On March 31, the Arizona Senate Republicans as a caucus hired four private firms to examine the ballots cast in Maricopa County in November 2020 in the Presidential and Senate races. Maricopa County, the home of the state capital Phoenix, was essential to the victory of Joseph Biden in the state. There was never any pretense that the audit was meant to be non-partisan: the key figures involved with these companies have been open about their desire to “stop” what they see as a “steal,” to delegitimize President Biden.
The Arizona Republicans seeded the audit with funds from the State Senate Operating Budget. But that money was understood to represent only a start and the firms have gotten funding from variety of private sources, not all of them transparent.
Karen Fann, president of the Arizona State Senate and a defender of the audit against its critics, said in mid May that Maricopa County election officials had illegally deleted the voting database after the election. Former President Trump amplified that charge on his blog on May 15.
Almost immediately, the official who oversees elections in the county, a Republican, tweeted that he was looking at the database on his screen at that moment. The Fann/Trump claim was, he said, not merely wrong but “unhinged.” The auditors later acknowledged that the database had not, in fact, been deleted.
The Thing to Know:
The false claim about data deletion, and another fiasco about a claim that some of the ballots were made of bamboo (and thus presumably sent to Arizona from South Korea by undercover operatives for Biden!) seem to have blown up on the Fann/Trump auditors. Kickback underway, both outside of and within the Arizona Republican Party, may bring this mishmash of election forensics to a merciful close.