Reprinted with permission from American Independent
The Republican-controlled Arizona Senate is continuing to try to overturn President Joe Biden's 2020 election victoryin the state, ordering a hand recount of 2.1 million ballots in the state's largest county.
Election experts say recounting ballots by hand takes a long time and can yield inaccurate results due to human error, the Arizona Republic reported.
Already, numerous election audits have been conducted both in Arizona and nationwide that have found no evidence of fraud or vote-changing in the 2020 election, despite the accusation of Donald Trump and his supporters.
Last week, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security issued a joint report that concluded there is "no evidence that any foreign government-affiliated actor prevented voting, changed votes, or disrupted the ability to tally votes or to transmit election results in a timely manner; altered any technical aspect of the voting process; or otherwise compromised the integrity of voter registration information of any ballots cast during 2020 federal elections."
That is still not good enough for Fann: She and state Republicans continue to demand more audits to find the fraud in Maricopa County's results that they insist is there.
Fann won a court order on February 26 — three days after the last audit came back showing there was no evidence of vote tampering — requiring the county's Board of Supervisors to turn over election materials to the Senate's leadership for a "full forensic audit."
But she has not said who will conduct the audit, which will be a full hand recount of 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County.
Republicans had previously announced that the audit would be carried out by Allied Security Operations Group, described by a person at the company reached by the New York Times last year as "a private Dallas-based cybersecurity firm," associated with failed right-wing Texas U.S. House candidate Russell Ramsland and with a history of trying to ferret out supposed fraud. But Fann later said an auditor had not been selected.
Fann, for her part, did not respond to a request for comment from the American Independent Foundation about why she thinks another audit would produce any different results than the previous audits, what firm she has hired to conduct the recount, or how much it would cost the state.
Democrats and Republicans alike criticized Fann's announcement.
Former Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell, a Republican, declined to be part of the effort, telling a Phoenix ABC affiliate, "It's really not a necessary process. So, it's not something I believe that needs to be done or that it should be done." Purcell said the two previous independent audits that found no fraud were enough.
Democrats say Fann is merely trying to appease conspiracy theorists in the state, who are still pushing the lie that Trump would have won the 2020 election had it not been for fraud.
"Senate President Fann is caving to the most radical fringes in her party and is actively pushing election conspiracy theories using Arizona taxpayer dollars," Alex Alvarez, a spokesman for the Arizona Democratic Party, told the American Independent Foundation.
Alvarez said, "There is no credible evidence of election tampering, and even former Republican Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell has agreed that this process is unnecessary. Fann and her Republican legislative colleagues are complicit with far-right conspiracy theorists and are doing everything they can to overthrow a free and fair election."
Senate Democratic Minority Leader Rebecca Rios told the Associated Press that the latest recount is a "charade."
"This audit is not about increasing voter trust. Americans' right to vote is sacred and how elections are run is paramount to the trust in our Democracy," Rios said. "This entire charade is only keeping the flame of fraud lit and we've seen how gaslighting voters into thinking their election was stolen has to end."
The latest conspiracy theory Arizona Republicans are pushing is that shredded ballots were found in a dumpster. The theory was launched by a Facebook post from Staci Burk, who had filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state's election results. Burk's lawsuit was dismissed by a judge who said it was "sorely wanting of relevant or reliable evidence."
No evidence for Burk's new claim about shredded ballots has been found, yet Republican state lawmakers are pushing it as further evidence of fraud.
Senate Majority Whip Sonny Borrelli is one of the Republicans spreading the false claim.
The Arizona Republic reported that Borrelli told Burk during a phone call, "This is the domino. This is the one domino (that) Arizona knocks over and we expose this corruption then the other states fall, too."
"This is so high level, people, that they want this to go away," Borrelli said.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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