Breaking: President Joe Biden won the 2020 election in Arizona.
Biden was declared the winner of Arizona’s 11 electoral votes months ago, winning the state by 10,457 votes. But now, the partisan Republican effort to undermine the state’s elections by “auditing” the ballots in Maricopa County has concluded that … Biden won. In fact, according to a leaked draft copy of the report on the effort, Biden got 99 more votes than previously attributed to him, and Donald Trump got 261 fewer.
While the draft report concedes that there was no widespread fraud—just as every legitimate review of the 2020 election has found—it assails Maricopa County for not cooperating and suggests that the county’s elections system and recordkeeping are problematic. That’s fairly obviously the sour grapes of a partisan effort to delegitimize an election coming to grips with the fact that it can’t do so, but the Maricopa County government is ready to push back.
“Unfortunately, the report is also littered with errors & faulty conclusions about how Maricopa County conducted the 2020 General Election,” the county government tweeted Thursday night. Board of Supervisors Chair Jack Sellers said in a statement that the report shows “the tabulation equipment counted the ballots as they were designed to do, and the results reflect the will of the voters. That should be the end of the story. Everything else is just noise.”
But, he went on, “I’m sure it won’t be. Board members told the truth in the face of angry phone calls and emails fueled by a coordinated campaign to shake Americans’ faith in the power of their vote. Will they accept the truth now?”
Probably not. The Arizona Senate, which set up the fraudit and hired Cyber Ninjas, a company with no election audit experience run by someone who’d publicly embraced Trumpist conspiracy theories, to conduct it, is holding an event Friday afternoon to release the results of the (now leaked) report. At that event, Sellers said in his statement, “I expect we will be accused once again of not cooperating, failing to fill holes in the knowledge of the Senate’s chosen contractor. How could we cooperate with an inquiry that was led by people who have no idea how to run any election, let alone one in the second largest voting district in the United States?”
Looking at the list of people presenting on the fraudit at the state Senate event, Dave Weigel noted, “The inclusion of ‘Dr. Shiva’ here tells you everything. His analysis of the Arizona result was that Biden only could have won by getting 130 percent of the Democratic vote, based on his ‘pattern recognition.’” So while they’re being forced to acknowledge that Biden won Arizona and that there is no evidence of significant fraud in Maricopa County—even after they looked for bamboo fibers in the ballots!—the Arizona Senate does not appear ready to give up the fight to undermine the 2020 elections.
To that point, ahead of the release of the report, Republicans in other states were rallying the troops to conduct more fraudits. Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel called for audits of all 50 states, because “Even in states like OHIO where Trump won by massive margins, he probably actually won by even larger margins were it not for the Democrat cheating.” Under pressure from Trump, Texas Republicans announced an audit of the vote in four counties. And Trump also released a statement claiming that subpoenas in the Jan. 6 investigation were intended to distract from the report on the Arizona vote. [Update: That statement has been deleted from Trump's website.]
The votes don’t matter to them. The evidence doesn’t matter to them. Undermining people’s faith in elections to set the stage for 2022 and 2024 is the goal here. And no pesky finding that whoops, there wasn’t fraud in the county they most wanted to find fraud in is going to derail that plan.