Arizona. President Lost Cause, who can't tweet, released an unhinged statement Friday declaring, “The Democrats are desperate for the FRAUD to remain concealed because, when revealed, the Great States of Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, New Hampshire, and the Great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, would be forced to complete the work already started."
Wait, now New Hampshire was rigged? Maybe this fool meant Nevada, which his goons contested. New Hampshire wasn't even close. Biden carried the state by seven points, far more than the loser's wins in North Carolina, Florida, and even Texas. He needs to go away before more people get hurt, but he never will.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."