An election analyst who happened to vote for former President Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential election now says he’s “just aghast” at the way the Trump and Republican-backed audit Arizona’s Maricopa County votes has moved forward.
All the while a Republican state senator threatened U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for waying that the DOJ would be scrutinizing post-election audits to ensure they comply with federal voting laws, according to Newsweek.
The audit of Maricopa County’s ballots has been widely criticized, even by a number of Republicans, as the A state Senate President Karen Fann and other state Republican lawmakers moved forward with the audit to appease former President Donald Trump amid his claims that the Presidential election was “rigged” or “stolen” from him.
This is actually the third audit in Arizona, as Maricopa County conducted a recount in November and an audit in December, neither of which uncovered irregularities.
Benny White, a Republican analyst, told ABC affiliate channel 15 the following:
“I’m just aghast at what is happening in the coliseum. They’re trying to create a completely new record. Then I suppose they were going to present that and say here is the truth, don’t believe what was published in November.”
“If they were going to present the results of this audit or so-called audit as something that had credibility, that had reliability, that voters could look at and say there is some truth… They need to have some way of verifying what they’re doing is complete and accurate,” he warned.
Arizona state Senator Paul Boyer, also a Republican, echoed White, noting that the audit has been “embarrassing,” despite the fact that he initially supported the process:
“The way they’re doing it, it’s embarrassing. It makes me embarrassed to be a state senator at this point.”
AG Garland noted on Friday that the DOJ plans to scrutinize any post-election audit for violations of federal voting laws, noting that they were based on claims already proven false:
“Many of the justifications proffered in support of these post-election audits and restrictions on voting have relied on assertions of material vote fraud in the 2020 election that have been refuted by the law enforcement and intelligence agencies of both this administration and the previous one, as well as by every court—federal and state—that has considered them.”
In response to the above statement by Garland, Arizona state Senator Wendy Rogers, a Republican, threatened to throw Garland in prison:
“You will not touch Arizona ballots or machines unless you want to spend time in an Arizona prison. Maybe you should focus on stopping terrorism. The Justice Department is one of the most corrupt institutions in the USA.”
Fann already admitted months ago that she does not think the audit will uncover any of the fraud Trump has suggested:
“Personally I don’t think we will find anything outside of the normal irregularities we have every election but am willing to go this extra mile if it puts these questions and concerns to rest.”
And she has defended the audit publicly, claiming it is important to reassure GOP voters on election integrity:
“It is our job to pass legislation, ensure the laws are working or update them as needed. The Senate works for our constituents, and it is our job to either prove or disprove their concerns to ensure election integrity. When the audit is complete there will be plenty of time for ‘experts’ to agree or disagree with the findings. Until that time, it is inappropriate to interfere with the ongoing audit.”
Late last month, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Republican, expressed great concern over how far off the deep end the state GOP has gone in their ridiculous audit of the 2020 Presidential election in hopes of somehow proving that Donald Trump actually carried the state instead of Joe Biden, and she thinks that her fellow Americans should be concerned as well.
The U.K.’s Independent reports:
Ms Hobbs, 51, has had to travel with a 24-hour security detail since 7 May, when Governor Doug Ducey assigned Department of Public Safety officers to protect her following her multiple threatening phone calls. One caller asked what she was wearing that day to ensure that she’d be “easy to get”. Another incident involved a videographer from the far-right conspiracy website The Gateway Pundit chasing her and an aide.
According to the report, Hobbs also had to have police protection for a period immediately after the outcome of the election became clear and she had to bring on outside experts to help defend the state’s election results against lawsuits filed by pro-Trump groups which included the state Republican party.
The Independent continues:
Speaking with The Independent on Friday – hours after GOP senators voted to block an investigation into 6 January, and at the same time Texas Republicans were preparing to unveil legislation meant to make it harder for Americans to vote and easier for GOP officials to overturn elections – Ms Hobbs warned Republicans’ attempt to downplay what happened at the US Capitol is giving tacit approval to the implicit and explicit threats of violence being directed at election officials across the country.
Such threats, she said, appear to be the reason that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger – a Republican who incurred his own party’s ire for defending the conduct of last year’s election after Mr Biden became the first Democrat to carry the state since Bill Clinton did so in 1992 – recently announced support for a “so-called audit” of results from heavily Black Fulton County.
Hobbs added that “he (Raffensperger) got death threats and his wife got death threats for [him] doing his job and certifying the results of a valid election. Now, he’s shifting course…and trying to appease these folks.”
Hobbs and Raffensperger are far from the only people who’ve received death threats for just doing their jobs as election officials. Right after the election, far-right media outlets and online conspiracy theorists, as well as Donald Trump’s two adult sons, forced a Black election worker into hiding by spreading a viral video falsely claiming that surveillance video showed him trashing ballots.
Another two black election officials were falsely accused by many on the Right, including Rudy Giuliani, of bringing a “suitcase” of ballots into the counting process.
More from the Independent:
Such false claims are nothing new. Although Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security officials have repeatedly said the 2020 election was the most secure in American history, many Republicans insist that Democratic victories are the result of fraud in cities with significant non-white populations.
Asked whether death threats are going to be part and parcel of being an election official, election worker, or volunteer in America going forward, Ms Hobbs told The Independent that she “certainly hope[s] that is not the case”.
Hobbs added that “it is a sad state of affairs if that is where we are now,” she said, calling threats against election workers and officials “certainly a concern that we have,” and one that is “not unique to Arizona”.
Hobbs believes the right-wing, antidemocratic movement propping up these sham election audits does not represent the majority of American voters, but that it sadly does represent a majority of the GOP:
“I think the majority of the electorate is not a part of this cult of Donald Trump, and they want to move on and have different conversations than this partisan fight that we’re in the middle of.”
“We obviously need to pay attention to it. because at some point it can become detrimental for our democracy.”
Democrats have been worried that the current administration doesn’t seem to be pushing back hard enough against antidemocratic measures and the GOP’s voter suppression schemes, but Hobbs says she thinks President Biden and his advisers “can walk and chew gum at the same time” while passing bills such as the “For the People Act” and “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” both of which would help push back against GOP efforts to make voting harder and to undermine elections.
Hobbs concluded that leaders need to step up and take charge because conservatives are still trying to overturn and undermine last year’s election and set up a way to undermine the next one, and concluded”
“I think that we should be very worried.”