Republican state lawmakers have begun recounting ballots in Arizona’s Maricopa County from the 2020 presidential election, nearly six months after former president Donald Trump lost the typically red state — and reelection.
The almost 2.1 million ballot audit is the result of a subpoena by Republican state senators who’ve sought the recount “to examine unsubstantiated claims that fraud or errors tainted President Biden’s win,” according to The Washington Post. The senators hired a private technology company — Florida-based Cyber Ninjas — to conduct the audit, reported the Arizona Republic.
- Doug Logan, the head of Cyber Ninjas, said on Twitter he believes there was election fraud and “people better get wise fast,” National Public Radio reported.
- Logan has also authored a document called “Election Fraud Facts & Details,” which cites debunked conspiracies and unproven allegations as proof of election fraud, the Arizona Mirror reported.
- “Some of it is based on my own research, but quite a bit is information I got from other people but personally vetted,” Logan said of how we came about the material for the document, according to the Arizona Mirror.
- “Three previous reviews showed no sign of significant fraud or any reason to doubt President Biden’s victory, The New York Times reported.
- Arizona’s state senators do no have the power to change election results, The Associated Press reported.
Legal snags and security concerns
The Republican-sponsored recount began late last week and immediately met legal challenges and criticism.
On Friday, a judge asked Cyber Ninjas to “turn over its plans and procedures amid concerns about the security of the county’s ballots and voter privacy,” while lawyers for the out-of-state tech company argued that those plans include trade secrets and are protected by “legislative privilege, as it is working on behalf of the state Senate,” reported the Arizona Republic.
- “After a brief pause on Friday ordered by a state court judge, the audit continues without clarity on who will do the counting, what it will cost and who will pay for the process,” The New York Times reported.
- “The prospect that a court might block voters from seeing how their ballots will be handled during the unprecedented undertaking adds to mounting concerns about its transparency, given that its funders remain a mystery and news briefings were immediately placed on an indefinite hiatus,” according to the Arizona Republic.
- Cyber Ninja’s lease on a stadium being used as the recount location expires on May 14, reported NPR.
A website — AZAudit.org — is hosting nine live-streaming videos of the recount, but the cameras are not zoomed in and there is no sound. The camera views look similar to that of a security camera’s perspective.
On election night, a viral video from Arizona inaccurately claimed that ballots filled out with sharpies weren’t counted, leading protesters to flock to the polling station. The hashtag #sharpiegate went viral in the wake of the misinformation.
- Maricopa County officials and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security each released statements that using a sharpie wouldn’t void a ballot and that felt-tip pens are recommended because they “provide the fastest-drying ink.”
- Still, the viral video led to a lawsuit from a Maricopa county voter — supported by a conservative out-of-state legal group — who alleged that her ballot and others had not been counted correctly, according to The Times. The attorneys filing the case later submitted a dismissal.
President Joe Biden beat…