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Arizona Election Audit Confirms Biden’s Win In Maricopa County, But Also Casts Doubts

Arizona Election Audit Confirms Biden’s Win In Maricopa County, But Also Casts Doubts

The hand recount for Biden exceeded the county’s tally by 99 votes, while Trump received 261 fewer votes than the official results.
A widely criticized, GOP-led review of the 2020 election in Maricopa County concluded that Joe Biden received more votes for president than Donald Trump.

According to a draft copy of the findings obtained by KJZZ, a hand recount of the nearly 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County hewed closely to the official canvass of the results approved by county leaders.

In fact, the hand recount for Biden exceeded the county’s tally by 99 votes, while Trump received 261 fewer votes than the official results.

Randy Pullen, a spokesman for the election review, confirmed the validity of the draft.

“It’s not the final report, but it’s close,” he said.

The leak comes less than 24 hours before a scheduled presentation in the Arizona Senate, where President Karen Fann and Sen. Warren Petersen, the Republicans who issued subpoenas that obtained the ballots and voting materials needed for the investigation, are giving the contractors they hired to conduct the review a platform to explain their findings.

Trump’s supporters, and even the former president himself, have latched on to the so-called Arizona audit as evidence the election was rigged. Even before the scheduled release of the findings at 1 p.m. Friday, some Republicans have already claimed there’s enough evidence to “decertify” or overturn Trump’s loss in Arizona — a prospect resoundingly dismissed by legal scholars. Others, like GOP gubernatorial candidate Matt Salmon, have called for more investigations of the 2020 vote, and not just in Maricopa County.

But the report itself throws cold water on the grandest claims of fraud.

“What has been found is both encouraging and alarming. On the positive side there were no substantial differences between the hand count of the ballots provided and the official canvass results for the county,” the draft states.

Pullen confirmed that the hand recount was “relatively close” to the official tally.

“Was there massive fraud or anything? It doesn’t look like it,” he added.

However, the draft report raises concerns about the county’s elections systems and record-keeping, and accuses Maricopa County officials of stonewalling their effort to perform “a complete audit.”

“Had Maricopa County chosen to cooperate with the audit, the majority of these obstacles would have easily been overcome,” the report states.

Pullen said other reports that will be presented in detail tomorrow have not yet been leaked, and that “anomalies” found in voting records are vast enough to cast doubt on the final vote count — despite the hand recount’s confirmation of the result.

Maricopa County supervisors have refused to aid the contractors hired by Fann, accusing them of bias and inexperience after errant claims were made about the county’s election.

“The contractors hired by the Senate President are not auditors, and they are not certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission,” Maricopa County Board Chairman Jack Sellers, a Republican, said in May. “It's clearer by the day: the people hired by the Senate are in way over their heads. This is not funny; this is dangerous.”

It’s a sentiment shared by election experts across the country, who’ve warned any findings by Cyber Ninjas — a Florida-based cybersecurity firm that has no prior experience in elections and is led by a CEO who's embraced conspiracies of election fraud — can’t be trusted. The same goes for subcontractors conducting other aspects of the Senate’s review, they say.

As the Arizona Republic reported earlier this week, the man hired to oversee the entire review, Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, was already involved with Trump allies attempting to sow doubts about the election, and block Biden’s victory, long before he was hired in Arizona.

“This partisan effort in Arizona appears to be ending the same as it begun — highly biased, incompetent individuals running the process, delay after delay after delay, and very importantly, completely untransparent,” David Becker, founder of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, said earlier Thursday.

In the months since the review first began in late August, contractors and Senate Republicans have drawn the scrutiny of the U.S. Justice Department, made errant claims about illegitimate votes that were promptly debunked, and disclosed that prominent Trump supporters engaged in efforts to delegitimize the former president's defeat provided millions of dollars to fund the process.
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