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?
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.