The ongoing election recount in Arizona continues nearly six months after Joe Biden won the state en route to the White House. And, it’s slowly eroding faith in an election system that by all legitimate accounts, worked spectacularly well. Arizona’s Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow she fears the GOP-led audit is undermining public trust in the elections process, all in the name of political theater.
While state officials go on with the process of hand-counting the 2.1 million votes cast in Maricopa County, the state’s county, a certain former president has become obsessed with the process. Several people close to Donald Trump told the Washington Post he talks about The Arizona audit “constantly,” as if he thinks it will finally prove his false claims that the election was stolen from him. Trump reportedly asks aides for updates several times a day at Mar-a-Lago. The unnamed advisors say the former president is especially interested in how UV lights are being used scrutinize Maricopa’s ballots to search for any tampering. This method is a particular head-scratcher for election experts, who say the UV lights could damage the ballots.
Further damaging the credibility of this audit, which was ordered by Arizona’s GOP-led state senate, is that the head of Cyber Ninjas, one the companies handling the recount, is a Stop The Steal Trump supporter. Cyber Ninjas has refused to publicly reveal how it’s counting the votes and how workers are determining voters’ intent as they review ballots. The company has also refused to allow reporters and independent election experts to view the audit process.
The audit isn’t just an embarrassment for the state. One election law expert thinks it’s illegal.
The ongoing mess that is the AZ “election audit,” lacking any sense of transparency, conducted by an inexperienced, biased out-of-state firm, contaminating chain-of-custody and the ballots themselves, is not only a bad idea. It also likely violates federal law. /1
— David Becker (@beckerdavidj) April 27, 2021
Trump’s support of the Arizona effort has election officials on both sides of the aisle worried that it will set a dangerous precedent where no election results will escape partisan scrutiny.
“I’m very concerned this has ramifications for every state in the country,” Kim Wyman, a Republican who serves as secretary of state in Washington state, told the Post. “This is politicizing an administrative process with no real structure or laws or rules in place to guide how it goes.”