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With each passing week, the GOP-backed audit of the 2.1 million ballots cast in Arizona’s Maricopa County sounds ever more farcical, as the Cyber Ninjas’ army searches, and searches, and searches, for irregularities. They’ve managed to ruin hundreds of voting machines in the process, and now they’ve apparently sent copies of voting data to a lab in remote Montana.
The bizarre, partisan undertaking can’t actually undo Donald Trump’s loss of the 2020 election, no matter what it finds. (He lost Arizona by a wafer-thin margin of 10,000 votes.) But it’s still a big cause for concern, because it’s fueling election conspiracy theories on the right and inspiring Republican officials in other states to plan their own copycat audits.
During the first week of June, a small group of GOP officials from Pennsylvania visited Arizona to meet with the auditors and their political supporters. In Georgia, a group is fighting in court for the right to audit that state’s 2020 election results. In Wisconsin, the GOP speaker of the state House has just reportedly hired a group of retired cops to start probing the state’s results.
Meanwhile Trump is reportedly fixated on the Arizona audit and has been telling confidantes that he expects he’ll be reinstalled into the White House this August—even though that’s absolutely not a thing that could happen.
The Cyber Ninjas auditors in Arizona have been checking out supposed leads that appear to be associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory.
For example, the widely-circulated QAnon-fueled rumor that Trump’s Department of Homeland Security secretly stamped real ballots with a watermark to lay a trap for Democrats, whose phony ballots would later be exposed. (None of this is true.) According to QAnon lore, this lines up with cryptic advice from Q, the cult’s anonymous online oracle, to “watch the water.”
The auditors started scanning the ballots with UV light, looking for watermarks. Until they didn’t find any… because the state didn’t put watermarks on the ballots.
The Cyber Ninjas are also trying to chase down an unfounded rumor that somehow, 40,000 fake ballots were secretly shipped to Arizona from Asia. They’ve been trying to verify that by taking ultra-high-def photographs of the ballot paper… supposedly to look for traces of bamboo.
Now, with more of these audits planned in other states, it’s clear that MAGAworld’s obsession with attempting to dissect and unwind the 2020 election is hardly over. It might be just getting started.