Phony Arizona Election “Audit” Reveals Nothing About 2020 Electoral Votes

Obviously Joe Biden won, but that wasn’t the point.

Arizona protestors

Trump supporters protest outside the Maricopa County elections center in November 2020.Christopher Brown/ZUMA Wire

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.

The so-called audit of Arizona’s 2020 presidential election results led by state Republican lawmakers was never a credible audit, and in spirit it was something for more malicious. But now it’s officially over, and you’ll never guess who the real winner of the 2020 presidential election in Arizona was. You’ll want to sit down for this. Are you sitting down? You sure?

The winner was Joe Biden.

According to an early version of a “three-volume report” reviewed by the Arizona Republic, the results of the purported audit of the state’s largest county, Maricopa, “show Trump lost by a wider margin than the county’s official election results.”

The idea that Arizona’s election had somehow been stolen from former president Donald Trump has been weaponized to powerful effect on the political right. On January 6, a large number of US House and Senate Republicans objected to the certification of the state’s electoral votes. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) even voted against accepting Arizona’s electors after a mob of people who believed the election had been stolen stormed Congress, beat police officers, and called for Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged.

The election results in Arizona had already been audited, long before January 6, by actual professionals, and the topline results hadn’t changed. The only reason ever to have thought that the results might be different on this effort was that it was not being done by professionals, but instead a small Florida firm called the “Cyber Ninjas” that had been chosen by Republican senators from Arizona despite not even submitting a formal bid. The Cyber Ninjas had never done anything like this before, in fact. Their CEO, however, had previously claimed that a defeated Trump had really won the state. What was their methodology like? Here’s the Associated Press:

The auditors are checking for bamboo fibers to test a theory that tens of thousands of fake ballots were shipped from Asia. A onetime treasure hunter who claims to have invented a new method to automatically spot ballot fraud says his technology is being used in the review.

Okay, yeah, sure. On a broader level, the fake audit already served its real intended purpose. The point was to leave an official imprint of skepticism on an electoral process that never warranted it. To amplify conspiracies and foment anger about the election, while the legislature went ahead and made it harder for certain people to vote—and, to show fealty to an ex-president who continues to hold sway over a political party veering farther away from democracy.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate