In a conversation newly published in Bloomberg, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, outlined troubling details of the so-called election audit that has been underway in Maricopa County, Arizona throughout recent weeks.
That supposed audit has been conducted under the supervision of Republicans from the Arizona state Senate, who subpoenaed and successfully obtained materials from last year’s election from local authorities. The effort has been unfolding after repeated, credible security checks of last year’s election results found zero legitimate evidence of systematic fraud, and this new audit has included conspiratorial nonsense like a search for bamboo fibers among the election materials on the basis of the bonkers notion that fraudulent ballots may have been shipped in from China. Republicans in the Arizona state Senate contracted a company called Cyber Ninjas to lead the audit — but the firm had no previous election auditing experience. The Maricopa operation isn’t credible.
Asked about criticism from Attorney General Merrick Garland of the so-called audit, Hobbs commented as follows:
‘We have known from the beginning that the folks involved in this exercise have a highly partisan agenda. The CEO of the company that was hired, Doug Logan, has said on the record that he believes Donald Trump won Arizona with no evidence at all to back that up. They have no election experience or auditing experience and they’re making this up as they go along. But they’re also using it to continue to spread disinformation about the 2020 election.’
Continued lying about last year’s presidential election by prominent conservatives has a damaging impact. Essentially, former President Trump and his allies, along with the Republican leaders who have allowed space for their election nonsense, are cultivating dangerous distrust of democracy.
Explaining in more specific terms the problems with the so-called audit, Hobbs added as follows:
‘I certainly don’t think highly of their methodology. Nothing that we’re seeing here inspires confidence that any results that they put out will be valid or credible. Starting with the highly partisan nature of the folks involved in running this. We had to go to court to force them to produce the procedures that they were following to conduct this so-called audit. We also had to force the level of transparency that exists with having independent election experts in the room to observe, as well as allowing reporters in there. And they’ve been touting this transparency with the 24/7 video access, but there were many parts that weren’t on video. So the fact that the equipment was locked in a room that there was no video feed is problematic.’
Meanwhile, ex-President Trump has made clear that his vision of democracy entails the silencing of his political opponents, underscoring exactly what’s at stake. After an announcement by New York state Attorney General Letitia James (D) that she’d shifted her probe of Trump’s business into a criminal investigation, Trump complained (referencing James) that “if you can run for a prosecutor’s office pledging to take out your enemies, and be elected to that job by partisan voters who wish to enact political retribution, then we are no longer a free constitutional democracy.” In reality, the ability for groups of voters to band together and enact meaningful pushback against an elected leader, like Trump used to be, is one of the foundational features of democracy.