© Reuters. A demonstrator holds a “Trump 2020” flag as Arizona voters gather to cast their ballots in the US presidential election, at the Arizona Capitol, in Phoenix, Arizona, United States, December 14, 2020. REUTERS/Cheney Orr
Written by David Schwartz and Nathan Lane
PHOENIX (Reuters) – Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden in Arizona’s most populous county, confirming a review of the results by his GOP allies, drawing on a widespread effort sparked by Trump’s false allegations of voter fraud.
Karen Fan, the president of the Arizona Senate, the Republican who paved the way for a so-called “complete forensic review” of Maricopa County’s 2.1 million ballot papers, said the vote totals in the review match initial results in November.
“The truth is the truth, the numbers are numbers,” Fan said at a Senate hearing on the review. These numbers were close, on the order of a few hundred.
This conclusion would dismay Trump supporters who have lobbied for the review, as many expected it would vindicate his baseless assertions that he had been robbed of his re-election due to orchestrated fraud. So far no such evidence has been provided by Trump or his supporters.
Outside groups associated with the Stop Theft movement and other efforts to discredit the 2020 findings have raised nearly $6 million to fund the investigation, viewing it as a catalyst for similar investigations in Pennsylvania, Michigan and other combative states. Trump lost.
In Texas, the secretary of state’s office said Thursday, the state has begun scrutiny of presidential elections in the four largest counties — Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Colin — an announcement that came hours after Trump publicly called for such a move. Although Trump carried Texas, Biden won three target counties.
Trump, who had predicted an Arizona investigation would prove his allegations, issued a statement that appeared to contradict the review’s findings, calling it “a huge victory for democracy and a huge victory for us.”
Ben Ginsberg, the Republican election attorney who represented Republican George W. Bush when he defeated Democrat Al Gore in a 2000 election dispute, called the review’s findings a “huge defeat” for Trump.
“This was Donald Trump’s best opportunity to prove electoral fraud and failure,” Ginsberg said on a media call organized by the United States Center for Democracy, a nonpartisan political group.
Reconfirming Biden’s Victory
In Arizona, Biden won more than 10,000 votes, a slim victory confirmed by a manual recount and multiple post-election tests for accuracy. Biden received Maricopa, which includes Phoenix, by about 45,000 votes, making it decisive in his defeat of Trump.
The Arizona investigation is part of a larger effort by Republicans to undermine confidence in the 2020 election and gain more control over the voting process. So far this year, at least 18 Republican-led states have passed legislation restricting access to voting, steps they say are necessary to ensure election integrity. Democrats say such laws are intended to manipulate the system because Republicans tend to do better in low-turnout elections.
Fan said the state Senate was working on legislation to achieve an “undisputed electoral process,” based on alleged issues found in the review. It called for improvements to the signature verification process for absentee ballots, the maintenance of voter lists and cybersecurity, although no evidence of state regulations has emerged.
Democratic leaders said they were concerned that Republicans would use the review as a pretext for enacting anti-vote laws.
In a statement, Arizona Democrat-elect Katie Hobbs denounced the review as a “political stunt that has created massive security risks, cost millions of dollars, and undermined confidence in free and fair elections.”
A wide range of election experts, Democrats, and some Republican officials have long dismissed the Arizona audit as too partisan, run by contractors without relevant experience. The main contractor was a shadowy company, Cyber Ninjas, whose CEO has promoted conspiracy theories about orchestrated election fraud.
The review featured practices that critics describe as ranging from inappropriate to bizarre, including counters denoting ballot papers with blue ink, which can alter the way they are read by machines, and workers checking for traces of bamboo fibers based on a conspiracy theory that falsified ballots. It may have been shipped from Asia.
While finding total votes that largely matched, the report highlighted a series of alleged problems, including 10,342 potential voters who voted in different counties, which Cyber Ninjas called a “critical finding.”
As part of a point-by-point rebuttal on Twitter (NYSE: :)), Maricopa County called the claim “laughable,” suggesting that those who conducted the review may have failed to account for people with identical names and birth years in different counties, rather than other It is common in a country of more than 7 million people.
Fan said she passed the results of the review to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who said his electoral unit would look into the evidence.
“Arizona deserves to have their votes meticulously counted and protected,” Brnovich said.