A GOP state senator blasted the 2020 election vote audit in an Arizona county, saying “it makes us look like idiots.”
“Looking back, I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point,” said Arizona state Sen. Paul Boyer, who previously supported the audit in Maricopa County.
There is no evidence that Donald Trump’s loss in Arizona’s presidential election in the fall was fraudulent.
Nonetheless, 16 Republicans in the State Senate voted to subpoena ballots in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and two-thirds of the state’s vote in November, for an audit to show Trump die-hards that their fraud concerns were taken seriously.
Multiple audits since November have found that the vote was counted accurately.
President Biden won Arizona’s 11 electoral votes over former President Trump by about 11,000 votes.
The defeat in Arizona surprised and enraged Trump, who has repeatedly argued fraud cost him his reelection despite a lack of evidence supporting the claim.
Fox News was the first network to call Arizona for Biden on election night.
The election results were certified by state officials months ago, which effectively finalized President Biden’s win in Arizona.
Additionally, the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate signed off on the Electoral College vote in January — after a pro-Trump mob stormed the building to stop the count, leading to the former president’s second impeachment.
But doubts about the true purpose blossomed when Karen Fann, the Republican president of the State Senate, hired a Florida firm, Cyber Ninjas, to conduct the review.
Its chief executive had promoted on Twitter a conspiracy theory that Mr. Trump’s loss in Arizona was the result of rigged voting machines.
Journalists, election experts and representatives of the secretary of state, whose office is responsible for elections in Arizona, have struggled with getting permission to observe the review, while the far-right One America News cable outlet has raised money to finance it and has been given broad access to the proceedings.
Claims of partisanship ballooned after it was revealed that one man who was hired to recount ballots, former State Representative Anthony Kern of Arizona, was a leader of the local “stop the steal” movement and had been photographed on the steps of the U.S. Capitol during the riot on Jan. 6 in Washington.
Kern had been on the Maricopa ballot, both as a Republican candidate for state representative and as a pro-Trump presidential elector.
According to The New York Times, approximately 250,000 of the county’s 2.1 million ballots have been processed in the hand recount that is a main component of the review.
Officials have marked May 14 as the completion date for the audit, but at the current counting rate, the hand recount would not be finished until August, The Times noted.
Arizona senate Republicans have said they are spearheading the audit to restore voters’ confidence in the elections process and to help them decide if changes to the state’s election laws are needed, a move that a number of other states with GOP-controlled legislatures took after the 2020 election.
The Department of Justice issued a warning last week, writing that the Maricopa County audit could be violating both federal voting and civil rights laws, according to a letter obtained by CNN.
The letter came from Pamela Karlan, the principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil rights division.
Arizona Republicans, however, dismissed the Justice Department’s concerns and rejected the need for federal assistance or involvement in the process.
Also last week, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) raised concerns about the procedures in the audit, specifically calling attention to workers reportedly leaving ballots and computers unattended during the recount.