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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Arizona GOP commissions bogus audit of election ballots to further ‘election fraud’ claims

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From The Guardian’s report:

David Becker, an election administration expert and the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, said the effort was so shoddy he was hesitant to acknowledge it as a legitimate investigation.

“I’ve never seen an ‘audit’ that was remotely similar, and given the fundamental flaws, I don’t think this process can even be described as an audit,” he said in an email.

Arizona’s Democratic secretary of state, Katie Hobbs, expressed her disgust at the attempt by her Republican colleagues to manufacture doubts about the state’s election results for political benefit.

“They’re trying to find something that we know doesn’t exist,” said Arizona secretary of state Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, who serves as the state’s top election official. “It’s ludicrous that people think that if they don’t like the results they can just come in and tear them apart.”

As reported by Talking Points Memo, this effort to impugn the results of the 2020 election in Arizona has some well-heeled backers. Wood himself claims to have donated $50,000 to the audit effort through his group, Fight Back. Meanwhile, Logan, who previously took part in preparing a bogus list of election fraud claims that was ultimately posted on disgraced Trump lawyer Sidney Powell’s website, was still accepting private donations to the effort earlier this month, according to The Washington Post.

In a possibly unintended insult to Arizona veterans who fought and died to protect the integrity of our elections, the audit will be conducted at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, with, as TPM report notes, 24-hour security. That security is being arranged by the state Senate; it is not clear who is paying for it, or for that matter, who is paying for the remainder of the costs of conducting the audit, which will likely take months to perform. The GOP-led state Senate has allotted $150,000 in Arizona taxpayer funds to the effort, but that will not cover the entire cost.

The spokesman for the audit is a former Republican secretary of state named Ken Bennett.

He said that the audit team hadn’t settled on a disclosure mechanism for making public who donated to the effort and what the funding paid for.

But while the funding sources of the audit remain a bit murky at this point, it doesn’t appear that anyone doubts what the results will be. Certainly not Lin Wood, who heaped praise on Logan and his company slated to perform the work.

“If it’s the Doug Logan that I knew, and I believe it is, he is a fine Christian man,” Wood said. “I think he’s an excellent person to have that job. I’d trust any audit he gave.”

How reassuring.

Of course the purpose of all this—aside from incidentally profiting those involved—is to continue sowing doubts about the 2020 election and the process as a whole. It is part of a coordinated state-by-state effort by the Republican Party and its media enablers to justify unnecessary voter suppression measures against (in this case) Arizonans, all with the goal of keeping Republicans in power. As pointed out by Levine, that effort was made abundantly clear on Wednesday, when the Republican-dominated Arizona House voted to impose new restrictions on voting, including making mail-in ballots more difficult to obtain.

Friday, Apr 23, 2021 · 12:30:03 PM +00:00 · Dartagnan

Late Thursday evening, after this piece was originally published, Arizona Democrats filed suit to have the state senate’s audit plan declared unlawful.  A hearing was set for Friday.

As of 3:20 EST Friday the Judge had called a temporary halt to the audit on the condition that Democrats pt up $1 million to cover potential costs of the delay, while the Court reviews the legality of the proposed audit plans.


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