The Slatest

Arizona Republican Officials Call State GOP Election Audit a “Sham” and a “Con”

A woman in a purple shirt and a face shield walks through the recount area.
A Cyber Ninjas contractor at work recounting ballots at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 1 in Phoenix. Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

Criticism of Arizona Republicans’ so-called audit of the state’s 2020 election results is growing and on Monday the Republican-dominated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors added its condemnation to the tin hat election review that is seeking to uncover some vast, conspiratorial fraud validating Donald Trump’s claims that he was robbed of the presidency. In response to outlandish Republican accusations that voter files were surreptitiously deleted (oooh) and fake ballots secretly imported (ahhhh), the board held a public meeting blasting the conspiracy-fueled, taxpayer-funded audit as a “sham” and a “con.” In a letter to the Republican leader of the state Senate, the county board officials, four of five of whom are Republicans, accuse the elected Republicans who are pushing the audit effort of being “only interested in feeding the various festering conspiracy theories that fuel the fundraising schemes of those pulling your strings.”

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The Maricopa supervisory board demanded that Republicans call off the audit, which, using public funds, has been outsourced to private contractors at Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based company with zero election experience whose CEO has echoed many of the most absurd election fraud claims made by Trump. The Cyber Ninjas “audit” as is indicated by the company’s name, is pure spectacle, but one where the integrity of a public good—the election—has been privatized and handed over to a partisan company of conspiratorial hacks. “The state Senate used a subpoena to remove the county’s voting machines and nearly 2.1 million ballots from a county facility late last month and handed them over to a team of contractors led by Cyber Ninjas,” the Washington Post notes. “Since then, the companies have been conducting a slow hand recount of the ballots on the floor of the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum.”

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No election fraud theory is too insane for the Cyber Ninjas, such that every cockamamie conspiracy is treated credulously. The team of voter fraud sleuths say they are using UV lights to investigate a far-right conspiracy theory that ballots—cast in the state of Arizona—were actually smuggled in from Asia ahead of the election and that these ballots are detectable by traces of bamboo in their composition. This is real stuff. “You have rented out the once good name of the Arizona State Senate to grifters and con-artists, who are fundraising hard-earned money from our fellow citizens even as your contractors parade around the Coliseum, hunting for bamboo and something they call ‘kinematic artifacts,’ ” the county supervisors’ letter reads. “None of these things are done in a serious audit. The result is that the Arizona Senate is held up to ridicule in every corner of the globe and our democracy is imperiled.”

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