US President Donald Trump dances as he leaves a rally at Tucson International Airport in Tucson, Arizona on October 19, 2020. (MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
The election audit in Arizona is being run by a company with no prior experience of running election audits. It’s indulging QAnon conspiracy theories. And it’s being funded by dark money from QAnon-linked businessmen.
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But despite all that, lawmakers and officials from Republican parties in at least seven states have now visited the Maricopa County audit, viewing it as some sort of gold standard of election integrity—and promising to replicate it in their own states.Mark Finchem, a QAnon-supporter who was at the Capitol riots on Jan. 6 and is a big believer in the “Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, provided an update Wednesday night about which states had sent representatives to the count center in Phoenix.Finchem revealed that as well as the lawmakers from Pennsylvania who toured the audit site in Maricopa County last week, officials from Georgia, Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Virginia had all visited the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where a company called Cyber Ninjas is running the recount.And Finchem revealed that more states were sending representatives later this week, claiming the spike in interest from GOP officials as some sort of validation for the sham audit.“After spending a portion of time with these legislators, the unanimous sentiment that the trip and time spent was well worth it,” Finchem tweeted.
“Election integrity is a priority in every community across America. Many state delegates have shown interest in the audit to ensure a future with fraud-free elections as the focus, and I am very pleased that Arizona is leading the way. All states need to come here because insecure elections are indeed a national security threat worth fixing.”Finchem is currently seeking to become Arizona’s news secretary of state, which would make him the state’s top election official.
It is hardly surprising that so many Republican lawmakers and officials are taking an interest in the audit, given that former president Donald Trump, who remains the party’s most powerful figure, is obsessed with the false belief that the election was stolen. Trump has spoken to numerous fringe conservative figures—including MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who has admitted to funding the recount in Arizona—who are telling him recounts like the one in Arizona could see the results overturned.Reports last week said Trump had even indicated to aides that he could see himself returning to he White House as soon as August, suggesting he believes the QAnon-inspired conspiracy theory that the Arizona audit would somehow trigger a tidal wave of recounts across the country that would see election results overturned and Trump declared the winner. To be clear, the recount in Arizona—or anywhere else in the country—can have no impact on the outcome of last November’s election.
Trump’s obsession with undermining the results in Arizona is nothing new, according to emails that Arizona Senate President Karen Fann was forced to release following a public records request by left-wing activist group American Oversight.The emails revealed that in December, Fann told a constituent that she had received a “personal call” from Trump in the weeks after the 2020 presidential election, as Trump and his lawyers were working to overturn the results. The emails also revealed that Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani had called Fann over half a dozen times during that period.After last week’s visit by lawmakers from Pennsylvania, several of the elected officials called for a similar audit in their own state.“Forty-seven percent of the people in this country don’t have faith in the electoral—electoral integrity right now,” State Sen. Cris Dush told the Wall Street Journal. “And my constituents are very much up in arms, with the lack of any movement on trying to find out what happened.”And now, other officials are also talking about duplicating the audit in their own states.“This is about all Nevadans to look at what’s taking place. And to see the operation here in Arizona, we want to duplicate that in Nevada,” Michael McDonald, chair of the Nevada GOP, said in an interview posted on YouTube after his tour of the Maricopa County recount.