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Maricopa County, Arizona election booth

Photo from Maricopa County Elections Department's Facebook

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A majority of likely voters in Arizona oppose the audit state Senate Republicans forced of some 2.1 million ballots cast in the state's 2020 presidential elections, according to a poll released Thursday by a GOP consulting firm in the state, a fact Republican analysts say could be problematic for the party in the coming midterm elections.

The poll found 55 percent of voters don't support the hand recount of some 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County, the state's largest. Democrats overwhelmingly oppose it, but so do 68 percent of unaffiliated voters.

What's more, 44.5 percent of likely voters say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supported the audit, leading Chuck Coughlin, a Republican who is the president and CEO of the firm that conducted the poll, to say it proves the audit is a political liability for the GOP.

"While it is to be expected that they would receive significant opposition from Democrats, this audit makes them face headwinds among independent and unaffiliated voters as well," Coughlin said of the Republicans who forced the audit in the first place. "As we have said before, 'never run the last election, run the election you are in now.' This issue is an electoral cul-de-sac that spells trouble for Republicans in 2022."

The poll results come as bad news continues to plague the audit — which was forced by Republican state senators and is being run by a Donald Trump-supporting conspiracy theorist who was involved in a failed effort to overturn the election.

Election experts who witnessed the counting called the audit a mismanaged mess, condemning the conspiracy-fueled exercise as one meant simply to sow doubt in the election result rather than actually audit the vote.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said the audit's shoddy security protocols compromised millions of dollars worth of election equipment, and she advised Maricopa County election officials that they should purchase new machines.

The Department of Justice said the entire audit may be in violation of federal election law, as ballots are not supposed to go to outside contractors this soon after an election.

In fact, even some GOP lawmakers in the state have come out to say the audit is an embarrassment that needs to stop, and that it makes Republicans look like "idiots."

Yet Republicans are pressing on in their quest to scrounge up evidence for Trump's voter fraud lies.

CNN interviewed state Senate President Karen Fann — whose lawsuit forced the audit in the first place — who stood by the audit despite the problems and continued to promote lies about dead people voting.

Two previous audits conducted in the state found no evidence of Fann's claims.

"There is no doubt that a mid-term 2022 turnout will lean more Republican, but the audit appears to mitigate advantages in this upcoming cycle that should otherwise be helpful to GOP candidates," Paul Bentz, another Republican consultant who works at the Arizona High Ground firm, said in a news release.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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