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Tag: wendy rogers

Study: Hundreds Of GOP Elected Officials In Extremist Facebook Groups

There have been powerful indicators of the full-bore radicalization of the Republican Party in the past year: the 100-plus extremist candidates it fielded this year, the apparent takeover of the party apparatus in Oregon, the appearance of Republican officials at white nationalist gatherings. All of those are mostly rough gauges or anecdotal evidence, however; it’s been difficult to get a clear picture of just how deeply the extremism has penetrated the party.

Using social media as a kind of proxy for their real-world outreach—a reasonable approach, since there are few politicians now who don’t use social media—the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights decided to get a clearer picture of the reach of extremist influences in official halls of power by examining how many elected officials participate in extremist Facebook groups. What it found was deeply troubling: 875 legislators in all 50 states, constituting nearly 22% of all elected GOP lawmakers, identified as participating members of extremist Facebook groups.

“The ideas of the far right have moved pretty substantially into the mainstream,” Devin Burghart, IREHR’s executive director, told Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, “not only as the basis for acts of violence but as the basis for public policy.”

This is pointedly true when it comes to “replacement theory,” the white-nationalist conspiracist narrative claiming that a nefarious cabal of globalist elites is deliberately manipulating immigration to replace white people in Western society with nonwhites—a set of beliefs that fueled Saturday’s domestic-terrorist attack on the Black community in Buffalo.

“Replacement theory” proponents, Burghart said, come from a broad bandwidth of far-right movements, and have been spread widely over the past year since Fox News’ Tucker Carlson began championing the claims. It’s also been ardently promoted by mainstream Republicans, particularly members of Congress:

  • Elise Stefanik of New York, the number three House Republican: She’s running ads accusing Democrats of “a permanent election insurrection” in the form of an immigration amnesty plan that would “overthrow our current electorate.”
  • Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus: He has claimed “we’re replacing … native-born Americans to permanently transform the political landscape.”
  • Matt Gaetz of Florida, a notorious Trumpist congressman: tweeted that Carlson “is CORRECT about Replacement Theory.”
  • J.D. Vance, who won the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in Ohio: He claims that “Biden’s open border is killing Ohioans, with … more Democrat voters pouring into this country.”
  • Ron Johnson, the GOP senator from Wisconsin: He claims that Democrats “want to remake the demographics of America to ensure ... that they stay in power forever.”

IREHR researchers defined “far-right” groups as those advocating for changes that would significantly undermine political, social, and/or economic equality along class, racial, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, immigration status, or religious lines. Groups fighting government mask and vaccination rules and other public health efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus were also included, as were 23 anti-abortion groups. It identified 789 of them.

The study identified 875 state legislators serving in the 2021-2022 legislative period who had joined these extremist Facebook books, only three of whom were Democrats. The remaining Republicans who had joined these groups constituted 21.74 percent of all Republican lawmakers in the country, and 11.85 percent of all legislators.

The states with the highest percentage of extremist legislators were Alaska (35 percent), Arkansas (25.19 percent), Idaho (22.86 percent), Montana (22.67 percent), Washington (20.41 percent), Minnesota (19.4 percent), Maine (18.28 percent), and Missouri (18.27 percent). The state with the highest total numbers of these legislators was New Hampshire (62), followed by Pennsylvania (40), Minnesota (39), Missouri (36), Arizona (34), Montana (34), Maine (34), Georgia (32), Washington (30), and Maryland (27).

As the report explores in detail—particularly in its profiles of individual extremist legislators, such as Washington state’s Jim Walsh and New Hampshire’s Susan DeLemus—these lawmakers’ far-right politics naturally translate into extremist legislation. The report connects them with a surge in legislation seeking to limit access to the ballot, restrict the rights of LGBTQ people, to limit “critical race theory” and otherwise control what public school children can learn about America’s legacy of racism, as well as to severely restrict abortion rights in their states.

“All of that stuff has been incubated in these networks,’’ Burghart said. “That rhetoric in this context becomes public policy quite quickly and those ideas not only move from the margins to the mainstream but now they’ve been codified into law in some places."

In all, the report identifies some 963 anti-human-rights bills introduced in legislative bodies by these lawmakers.

As Charlie Pierce observes at Esquire:

The point is that there is an internal coherence to all the rightist causes, as well as enthusiasm that hasn’t been there in previous incarnations. And, because of this coherence, there is a more solid political bloc that can influence the “establishment” Republicans, or intimidate them. But, in any case, it is a bloc that cannot be ignored.

Nor are the report’s authors optimistic, considering that even this clearer view of the penetration of extremism within the ranks of elected officials is still very rough and likely misses a great deal of this kind of activity: “IREHR researchers,” it notes, “believe the findings almost certainly understate the breadth of the problem.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Arizona Republican Official Urges Holocaust Denier To ‘Run For Office’

Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers, who spoke at last week’s white nationalist America First Political Action Conference, called on white nationalist and Holocaust denier Vincent James Foxx to “run for office.” Rogers also recently forwarded a piece from VDare, a white nationalist website that is dedicated to warning readers about the supposed dangers of nonwhites.

Foxx is a white nationalist streamer and writer. He is also a Holocaust denier who has said that “the Holocaust is weaponized” against white people; attacked Jewish people because they supposedly “not only control Hollywood, congress, and the media, but they control social media as well”; and claimed that the impeachment of former President Donald Trump was “The Jew Coup.”

He recently spoke at AFPAC, where he pushed the white nationalist “great replacement” theory and said that “Western white culture is the majority culture, to which even non-whites assimilate into today in many western countries, and they’re better off for it.” The Twitter account AZ Right Wing Watch noted Rogers' exhortation, which was made on Telegram.

Foxx is based in Idaho and said that he has “deep connections” to the Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin (R), who spoke at AFPAC. McGeachin is now a candidate for governor.

Rogers has become a major Republican validator for the white nationalist movement, promoting its efforts while receiving rhetorical and financial support from top Republicans including Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Trump himself. (Rogers has been incessantly lying that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.)

On February 2, Rogers used her Telegram account to forward a post from VDare.com, which claimed that President Joe Biden’s administration has been “shipping the illegals in (illegally and impeachably).” VDare also embedded a video from openly bigoted commentator Laura Loomer supposedly showing how “illegal immigrants invade Central Florida.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled VDare a white nationalist hate group and wrote that it “regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race 'scientists,' and anti-Semites.”

VDare features posts with such headlines as: “One Problem With These Hispanic Immigrants Is Their Disgusting Behavior”; “Come Back, Stonewall Jackson! Hispanic Gangs Invade Shenandoah Valley”; “Indians Aren't That Intelligent (On Average)”; “America Does Not Need ANY Immigrants From Africa”; “Roll Over, JIHAD -- There’s Also HIJRA, Muslim Conquest By Immigration”; “National Data: Haitian Immigrants Pretty Useless -- But Haiti Still Needs Them More Than We Do”; and “OK, Let’s Give Them Reparations—If They Go Back To Africa.”

Rogers' promotions of VDare and Foxx are further examples of her love of the white nationalist movement. Last weekend, she spoke remotely at the America First Political Action Conference, a white nationalist gathering that was organized by Holocaust denier and white nationalist Nick Fuentes. During her speech, Rogers said: “I truly respect Nick because he’s the most persecuted man in America.” Rogers has frequently praised Fuentes and said that she loves him.

Rogers has repeatedly praised Fuentes’ racist followers, known as “groypers,” including saying that “I love the Groypers because the Right Wing Watch hates them” and asking the “Groyper army” to help her. The Arizona Mirror’s Jerod MacDonald-Evoy recently explained: “The self-styled online ‘army’ that Rogers was imploring to rally to her aid is a collection of white nationalists who often use online trolling tactics against people they don’t like. Their goals broadly include normalizing their extreme and racist views by aligning them with Christianity and so-called ‘traditional’ values.”

She also has repeatedly appeared on TruNews, an anti-Semitic outlet that warns viewers of “seditious Jews.” Additionally, Rogers has expressed support for the violence-linked QAnon conspiracy theory and is a proud member of the Oath Keepers, a militia group with a history of violence.

The Arizona Republican has pushed toxic rhetoric, including calling for “more gallows”; praising the Confederacy; and claiming that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “is a globalist puppet for Soros and the Clintons.”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Arizona GOP Governor Defends Backing White Nationalist Candidate

While Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey attempted to distance himself from the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by condemning the day and immediately issuing a statement describing the occurrence as "a sickening day" that "no American will ever forget,” his actions don’t match his words. Ducey called for perpetrators to be prosecuted. However, at the same time he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in an effort to elect candidates and lawmakers who boosted the same conspiracy theories that led to the violence that occurred; attended the "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington, D.C.; or openly supported the January 6 insurrection.

Among those he heavily supported is state Sen. Wendy Rogers. Rogers is a far-right Republican who not only advocates on behalf of Donald Trump and his claims that the election was “stolen,” but had a reputation for spreading false conspiracy theories, including one claiming that antifascist activists were responsible for the violence on January 6.

When asked about his support for Rogers on Thursday, Ducey defended his independent expenditures, which spent half a million dollars to support her. Despite her white nationalist ideology, he said he was “proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish” in the 2020 election, adding that “she’s still better than her opponent, Felicia French.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League, a national organization that advocates for acceptance and equality, Rogers is at the top of the list of extremist politicians.

“We’ve just released an analysis of extremist rhetoric in the elections this year, and Wendy Rogers is at the top of that list,” Tammy Gillies, Anti-Defamation League regional director for San Diego and Phoenix, said in January.

The analysis came after Rogers shared a message on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Twitter that said: “Celebrate Lee-Jackson Day.” The tweet included photos of confederate leaders Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, who fought against the Union to preserve slavery, NBC News 12 reported.

In other tweets, Rogers has referred to herself as being “pure blood” and claimed that such individuals are being “replaced and invaded” by “illegal immigrants.” The theory is called the Great Replacement Myth.

“Words matter,” Gillies said. “And words motivate people. Anti-Semitic tropes and hateful language can lead to actual physical violence, and we’ve seen that over and over again.”

Not only has Rogers publicly supported the Stop the Steal movement, but she has also proudly said she is a member of the Oath Keepers militia, according to NBC News. The list of right-wing conspiracies she supports is endless.

She even supported an event that looked to “cancel Hannukah” and only celebrate Christmas in the country. Clearly, she is someone you do not want to support.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

White Nationalists And Republicans Drive Anti-Semitism With COVID Conspiracies

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

In many ways, anti-Semitism and conspiracism are twins with common origins: The original conspiracy theory is the "blood libel" (claiming Jews use the blood of Gentile babies for matzoh) that arose in medieval times, and the ur-conspiracy theory of the 20th century is the "Protocols of the Seven Elders of Zion" hoax claiming a cabal of Jews secretly run the world. Where conspiracism thrives, so does anti-Semitism.

So it's unsurprising to see that the COVID denialist conspiracy theories flourishing online are also driving people to anti-Semitism. The most recent examples include public officials—all conservative Republicans—ranging from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to Arizona State Sen. Wendy Rogers, promoting anti-Semitic tropes while embracing conspiracy theories related to the pandemic. At the same time, overt white nationalists like Nick Fuentes have gone all-in promoting anti-vaccination propaganda that is likewise deeply anti-Semitic.

A paid spokesperson for DeSantis named Christina Pushaw fired out a tweet this week suggesting that the Jewish Rothschild family—whose name has been woven into antisemitic conspiracism since the era of the "Protocols" in the 1920s — was part of a plot to draw European nations into the "Green Pass" vaccination system. Pushaw suggested that a business visit by a member of the Rothschild family with the prime minister of Georgia (which recently joined the "Green Pass" system) was evidence of this plot, writing ironically: "No weird conspiracy stuff here!"

Pushaw later denied any antisemitic intent, claiming that she was instead criticizing the Georgia prime minister "for intentionally fueling conspiracy theories to troll Green Pass opponents."

Rogers, an Arizona legislator already notorious for promoting QAnon conspiracy-cult nonsense and defending Donald Trump's phony claims of a stolen election, also fired off a tweet this week saying: "Retweet if you are a pure blood."

This is a reference to the spreading meme among COVID denialists identifying people who are unvaccinated as "pure bloods"—a la the eugenicist belief in racial purity through one's bloodlines, which is now best known in popular culture through J.K. Rowling's fantasy Harry Potter books, in which the villainous devotees of the evil Lord Voldemort identify using similar terms. Many anti-health-measure conspiracists believe the COVID vaccines permanently taint recipients' blood.

Rogers is no stranger to antisemitism. She frequently makes reference to antisemitic theories that liberal financier George Soros, a Jewish man, is the "puppet master" secretly manipulating mainstream Democrats and leftists—including a recent tweet referring to "Soros puppets."

Overt white nationalists also have adopted the anti-vaccination cause as a recruitment tool. Far-right "Groyper" leader Nick Fuentes—who has "jokingly" denied the Holocaust and compared Jews burnt in concentration camps to cookies in an oven, and recently opined: "I don't see Jews as Europeans and I don't see them as part of Western civilization, particularly because they are not Christians"—in particular has seized on the issue.

Fuentes recently held anti-vaccine rallies in the New York City area, including an event in Staten Island at which he railed: "I'm wearing this bulletproof vest here today, because they're gonna have to kill me before I get this vaccine!"

The next day, Fuentes attempted to latch onto a similar rally in downtown Manhattan, but found that even the anti-vaccine crowd had disowned him: "It's unfortunate that we had to separate from this crowd over there," Fuentes told the group of "Groypers" who had turned out to participate. "It's very troubling because it seems like the people over there, like a lot of people in the city, they hate us more than they hate the vaccine."

The role of right-wing media in whitewashing the role of these extremists in the spread of COVID denialism also became apparent as a result of Fuentes' participation: Fox News originally reported that white nationalists were part of the rally, and included an Anti-Defamation League description of Fuentes' America First organization. But the network then entirely scrubbed that information from later versions of the story when Fuentes and his cohorts complained loudly on social media.

"Fox News using ADL talking points about me and AF," Fuentes wrote on Telegram. "Scum."

A report last month from Hope Not Hate found that COVID denialism was acting as a recruitment gateway to broader antisemitic beliefs. It found that content posted with the hashtags #rothschildfamily, #synagogueofsatan and #soros was viewed 25.1 million times on TikTok in half a year—and was similarly widespread at Facebook and Twitter.

The report found that the now-defunct 4chan site, particularly its /pol/ section, contained the most antisemitic slurs of any platform. However, the encrypted chat site Telegram is now becoming the site with the most voluminous and vicious antisemitism, with numerous antisemitic channels, some boasting tens of thousands of members.

The report explained:

While conspiracy thinking fuels extremism of all kinds, in particular it can function as a slip road towards antisemitism and Holocaust denial, especially as far-right activists are actively attempting to exploit these networks. While conspiracy ideologies have always formed part of the social and political backdrop, the recent fever pitch has posed challenges to social cohesion and a heightened threat to Jewish people and other minoritised communities.

The report's authors also observed a close connection between the amount of antisemitism on a platform and how lightly or loosely it is moderated: the less restrictive the moderation, the greater and louder the antisemitism.

This is now a problem on every social media platform. Jewish creators on TikTok have complained that they face a deluge of antisemitism on the platform, and they are often targeted by groups who mass-report their accounts in order to get them temporarily banned.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a breeding ground for far-right extremism and conspiracism since its outbreak in early 2020, particularly serving as a recruitment and organizing nexus for extremists, as well as a fundraising pretext for the many scam operators working within that sphere. And social media, particularly Facebook, have been notoriously ineffective at reeling in the problem.

The Hope Not Hate report recommends, among other steps, that social media companies simply ban antisemitism across all their platforms entirely. "While explicitly disallowing antisemitism in a platform's community guidelines does not mean that it will vanish from the platform, it is a useful first step to tackle the issue," the report concludes, noting that "antisemites change the nature, style and extremeness of their antisemitism depending on the guidelines of the platform they are operating on. Specifically banning antisemitism, and other forms of racism, will allow for more robust enforcement against antisemites and result in less overt and extreme forms of antisemitism being seen by Jewish users of the platform, thereby reducing the harm they will experience as users."

Big Liars Cling To Conspiracy Theories After Arizona 'Audit' Debacle

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

"Truth is truth and numbers are numbers," said Arizona Senate President Karen Fann on September 24, as she summarized the most important finding in the long-awaited report from the pro-Trump contractors hired to assess the accuracy of the 2020 election results in Maricopa County, where two-thirds of Arizonans reside.

That bottom line -- yes, Joe Biden won, and his vote totals had increased while Donald Trump's totals had fallen -- was noted by almost everyone following American politics except for the people who arguably needed to hear it the most: Trump and his base of true believers.

"Yesterday we also got the results of the Arizona audit, which were so disgracefully reported by those people right back there," Trump said at a Georgia rally, pointing to the press as attendees cheered. "We won on the Arizona forensic audit yesterday at a level that you wouldn't believe!"

"We call on each state to decertify… Decertify… DECERTIFY… [their 2020 presidential results]," yelled Republican Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers, at a pro-Trump rally outside legislative chambers after the Senate's contractors reported that Biden won Maricopa County by 45,469 votes. (The official results showed Biden beating Trump by 45,109 votes countywide and 10,457 votes statewide.)

Despite the unexpected affirmation of the accuracy of Maricopa County's voting system, other parts of the reports revived and expanded previous conspiratorial claims. There were claims that more than 20,000 ballots might have come from wrong addresses—making the ballots uncountable. Or additional thousands might have come from voters who might have moved away, or people might have voted twice. Another Senate contractor, CyFIR, a cybersecurity firm, said that county election employees were seen on video in what might be images of them erasing key computer records from the 2020 presidential election.

Fann concluded the hours-long hearing by releasing a letter calling for Arizona's attorney general to investigate the alleged data erasure (which county officials deny) and other alleged problems. Fann said that further hearings would be held on the 2020 election.

Schism Between Reality and Fantasy Grows

The reaction by Trump and his base to the Senate's 2020 review, which has sparked copycat efforts in other swing states, underscores that these exercises have always been more about cultivating doubts about unpopular election results for partisan gain than about settling the lingering questions held by the most loyal supporters of a losing candidate.

One need look no further than coverage of the base's reactions by anti-Trump Republicans such as Charlie Sykes, editor of the Bulwark, whose newsletter on September 27 said, "If you have been living in a bubble of naivete or denial, you might have imagined that the results of the Cyber Ninja[s] audit in Arizona would usher in a New Era of Sobriety in our politics. Fat chance."

Still, there are some corners in the world of politics and elections where facts matter and conducting transparent audits where the methodologies and findings are fully released is the standard for credibility. The Cyber Ninjas still have not released their full data sets (they still are fighting public records requests in court), which has led many experienced election officials to comment that the public cannot trust anything they claim—including saying that their results from their controversial hand count was as close to the official results as they reported.

"Cyber Ninjas has no expertise in election audits, so it's no surprise that the methodology of their report makes it impossible to validate their findings," said Matthew Weil, Bipartisan Policy Center elections project director. "Real auditors show their work. Despite finding almost no change in the overall vote totals from 2020, they have succeeded in degrading faith in the results of a free and fair election and delaying discussions of real reforms to improve the voting experience."

Voting Booth, along with a team of experienced election auditors, obtained a draft copy of the Cyber Ninjas' report three days before its presentation in the Arizona Senate and worked on a section-by-section analysis that debunked its false claims and evidence. That analysis was shared with numerous reporters in Arizona and nationwide and election policy analysts as a baseline for their ensuing coverage.

The Cyber Ninjas' draft report insinuated that tens of thousands of voter registrations and paper ballots might have been illegitimate, forged, or even illegal. (In some cases, their final report rolled back or increased the number of voters and ballots that they alleged were questionable by several thousand, but they didn't change the evidence cited.)

The attacks on voter registrations, for example, were based on imprecise commercial data, not on government records used in elections. The forged ballots accusation indicated that Cyber Ninjas didn't know that ballots are printed for voters after they arrive at vote centers on Election Day. Under a microscope, the lines on those ballots appear less crisp than the lines that appear on mailed-out ballots, which are printed by an industrial press weeks ahead of an election.

Nonetheless, the Cyber Ninjas included recommendations for legislative action that are consistent with decades of GOP efforts to put partisan constrictions on voting and intimidate Democratic Party voters, based on clichéd false claims of fraudulent voting. Their legislative recommendations also included authorizing a new private election review industry, which would perpetuate their business model.

"The real reason the GOP is abetting Trumpist conspiracy theories is to justify restrictive voting rights laws, keep the base fired up for the [2022] midterms and lay the groundwork for letting partisan actors step in to influence the outcome of close elections," said Marc Elias, one of the Democratic Party's top lawyers, in an email touting his analysis of Arizona's 2020 review.

Whose Cover-Up?

While most Americans will not delve into the election administration details of Maricopa County's 2020 presidential election or the claims and evidence cited by the Cyber Ninjas, one of the foremost takeaways by pro-Trump contractors was the accusation that Maricopa County was caught destroying key evidence in February 2021. Election officials replied that their staff was archiving data, one of many responses and explanations offered via live tweets.

However, it appears to be the Cyber Ninjas who have been covering up their work and data—even after they issued their report. There were filings and hearings in two Arizona courtrooms on September 24 and 27 over the Cyber Ninjas' refusal to provide public reports, including the complete ballot and vote counts, to the Arizona Republic and public-interest groups. Their refusal is important, because that data will likely reveal the extent of the Cyber Ninjas' incompetence and underscore that Arizona-style "audits" should not occur elsewhere.

"They should never be hired again to do this by anybody," said Benny White, a longtime election observer for the Arizona Republican Party, lawyer, and part of the team of experienced auditors who have been using 2020 public election records to debunk the Senate's review. "They're incompetent, and they lie about what they've done."

White's comments come after reviewing a handful of the tally sheets included in the Cyber Ninjas' report. His team has spent months to identify how many ballots and votes are in each batch and storage box from the election.

"It's very difficult to discern where they got their numbers from," he said, pointing to several columns where spreadsheet fields are blank. "My question is: Why is there not better data there for everything?"

What unfolded between late April and mid-August was a pattern in which the Cyber Ninjas changed the review's focus—moving the goal posts—from retallying the presidential and U.S. Senate election totals to attacking voter rolls and mailed-out ballots and flagging possible cybersecurity issues.

Their early blunders are briefly noted in Volume II of the Cyber Ninjas' report, in a discussion of "quality controls." The report said that "all [handwritten] Tally sheets originally aggregated in the first three weeks of counting were re-entered in the new forms," meaning they had to be redone. Those sheets, which grew to more than 10,000 pages, then had to be entered into an Excel spreadsheet at computer terminals. The report said overhead video cameras were used to catch data entry typos. "The primary function of these cameras was to… demonstrate irrefutable evidence that the data entered was accurate."

By late June, the Cyber Ninjas knew that the hand count's results had differed from the official results by thousands of votes, Voting Booth was told at the time by insiders. The contractors never released the hand-count results and, throughout the summer, went to court to oppose releasing their records to the press. In early July, the state Senate purchased machines to count the number of paper ballots—not their votes—as a way to try to understand what was wrong with the hand count. Until they presented their report on September 24, the contractors never discussed the machine count results.

Meanwhile, White and his colleagues, who had been working for months to hold the Cyber Ninjas accountable, believe that the Cyber Ninjas panicked in late June. That was why they began a machine count of the number of ballots (not votes) in hope of finding new pro-Trump evidence, he said. Instead, that tactic backfired as it confirmed the number of ballots and votes and left no room for speculation about Biden's victory.

At that point, the Cyber Ninjas announced that they had to expand their investigation, which the Senate president allowed—and they revived the longstanding GOP strategy of attacking voter rolls, by alleging that there were tens of thousands of illegitimate voters and thousands of forged ballots. These claims and their specious evidence, all debunked on the eve of the final report's release, involved volumes of votes larger than Biden's margin of victory.

Above all, perhaps one statistic from the Cyber Ninjas' report stands out as an indicator of their lack of expertise as auditors. In the presidential election, they reported counting 2,088,569 ballots. In the U.S. Senate race they reported counting 2,088,396 ballots in the U.S. Senate race—a difference of 173 ballots.

This is a basic auditing mistake; there should be no difference in the number of ballots counted in the same election.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.