Maricopa County board calls for end of ‘grift disguised as an audit’

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The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Monday called on the GOP-led state Senate to pull the plug on the ongoing audit of the 2020 election results, saying the effort has made Arizona a “laughing stock” for the nation and “weakens our democratic republic.”

Chairman Jack Sellers, a Republican, said that it is time to move on “from this craziness” and described the process as a “grift disguised as an audit.”

“I will not be responding to any more requests from this sham process,” Mr. Sellers said Monday. “Finish what you are calling an audit and be ready to defend your report in a court of law. We all look forward to it.”

The four Republicans and the sole Democrat on the board voted unanimously to send Senate President Karen Fann a letter slapping down a series of concerns the Republican lawmaker had laid out about the county election last week.

The board’s letter said the November election “was free and fair” and urged Ms. Fann to end the charade.

“We implore you to recognize the obvious truth: your ‘auditors’ are in way over their heads,” the letter reads.“They do not have the experience necessary to conduct an audit of an election. They do not know the laws nor the procedures, nor the best practices. It is inevitable that they will arrive at questionable conclusions.”

“It is time to end this. For the good of the Senate, for the good of the County and for the good of the Democratic institutions that define us as Americans,” the board said.

In her letter last week, Ms. Fann raised questions over why the county was refusing to hand over internet routers for inspection and release passwords for vote tabulating machines.

She also raised questions about deleted databases and “apparent omissions, inconsistencies, and anomalies relating to Maricopa County’s handling, organization, and storage of ballots.”

Mr. Trump seized on the accusations, blasting out a statement this week accusing the board of conducting “illegal” activity and saying that “Radical Left Democrats and weak Republicans are very worried about the fact that this has been exposed.”

That proved to be a breaking point for Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer.

The Republican took to Twitter to defend the county against Mr. Trump’s allegations, calling them “unhinged.”

“We can’t indulge these insane lies any longer,” said Mr. Richer, who assumed his post after the November election.

“As a party. As a state. As a country,” he said. “This is as readily falsifiable as 2+2=5.”

Mr. Richer told the county board Monday the concerns that Ms. Fann and auditors raised about the election are false, misguided and show “a complete detachment from the audit process and its lack of knowledge about the election procedures.”

“They are led by the Cyber Ninjas, a company that no one has ever heard of with a CEO who has indulged even the craziest election conspiracies involving Hugo Chavez,” Mr. Richer said.

“Cyber Ninjas has zero election experience prior to this year, and they are joined by other companies with zero election experience prior to this year.”

Kelli Ward, chair of the Arizona GOP, meanwhile, has accused the Maricopa Board of Supervisors of turning its back on the voters.

“They certainly are not hearing us or our concerns,” Ms. Ward said Monday. “That’s why this audit must continue, why it must be completed.”

“We need answers to real questions that for some reasons our elected officials are hesitant to provide or even worse to even entertain,” she said.

President Biden bested Mr. Trump in Arizona by more than 10,000 votes – making him the first Democrat to carry the state in a presidential election since Bill Clinton in 1996.

The results were certified by the state and the county, which also conducted two independent audits.

Mr. Trump and his supporters, however, have plowed ahead with stolen election claims, and the Republican-led Senate decided to launch its own audit, which began last month.

The audit started last month and was expected to run through May 14.

But the process is taking longer than expected. About 250,000 of the county’s 2.1 million ballots have been processed in the hand count portion of the review.

The process, meanwhile, has produced a series of colorful headlines about election-rigging conspiracy theories.

Whatever the outcome, it will not change the results of the election.

But it has triggered some concerns that the partisan endeavor could lead to similar audits in other states that could cast more doubt on the election process months after Mr. Biden took the White House.

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