Seven months have passed since the 2020 US presidential election. Donald Trump may not have admitted, but he is absent.
Joe Biden has been president for over 100 days. The heartbeat of policy making has shifted to pandemic bailouts and infrastructure spending.
Still, in Mar-a-Lago, Trump is still complaining about his election defeat. In Washington, Republicans have launched Liz Cheney from a parliamentary leadership post, stating that Biden was legally elected.
And in Phoenix, Arizona, they are still counting ballots-or technically auditing-.
What is an audit?
The audit is a review of more than 2 million ballots cast in Maricopa County, including Phoenix, ordered by a majority of Republicans controlling the Arizona Senate.
Joe Biden won more than 45,000 votes in Maricopa County by the time he got 10,457 votes in Arizona. He was the first Democrat to occupy the state since Bill Clinton in 1992.
Republican audit proponents theorize that if they can find substantive evidence of fraud, it means that Trump really beat Arizona. If Trump really beat Arizona, he probably really beat the other states he lost slightly. And if he really beat other states enough, he really won the election.
This all requires extreme logical distortion, which is what they are working on.
It is also worth noting that the Republican-controlled Maricopa County Supervisory Board, which carried out the county election process and reviewed the results, was behind the initial tally and was not interested in participating in the process. I will.
So who is doing it?
This becomes interesting and strange.
The Arizona Senate has paid $ 150,000 for audits conducted by Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based private company. The company has never done this before and has not been certified by the federal government to test its voting system.
The process by which the Senate chose the company is uncertain, and additional costs are covered by right-wing funding.
Already, cyber ninjas, who pay individuals $ 15 an hour to perform audits, have made some basic mistakes, such as allowing them to use a blue pen on ballots. Since blue ink is used for voting, the intentions of voters may change.
The company has also been accused of leaving ballots and computers unsafe.
The owner of the cyber ninja, Doug Logan, is a Trump supporter who pushed the conspiracy theory of last year’s 2020 election fraud.
Although media access to the reviews is restricted, one reporter found Anthony Kern, a former Arizona Republican officer, among those participating in ballot counting.
Kahn attended a Trump support rally in Washington on January 6, and was seen outside the US Capitol, but some Trump supporters plundered the building later that day.
What are the auditors looking for?
Unspecified evidence of fraud in the state presidential and Senate elections (both are, Democrats won).
They are counting ballots. This was done after the elections, and then during regular partial recounts that all Arizona counties need to do legally (and in Maricopa fully support the first results). ..
They are also looking for a little more extraordinary evidence of illegal activity. They had ballots down to UV light, took pictures with high-resolution cameras, analyzed the folding patterns of the paper and its thickness and color, and searched for traces of bamboo fibers.
Wait a minute, bamboo fiber?
Okay. According to one volunteer, John Blakey, they are investigating whether fake ballots may have been brought in from abroad.
“They use bamboo to process paper for Southeast Asians,” he told a local CBS television station.
Blakey immediately says he suspects such a scam is genuine, but investigators clearly want to keep the stones from spinning, testing, and exposing them to UV light.
Mailed Arizona ballots will be matched against registered voters and will be flagged if the same individual casts multiple votes.
How is this legal?
The Arizona audit was approved by the Arizona Senate. The Arizona Senate has issued a ballot subpoena under investigative powers.
This is not a legally binding recount that could overturn the 2020 results, so the courts have more room for auditors to carry out their work.
However, the court prevented auditors from attempting to match the signature of the mailed ballot with the voter file, fearing it would infringe on the privacy of the voter.
Cyber Ninja contractors have also abandoned plans to contact voters directly to check ballots after threatening the US Department of Justice to raise concerns about voters’ threats.
What does Donald Trump think about this?
Of course he loves it. He has been supporting the auditor in a press release.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they found thousands, thousands, thousands of votes,” he said. I talked to a group of guests two weeks ago At his Marago club. “This was an election fraud. Everyone knows it. We will watch it very carefully.”
Trump also requires state Republican governor Doug Ducey to provide auditors with “massive security,” such as police and National Guard.
Security? Is this dangerous?
However, according to a document released under a court order, cyber ninjas were preparing the sinister Antifa agents to thwart their efforts.
For example, they were worried that nearby chemical storage areas could be disrupted by the Left as part of a systematic attempt to break through the count area.
This is not happening.
What do other Republican politicians think?
Those who want to stay in Trump’s good grace welcome audits.
“We’re asking Americans for transparency and answers,” said Congressman Elise Stephanik, who is ready to replace Cheney in Republican leadership, said last week. “What are Democrats so afraid of?”
given that Poll shows a majority of Republicans Members of the party in favor of audits, who think the Democrats have stolen elections, have solid political grounds.
However, some Republicans, including Arizona, may have doubts.
“It makes us look silly,” said Paul Boyer, state councilor in the Phoenix region. Told the New York Times.. “Looking back, I didn’t think it was so ridiculous.”
And what do Democrats think?
Frankly, the Democratic Party sees auditing as a fake that further undermines America’s confidence in the election process simply by fueling political stunts, wasting money, and conspiracy theories.
They appealed to stop the audit from proceeding, and state judges tentatively agreed, but $ 1 million to Democrats to cover additional costs that could delay during legal review. Requested to pay. The Democratic Party has decided that it can find a better use of the money.
The judge requested the Cyber Ninja to submit a copy of the procedure and training manual. This was a move that the company initially resisted, arguing that it needed to protect “corporate secrets.”
So if none of this is important, what’s the point?
According to those who recounted, the purpose of this project is to address the prevailing concerns among some voters that the 2020 elections are illegal. And what if the end result is that there were no scams? That is fine too.
“This is not to question the outcome of the November elections,” audit spokesman Ken Bennett told The Washington Post. “This is to identify if there are any areas of election that need improvement in the future.”
Of course, few Democrats believe this. They fear that the point of the audit is to raise further questions about Biden’s victory and enact new voting restrictions that penalize candidates and voters in the name of “ballot security.” Pave the way for Republican state-level efforts for.
The audit was scheduled to end later this week, but so far only about 10% of the ballots have been counted. Aggregation is currently suspended while many high schools use the arena for graduation ceremonies.
According to the organizers, it may be completed in July.
In Virginia, on the other hand, the result of the Republican governor’s nomination took days longer than expected, as some candidates expressed concern about the safety of ballots and the fairness of party voters.
Arizona audits may not be a source of greater distrust of elections than the precursors of American democracy, where all elections are seen with suspicion and all outcomes are exposed to seemingly endless challenges. Hmm.