It's not clear how the Arizona GOP plans to "find" evidence of the election fraud they insist took place in Maricopa County last November. But it's pretty clear these zombies plan to keep looking until they do — whether it exists or not. It's like "The Walking Dead: Desert Edition."

The Republican-controlled Maricopa County Board of Supervisors oversaw and certified the vote, a hand recount confirmed the tally, multiple courts have rejected allegations of fraud, the state's Republican governor already sent the votes to the Electoral College, and Joe Biden has been president for more than 100 days, and yet these fuckers are so high on their own supply that they will not stop. Arizona Senate Republicans have now subpoenaed every ballot from the state's largest county and hired a Florida company called "Cyber Ninjas" to count the votes yet again in the arena that formerly housed the Phoenix Suns.

Because who better to audit the process than a bunch of jackasses who think they're hackers for Jesus, have never done election work before, and are led by Doug Logan, a guy who flogged nonsense about Venezuela for Sidney Powell's Kraken cases?

Logan immediately got to work verifying ballots with UV lights to check for watermarks. Which caused some confusion among observers, since Arizona's ballots don't have watermarks. Let's assume that no watermarks were detected, and thus the ballots were all rejected as fraudulent.

Or perhaps the lights are trying to detect racism, as in, if you think fraudulent ballots from China will have bamboo fibers in them, you're a racist. And should probably not be left home alone without a grownup.

None of this process is clear since Logan and his team have forced auditors to sign a non-disclosure agreement and done their darnedest to keep the press far, far away from the "counting." After Arizona Republic reporter Ryan Randazzo identified former legislator Anthony Kern among the auditors and noted that Kern had been at the Capitol on January 6 and publicly supported the Big Lie, he was booted out of the press area.

At first the explanation was that Randazzo had shown actual ballots in his tweet. But later Senate President Karen Fann decided the reporter had violated the unwritten prohibition on identifying the counters.

"It's OK to be subject to scrutiny but it's not OK to zoom in on their faces and plaster it all over social media," she told AZ Central, blithely ignoring the fact that the county's own livestream of the event clearly shows both ballots and the faces of people counting them.

Fann defended the decision to allow Logan to run the audit, despite his having publicly stated that there was widespread fraud before getting his hands on a single ballot.

"How do we put in election integrity back into our system and that's only what this has been about," she told KTAR News on Tuesday. "This has been the sole thing is to get answers so that if we have any problems, we can fix them and we make sure that the next election is safer, cleaner and run smoothly."

But Arizona Republicans' cheerful description of the "audit" as a good-government measure to restore the public confidence they themselves have worked so hard to erode falls apart under the slightest scrutiny, as Popular Information's Judd Legum and Media Matters' Bobby Lewis have both broken down in detail.

As Lewis notes, One America News, the only outlet still pretending that the election might be overturned, has been given "unfettered access," while local and mainstream national outlets have had to jump through ridiculous hoops to even get into the building. But even worse, OAN and its reporters are deeply involved in efforts to fund the recount, since the $150,000 of taxpayer money Fann and her fellow Gippers allocated won't come close to covering the bill.

Media Matters reports:

About $150,000 of the cost of the audit was raised by Voices & Votes, a 501(c)4 led by OAN's Christina Bobb, who also volunteered for Trump's post-election legal team while she was an OAN host and previously worked on border control policy for his administration. (Another $150,000 was paid by the Arizona Senate, and millions more were paid by an array of right-wing groups and figures, including MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.) Bobb, who hosted an OAN special accusing the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors of "cover[ing] up the Arizona election heist," also uses her reports on the audit and her weekly show to solicit donations for Voices & Votes.

OAN White House correspondent Chanel Rion has joined Bobb at her (c)4 as chief marketing officer. Rion is also the founder of multiple seemingly abandoned media ventures and the self-described author of a young-adult novel series, Mystery by Design, which may not exist. Rion is engaged to Voices & Votes' chief operations officer, Courtland Sykes, a Navy veteran and cartoonishly sexist 2018 GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri. Sykes' failed Senate run is not mentioned in his Voices & Votes biography, nor is his and Rion's engagement discussed in their write-ups.

We are old enough to remember when Republicans pointed to private foundations funding voter registration and ballot drives as science proof that elections were fraudulent, then rushed to make it illegal for non-state entities to subsidize elections. We are old enough to remember when those same Republicans pointed to an entirely fictional exclusion of election observers as prima facie evidence that something hinky was going down with the vote count. But now we've got Mike Lindell, Lin Wood, and that Overstock lunatic Patrick Byrne pouring cash into this "audit" and fighting to keep the public out, and it's totally kosher?

And now the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has sent Fann a letter asking if there might be a wee legal problem here, since there appears to be both a chain of custody issue with these ballots and potential voter intimidation baked into Cyber Ninja's plan to audit the ballot by banging on voters' doors and accusing them of fraud.


[Popular Info / Media Matters]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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