Arizona Republicans Suddenly Realizing Recount Making Them Look Like Idiots
Arizona's GOP-ordered ballot audit has now been going on for three weeks. Last week, officials said it would probably be over by May 14. However, according to Ken Bennett, a liaison between the QAnon-adjacent "Cyber Ninjas" and the Republican legislators who hired them to conduct the recount, only about 250,000 of the 2.1 million ballots have been counted so far.
At this rate, they will not be done until August, which will surely come as a big disappointment to all the Trump prophets who have been so very sure Trump would be president again any minute now. They're either gonna have to readjust their timelines or stick to the "Trump is still president according to Heaven" line.
It's really starting to get awkward. So awkward in fact that at least one of the Arizona Republicans who voted for it is now dying of embarrassment.
After a week marked by mounting accusations of partisan skullduggery, mismanagement and even potential illegality, at least one Republican supporter of the new count said it could not end soon enough.
"It makes us look like idiots," State Senator Paul Boyer, a Republican from suburban Phoenix who supported the audit, said on Friday. "Looking back, I didn't think it would be this ridiculous. It's embarrassing to be a state senator at this point."
You know, honestly, I think this is the ideal outcome. This is almost better than if they had never started the stupid recount at all. Of course, I also watched a lot of "Fantasy Island" reruns on MTV when I was unemployed several years ago and ever since have really enjoyed the idea of terrible people getting exactly what they want only to find that what they want is an actual nightmare.
As if all of this wasn't ridiculous enough, it's dragging on so long that the "Cyber Ninjas" are going to have to pack up all of the ballots and their equipment in a couple weeks, because a bunch of high schools need to use the Veterans Memorial Coliseum to hold their graduation ceremonies.
Later this month, workers will have to suspend work and move their entire operation — work stations, imaging equipment, stacks of uncounted ballots that cover much of the coliseum floor — into storage elsewhere in the building to make way for a spate of high-school graduation ceremonies long scheduled to take place the week of May 17.
In an interview, Mr. Bennett said that no storage site had been selected, but that he was optimistic that the hand count would be wrapped up quickly.
Sure it will.
The recount has been marred by a number of other things. For one, it's partially being financed by the right-wing One America News Network. One of the people counting the ballots was Anthony Kern, who was not only involved in local "Stop the Steal" events, but was also one of the people at the Capitol on January 6. Republican governor Doug Ducey had to order state police protection last week for Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, after Trump supporters sent her death threats for pointing out that the equipment the Cyber Ninjas were using was uncertified, and that the way they were counting ballots was "a significant departure from standard best practices."
Unfortunately, Republicans are known to be fairly immune to feeling shame over being wrong. Karen Fann, the Republican president of the Arizona State Senate, is not embarrassed at all, and is still insisting the real conspiracy theorists are the people who think the recount is stupid.
"They talk about conspiracy theories," she said, referring to reports that the review is examining ballots for evidence of bamboo fibers and watermarks baselessly said to be signs of fraud. "But I tell you what, there's almost a reverse conspiracy theory to demean this audit."
She suggested that her support of the review would be proved right in the end.
"I think we'll find irregularities that is going to say, you know what, there's this many dead people voted, or this many who may have voted that don't live here any more — we're going to find those," she said. "We know they exist, but everybody keeps saying, 'You have no proof.' Well, maybe we'll get the proof out of this so we can fix those holes that are there."
The problem with people having faith in something unproven is that there is usually no amount of facts that could convince them otherwise. Convincing someone that Democrats are not stealing elections with dead people's votes is just as difficult as convincing them ghosts don't exist. It's a matter of faith, not facts. Even if this whole audit goes through and no irregularities are found, people are still going to believe it was stolen. Believing it was stolen gives them comfort, and that is more valuable to them than the truth. Same deal with ghosts, really.
Elections and civil rights experts are understandably concerned that this recount could undermine faith in United States elections, especially considering who's conducting it. Of course, some might say that ship has already sailed. But perhaps the best case scenario at this point is that things keep going just as well as they've been going so far, and continue embarrassing the hell out of people like state Senator Bower.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse