The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors – which is largely made up of Republicans – has denounced the audit of the 2020 election, calling it a "sham" and a "con”.
The group called on the Republican-led state Senate to end the recount that has been vocally supported by both Donald Trump and QAnon supporters.
The board members held a public meeting and sent a letter to the state Senate President Karen Fann saying the audit was being handled poorly, that it was pushing lies, and that it had defamed public servants who oversaw the 2020 election.
Five members of the board – four of whom are Republicans – called the audit a "spectacle that is harming all of us" and asked for it to come to an end.
The audit, which is being undertaken by a private firm called Cyber Ninjas – a group that has no experience overseeing an election recount and whose CEO parroted Mr Trump's election fraud lies – has only counted about a quarter of the votes cast in Maricopa County despite the recount's stated deadline having passed days ago.
At its current rate, the recount will not be finished until the late summer.
The board called on the state Senate to defend the state's commitment to democracy.
“It is time to make a choice to defend the Constitution and the Republic,” they wrote. “We stand united together to defend the Constitution and the Republic in our opposition to the Big Lie. We ask everyone to join us in standing for the truth.”
Other elected officials joined in the board's objection to the recount, including the county sheriff and the county recorder, who is a Republican.
“Our state has become a laughingstock,” the officials wrote. “Worse, this ‘audit’ is encouraging our citizens to distrust elections, which weakens our democratic republic.”
The officials said they would refuse to attend a meeting Ms Fann held on Tuesday to discuss "serious issues" with the vote that the Cyber Ninjas group claims it identified.
“I will not be responding to any more requests from this sham process. Finish your audit and be ready to defend what you’re finding in a court of law,” Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers – a Republican – said at the public meeting.
Supervisor Bill Gates, also a Republican, said the board was not "going to be part of a political theater broadcast on live stream by OAN," referring to the pro-Trump, conservative television network that has been broadcasting constant coverage of the recount.
While the recount still remains popular with Mr Trump and his most loyal supporters, even longtime allies of the ex-president have distanced themselves from the undertaking.
Senator Lindsey Graham finally admitted, more than 170 days after the election, that Joe Biden won the 2020 election, and said he was ready to move past the Big Lie.
“I accept the results of the election. I don’t know what the audit is all about in Arizona. I don’t know the details. But I am ready to move on," he said on Monday. “2020 is over for me.”
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