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Fight to vote: Arizona County’s ‘ridiculous’ election audit
Part of the audit by Republicans in the state will consist of a manual recount of all votes cast for the president there – which will likely breathe life into Trump’s lies Donald Trump supporters protest outside the Elections Department from Maricopa County to Phoenix, Arizona on November 6, 2020. Photograph: Olivier Touron / AFP / Getty Images Sign up for the Guardian’s Fight to Vote Happy Thursday newsletter, The Baseless Conspiracy Theories Donald Trump released to About the 2020 election is poised to have some of its most serious real-world consequences yet in Arizona. Arizona State Senate Republicans are expected to begin an unprecedented audit of the presidential poll in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous this week. Part of the audit will be a manual recount of all 2.1 million votes cast for the president there. Voting rights advocates have told me that they are deeply concerned about the verification for several reasons. First, they said, Maricopa County has already carried out two audits of the election and found no irregularities in the vote. Second, the effort is led by a Florida-based company with a CEO who has expressed support for post-election campaign plots. Third, the audit will likely only bring Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 Arizona run to life. Republicans in the legislature will likely use this uncertainty to justify further voting restrictions. One expert I spoke to said the whole effort seemed so poor that he was reluctant to even call it an “audit”. “This is ridiculous,” Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, told me this week. “We can’t set a precedent where people who are crazy can just bring that to every election. It’s just not the way we do things. There are a ton of other important concerns. Private donors, including right-wing lawyer L Lin Wood, are helping fund the effort. And an audit spokesperson told an Arizona Mirror reporter this week that there would be significant restrictions in place for reporters covering the event. The Republican-controlled Maricopa County Supervisory Board does not agree with the effort. He agreed to hand over the ballots and election materials after Republicans obtained a court order, but refused to allow verification at a county-owned facility. Republicans are now paying to rent an entire stadium to conduct the audit. “This audit, it seems they are looking for a predetermined outcome. They want to find fraud, ”said Martin Quezada, a Democrat in the Senate. “They have to find frauds in order to justify all their actions and keep this radical wing of their constituency happy. They have to find fraud. So they intend to find him. Also to watch… The Senate confirmed that Vanita Gupta was the associate attorney general, placing one of the country’s leading civil rights lawyers in the third role in the justice ministry. Florida Republicans are pushing forward legislation to impose new restrictions on postal voting, despite objections from election officials statewide, including Republicans. The move to cut postal voting in Florida is notable because the state has been touted as a national example – including by Trump – of how to successfully run a postal voting system. Montana Republicans have passed a law that ends same-day voter registration in the state and another that tightens identity requirements to vote. Democrats are already challenging the measure.