As a ploddingly slow election recount in Arizona drags on, some of the Republicans who originally called for it are expressing regret.
“It makes us look like idiots,” Republican State Senator Paul Boyer told The New York Times. “Looking back, I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point.”
Arizona’s State Senate is conducting a painstaking audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, which includes the city of Phoenix and most of the state’s population. President Joe Biden won the county last year, carrying the state by about 11,000 votes.
No evidence has emerged to indicate that the results were fraudulent. But former president Donald Trump has convinced much of his base that Democrats stole the election, and Arizona Republicans have called for a recount to show they take their voters’ concerns seriously.
Some are now wondering if it’s worth it. Rejecting the work done by state election officials six months ago, the State Senate has volunteered to count the vote with its own auditors, subpoenaing all 21 million ballots.
To house the effort, the Senate has rented out the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum until 14 May – this Friday. So far their auditors have recounted about 250,000 votes. At that rate, they’ll be done some time in August.
Arizona’s secretary of state, Katie Hobbs, has condemned the effort, saying the equipment being used is uncertified and the counting methods deviate from “standard best practices.”
“Though conspiracy theorists are undoubtedly cheering on these types of inspections – and perhaps providing financial support because of their use – they do little other than further marginalise the professionalism and intent of this ‘audit,’” she said on Wednesday.
Since making those comments, Ms Hobbs has received death threats, and Governor Doug Ducey has ordered state police to protect her.
Even before the current review, Arizona’s 2020 vote had already been audited. In accordance with Arizona state law, county election officials performed hand-counts of large numbers of ballots and compared them to the original machine counts. According to county officials, the machine counts were found to be 100 per cent accurate.
Officials worry the new recount effort will cast doubt on legitimate election results.
“It would be unfortunate if the antics and false allegations of people who didn’t like the results lead voters to question a system that is designed to be fair,” Maricopa County communications director Fields Moseley told CBS News.
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