Arizona Senate Republicans are expected to release the results of the deeply flawed scrutiny they ordered on the Democrats’ election victories last November in the state’s largest county on Friday.
The study, carried out by Republican loyalists and conspiracy theorists, some of whom had previously called the election rigged, has long since lost all pretense of being an objective examination of the 2020 election. It focuses on the votes that did. saw President Biden narrowly win statehood and elect a Democrat, Mark Kelly, to the US Senate, and his origins reflect baseless Republican claims of a stolen election.
Arizona Senate spokesman Mike Philipsen said a public briefing on the results would take place at 1 p.m. PT on Friday and that a link to the full report would eventually be released. on the Republican Senate Caucus website.
But whatever the outcome, the effort in Arizona has already inspired imitation efforts in other states. And it has become a way of keeping false allegations of fraud alive and undermining confidence in the 2020 election and democracy itself. In Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, for example, Republican-dominated legislatures have ordered Arizona-style reviews of the 2020 vote in their states, sometimes in consultation with the same conspiracy theorists behind the Arizona inquiry. .
“We’re at an inflection point,” said Chuck Coughlin, a Phoenix pollster and Republican political consultant who was skeptical of the Arizona inquiry. “When the results come in, I’ll be curious to see how the Republican leaders in the Legislature react to this, including the State Senate itself.”
Legitimate vote audits ordered by the Republican-controlled Maricopa County Supervisory Board, which oversaw the election, repeatedly found no evidence of fraud that could have tainted the results. And the investigation was hampered from the start by sloppy and sometimes bizarre conduct.
The companies that conducted it had virtually no previous experience in electoral work, and experts said their random recount of ballots guaranteed unreliable results. Election officials said security loopholes increased the risk that voting materials had been compromised. And aspects of the investigation – checking ballots for secret watermarks and for bamboo fibers that would suggest they were printed in Asia – were based on outlandish conspiracy theories.
But Maricopa County Supervisory Board Chairman Jack Sellers said that regardless of the findings, the Arizona Senate investigation has given a veneer of credibility to the voter fraud charges that will be difficult to overcome.
“Anyone who pays attention knows that there are no more outstanding issues” with the November vote, he said. “But it doesn’t seem to take much for some people to have doubts. I’m not sure there is a cure for this.