Friday, September 24, 2021


Really? That's where all this was leading?
After months of delays and blistering criticism, a review of the 2020 election in Arizona’s largest county, ordered up and financed by Republicans, has failed to show that former President Donald J. Trump was cheated of victory, according to draft versions of the report.

In fact, the draft report from the company Cyber Ninjas found just the opposite: It tallied 99 additional votes for President Biden and 261 fewer votes for Mr. Trump in Maricopa County, the fast-growing region that includes Phoenix.
All along, I've assumed that the auditors intended to say there was enough fraud to overturn the election results and weren't going to let empirical evidence get in the way of announcing that conclusion. But I've come to believe that, in their own sick way, they were sincere -- they thought they'd find massive fraud and were shocked to discover that it wasn't there.

On the other hand, the auditors insist that there might have been fraud:
Among other alleged discrepancies, the reports claimed that some ballots were cast by people who had moved before the election, that election-related computer files were missing and that some computer images of ballots were missing.
Also, as Greg Sargent notes:
... the report declares that its own confirmation of Biden’s win was “inconclusive.” Why? Because, it says, the county’s election’s officials didn’t “cooperate,” thus “actively interfering” with the audit and preventing it from being “complete.”

It gets worse. The report also recommends reforms, some of which would make easier to purge voters from the rolls and less likely that people are sent mail ballots.... Arizona Republicans may seize on those recommendations to call for more voting restrictions.

So we can see what’s really happening here. Yes, the audit isn’t declaring outright that the election’s outcome was indeed fraudulent. But it is declaring there are still many reasons to doubt that outcome, that elections officials who actually operated in good faith are covering this up, and that the right response is more voting restrictions.
But Republicans are usually slicker than this. They know that most people won't read the report -- they'll just absorb the headline, which is that the audit affirms Biden's victory (and increases his winning margin). Outside the fever swamps of the right, this audit looks like a joke. And within Wingnut World, it's unnecessary -- rank-and-file right-wingers already "know" the election was stolen by the Democrats. It's a core element of their worldview. They don't need audits to confirm something they regard as self-evident. Nor do GOP legislators seem to need any excuse to pass new voting restrictions aimed at Democrats. They certainly didn't need an audit for that purpose earlier this year in Georgia, Florida, or Texas (although Texas is now planning to audit the 2020 vote in four large counties, three of which went Democratic in 2020 and the other of which, Collin County, was 13% more Democratic in 2020 than in 2016 and nearly went for Joe Biden).

Why conduct audits when the faithful are already certain that Democratic fraud is rampant, no one else is persuaded by the audits (especially when they don't find any fraud), and GOP-run legislatures need no pretext to manipulate elections in their favor? I'm stumped. Apart from the need to feed the instatiable ego of Donald Trump, I don't get it -- and even Trump won't be satisfied unless the audits make him president again, which they won't. So what's the point?

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