President Joe Biden has held office for more than 100 days, but in an old arena in Arizona that used to be home to the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, Trump supporters are still trying to prove their guy won this thing.
The Arizona GOP is still trying to prove, despite the bounty of evidence to the contrary, that former President Donald Trump won the state’s electoral votes last year. But in doing so, they’re coming under criticism from even some fellow Republicans.
After multiple court rulings, audits of the results in Maricopa County—the state’s largest and one that provided Biden nearly four times his margin of victory statewide—and the certification and subsequent inauguration of President Joe Biden as the winner of the election, Arizona Senate Republicans decided they still weren’t satisfied and that they would conduct their own audit.
Litigation is still ongoing, but in February a Maricopa County judge told the county to hand over more than 2 million ballots to be audited, and the recount began Friday at the Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix.
To carry out this monumental task, Arizona Senate Republicans hired a Sarasota, Florida-based company called Cyber Ninjas to run the audit. The company’s website says it provides “ethical hacking” and “general consulting” services, as well as training and education, and the Arizona Senate paid the company for $150,000 to complete the audit, which could take up to two months to complete.
Lin Wood, the QAnon conspiracy theorist lawyer, helped raise money to pay for the audit and told Talking Points Memo last week that he hosted Logan at his house as Logan was “working on the investigation into election fraud.” Logan also posted on his since-deactivated Twitter account promoting the “Stop the Steal” conspiracy and saying he “wholeheartedly supports Trump,” but denied his personal views that the election was stolen had anything to do with his audit attempting to prove the election was stolen.
“There’s a lot of Americans here, myself included, that are really bothered by the way our country is being ripped apart right now,” Logan told reporters last week. “We want a transparent audit to be in place so that people can trust the results and can get everyone on the same page.”
Florida Republicans reportedly have no idea who this group or its founder are, much less what their deal is, Politico reported Monday. “Doug Logan? Cyber Ninjas? No. I don’t know these guys. Never heard of them,” Florida GOP vice-chair Christian Ziegler told Politico.
Multiplying the crank factor is that the audit is being live-streamed on One America News, the Trump-aligned right-wing network that repeatedly boosted the former President’s election lies. The network says “the American people have been demanding answers since November 3rd,” and boasts “exclusive, live reporting” and “transparent coverage of this historic process.”
Logan’s group asked a judge earlier this week to keep its auditing methods secret. A number of problems have been reported since the beginning of the audit, including security lapses and even vote counters using the wrong color of ink.
Democrats have predictably slammed the audit, saying it’s a way to continue casting doubt on the election results.
“We have so many concerns about this exercise," Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat and the state’s top election official, who filed an amicus brief in support of stopping the audit, told CNN this week.
“I kind of don't want to call it an audit. I think that's an insult to professional auditors everywhere because they're making this stuff up as they go along.”
Hobbs is a Democrat, but at least one Republican election official from another state Trump claims he won agrees that the audit is a joke.
“This ‘audit’ in Arizona is another step in undermining confidence in elections,” Sterling, the chief operating officer of the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, said in a Tuesday tweet. “This process is neither transparent nor, likely, legal. Any ‘findings’ will be highly suspect now that chain of custody has been violated by partisan actors.”
“The people in the Legislature are more prone to believe in the conspiracy theories and are more prone to espouse them,” Barrett Marson, a Republican political consultant, told the New York Times earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Trump himself has been watching the audit closely, and asked Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, another Republican, to “provide large-scale security” for the audit. Ducey, so far, has not done that, and has drawn Trump’s ire yet again as a result.
“Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona, one of the worst Governors in America, and the second worst Republican Governor in America, is refusing to provide security for the American Patriots who are hand counting the Rigged 2020 Arizona Election Ballots,” Trump said in a statement Monday.