he GOP’s election review in Arizona is over.
On Friday, Arizona Republicans praised the findings of their unprecedented partisan election review,
which reaffirmed President Joe Biden’s win in Maricopa County and urged for similar reviews throughout the country.
“We need to conduct larger audits on every election simply to make sure that everyone is following the rules,” Senate President Karen Fann,
a Republican, said, bragging about how many legislators from other states had visited the ballot review site.
Hours of testimony from third-party contractors, including Doug Logan, CEO of the lead contractor,
Cyber Ninjas, cast doubt and suggested their work had turned up evidence of improprieties such as illegal votes and deleted election files,
heard by Fann and state Sen. Warren Petersen, both Republicans.
Experts and detractors, on the other hand, claim the alleged results corroborate what they already knew: that the hired contractors were inexperienced and failed to follow industry best practices,
as well as misunderstand and misinterpret the fundamentals of election administration and Arizona election law.
Experts believe there is genuine harm being done to electoral confidence as a result of the growth of Arizona-inspired initiatives throughout the nation.
“They’re reiterating some of the arguments that have previously debunk.
And simply continuing to give oxygen to lies,” said Tammy Patrick,
a former Maricopa County elections officer who is now a senior advisor at Democracy Fund, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving American elections.
Liz Howard, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, stated, “They’re just taking normal election administration procedures and trying to portray what they don’t understand as a suspect.”
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Howard was chosen to oversee the study by Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, and spent weeks in Phoenix watching the Cyber Ninjas at the action.
She went on to say, “It’s unreasonable to believe this isn’t accidental.”
The auditors’ conclusions, which distribute in a draught on Thursday night before being delivered in a live-streamed event on Friday,
showed that they didn’t grasp fundamental election management, according to both Howard and Patrick.
Contractors, for example, claimed that thousands of out-of-state and out-of-county voters, as well as hundreds of deceased voters,
cast votes in November, based on a comparison of voter registers with commercial data lists.
Patrick said that such data was not well verified and that political organizations that had relied on commercial mailing lists have sometimes sent mailers to people’s pets,
for example, because their cat had previously subscribed to Cat Fancy magazine.
Howard acknowledged that commercial data was untrustworthy for this purpose, but noted that there are legitimate reasons why a voter could be linked with a different residence yet still be entitled to vote in Maricopa County, such as students.
Contractors also claimed that election files were destroyed, which Maricopa County “vehemently” denied on Twitter,
claiming that they had more records but that the state Senate has never sought them.
Experts and opponents agree that the review’s ramifications have just begun.
Arizona Republican state Sen.
Paul Boyer, who originally supported the study but then withdrew his support in February due to worries about its pace, thinks it will make legislation on elections more difficult.
On Friday, he told NBC News, “I believe you’re going to see a hundred or two hundred election legislation next year,
and no one is going to listen to the experts.”
He went on to say that he has talked with people who have either quit the Republican Party or stopped voting entirely because they don’t believe the election will be fair.
Experts also envision the spread of Arizona-style ballot reviews throughout the nation.
On Thursday night, Texas began a “forensic audit” of four counties,
only hours after former President Donald Trump asked for it.
Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are conducting similar investigations.
“They’re using it as rationale and logic to encourage this kind of behavior in places throughout this nation,” Patrick said of lawmakers from other states who attended the review.
When asked how he would advise legislators starting a ballot review in their states right now,
Boyer said he would encourage them to do nonpartisan, expert-led studies.
“Believe in the experts. They’ve been doing it for a long time. They have a good understanding of what they’re doing.
Make certain that anybody you employ hasn’t already made up their mind.
This isn’t an audit in the traditional sense.
The Arizona inquiry is a political investigation,
he added. “Ironically, it’ll breed even more mistrust when the argument, if you believe it,
is that they’re attempting to build greater confidence,” says the author.
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