Republicans try to have 2.1 million ballots from Maricopa County—the place nearly all of the state’s voters reside—“audited.” Thus far, the conspiracy theorists answerable for the trouble have gotten via 250,000 ballots, which places them on observe to complete in August. They solely have the area the place they’re at the moment working reserved till Might 14, at which level they must discover someplace else to maneuver the ballots and tools, as a result of there are highschool commencement ceremonies scheduled on the Veterans Memorial Coliseum starting on Might 17.
A former Arizona secretary of state concerned within the effort claims they’ll end in June or July, relying which information outlet he’s speaking to, after hiring extra employees—at the moment less than half of the tables obtainable for counting are staffed. The hiring course of has already led to a former Republican state consultant and participant within the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol being paid to depend ballots, so that ought to go properly. Possibly he can recruit a few of his buddies.
An conspiracy theory-inspired effort to seek out watermarks on the ballots has been deserted, however the individuals being paid $15 an hour to examine and depend them are nonetheless on the lookout for bamboo fibers resulting from one other conspiracy idea involving a planeload of counterfeit ballots from South Korea. (Apparently Asian nations wouldn’t have entry to paper with out bamboo in it?)
The Justice Division has raised serious concerns in regards to the proceedings, noting that “the ballots, elections techniques, and election supplies which can be the topic of the Maricopa County audit are not below the last word management of state and native elections officers, are usually not being adequately safeguarded by contractors at an insecure facility, and are liable to being misplaced, stolen, altered, compromised or destroyed,” which may violate federal legal guidelines regarding the preservation of election information.
The Justice Division additional expressed a priority that the plan to “establish voter registrations that didn’t make sense, after which knock on doorways to verify if legitimate voters truly lived on the said handle” and to contact voters in chosen precincts to “accumulate data of whether or not the person voted within the election” is doubtlessly in violation of federal legal guidelines in opposition to intimidating voters, together with within the Voting Rights Act. Arizona State Senate President Karen Fann subsequently backed off of that a part of the plan.
All of this when the votes have been counted the primary time, then underwent a partial hand recount and two audits, in a county the place the Board of Supervisors is managed by Republicans who’ve strongly defended the integrity of the election and the depend. The reason being easy: “They misplaced, and so they can’t recover from it,” as Grant Woods, a former Republican Arizona legal professional basic who turned a Democrat through the Trump years, informed the Related Press. “And so they don’t wish to recover from it as a result of they wish to proceed to sow doubt in regards to the election.”