Joe Biden has been declared the winner of Arizona’s 11 electoral votes… again.
After months of delays and blistering criticism, a review of the 2020 election in Arizona’s largest county, ordered up and financed by Republicans, has failed to show that former one-term President Donald Trump was cheated of victory.
In fact, the draft report from the company Cyber Ninjas found just the opposite: It tallied 99 additional votes for President Biden and 261 fewer votes for Trump in Maricopa County, the fast-growing region that includes Phoenix.
The report is a devastating disappointment for pro-Trump Republicans nationwide who have hoped the Arizona review would vindicate their belief that the presidency was stolen from him.
For many loyalists, the investigation has been seen as the first in a string of state inquiries that would, domino-like, topple claims that Biden was legitimately in the White House.
County officials from Maricopa, whose county board of supervisors is controlled by Republicans and whose top elections official is also a Republican, celebrated the draft report as vindication of their election results.
“You don’t have to dig deep into the draft copy of the Arizona Senate/Cyber Ninja audit report to confirm what I already knew — the candidates certified by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General — did, in fact, win,” board chair Jack Sellers, a Republican, said in a statement. “This means the tabulation equipment counted the ballots as they were designed to do, and the results reflected the will of the voters. That should be the end of the story.”
Republicans in Arizona’s state senate commissioned Cyber Ninjas to helm the audit in April 2021 after Biden became the first Democrat to win in Maricopa County since President Harry S. Truman won in 1948.
Among other alleged discrepancies, the reports claimed that some ballots were cast by people who had moved before the election, that election-related computer files were missing and that some computer images of ballots were missing.
One expert and critic of the review called those red herrings.
“The whole report just reflects on the Ninjas’ lack of understanding of Arizona election law and election administration procedures,” said Benny White, a Republican in Tucson who is an adviser on election law and procedures.
Cyber Ninjas’ audit was marred by a lack of transparency, leading outside experts to warn that its findings ultimately “should not be trusted.”
The company is not federally accredited by the US Election Assistance Commission to test voting systems.
Both Republicans and Democrats have been critical of the unorthodox and sub-standard ways in which the audit had been conducted.
In May, critics lambasted the group after it was revealed they were testing around 40,000 Biden ballots for “bamboo fibers” to prove a far-fetched theory that votes had been flown in from Asia.
Maricopa County Board Chairman Jack Sellers, who has been a long-time critic of the audit, told AZCentral, “the tabulation equipment counted the ballots as they were designed to do, and the results reflect the will of the voters.”
“This should be the end of the story,” he continued. “Everything else is just noise.”
Inspired by Arizona’s audit, Trump demanded Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday to push for an audit of Texas’ election despite winning the state by more than 5 percentage points.