The GOP’s election review in Arizona is over. Its influence is just beginning, experts say.

As similar efforts spread around the country, they 'give oxygen to things that are untrue,” and erode trust in the U.S. election process, observers say.

9/25/2021 7:40:00 AM

As similar efforts spread around the country, they 'give oxygen to things that are untrue,” and erode trust in the U.S. election process, observers say.

As similar efforts spread around the country, they 'give oxygen to things that are untrue,” and erode trust in the U.S. election process, observers say.

— which again affirmed President Joe Biden’s victory in Maricopa County — and called for similar examinations around the country.“We need to do bigger audits on every election, just to make sure that everybody’s following the rules,” said Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, boasting about how many lawmakers from other states had visited the site of the ballot review.

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Fann and state Sen. Warren Petersen, also a Republican, listened to hours of testimony from third-party contractors including Doug Logan, CEO of the lead contractor, Cyber Ninjas, as they cast doubt and suggested their work had turned up evidence of improprieties including illegal votes and deleted election files.

But experts and critics say the supposed findings confirm what they already knew: that the hired contractors were inexperienced and failed to use industry best practices, while misunderstanding and misconstruing the basics of election administration and Arizona election code. And with the proliferation of Arizona-inspired efforts spreading around the country, experts say there’s real damage being done to trust in elections.

“They’re doubling down on some of the things that have already been refuted. And just continuing to give oxygen to things that are untrue,” said Tammy Patrick, a former Maricopa County elections official who is now a senior adviser at Democracy Fund, a nonpartisan foundation that aims to improve American elections.

“They’re simply taking routine election administration processes and attempting to cast what they don’t understand as suspicious,” said Liz Howard, senior counsel of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.Contractors with Cyber Ninjas examine and recount ballots cast in the 2020 general election in Maricopa County, in Phoenix, on May 6, 2021.

Matt York / Pool via AP fileHoward was appointed by Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, to monitor the review and spent weeks in Phoenix observing the Cyber Ninjas do their work.“It’s unreasonable to assume that this isn’t unintentional,” she added.

Both Howard and Patrick said the auditors’ findings — which were circulated in a draft on Thursday night, before being presented in a livestreamed event on Friday — made it clear they didn’t understand basic election administration.For example, contractors reported that there were possibly thousands of out-of-state and out-of-county voters, as well as hundreds of dead voters who cast ballots in November, numbers they calculated by comparing voter rolls with commercial data lists.

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Patrick said that such data was poorly vetted, and that political groups who had used commercial mailing lists had at times ended up sending mailers out to people’s pets, because someone, for example, had once signed their cat up for a subscription to Cat Fancy magazine.

Howard agreed that commercial data was unreliable for this purpose and added that there are also valid reasons a voter would be associated with another address but still be an eligible voter in Maricopa County, like students.Contractors also alleged that election files had been deleted, something Maricopa County

they"strongly" deny, noting they have additional records but that the state Senate had never requested them.Experts and critics say the impacts of the review, however, are just beginning.Arizona Republican state Sen. Paul Boyer, who initially backed the review but pulled his support in February over concerns for how it was progressing, said he believes it will make legislating on elections harder.

“I think now you’re going to see a hundred or two hundred election bills next year and no one is going to listen to the experts,” he told NBC News on Friday.He added that he has spoken to voters who have either left the Republican Party or stopped voting altogether because they don’t have faith in the election.

Around the country, too, experts see the propagation of Arizona-style ballot reviews. Texas launched a “forensic audit” of four counties on Thursday night, just hours after former President Donald Trump called for it. Similar reviews are underway in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Speaking of those legislators from other states who visited the review, Patrick said:"They’re using it as justification and reasoning to promote this sort of activity in states across this country.”Asked how he’d advise lawmakers beginning a ballot review in their states now, Boyer said he’d urge them to have bipartisan, expert-informed reviews.

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“Trust the professionals. They’ve been doing it for decades. They know what they’re doing. Make sure that anybody you hire doesn’t already have their mind made up. We can’t actually call this an audit. This is a partisan investigation,” he said of the Arizona review. “Ironically, it’s going to sow even more distrust when the claim, if you can believe it, is they’re trying to create more confidence.”

Read more: NBC News »

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But the “audit” proved the system worked in Arizona. agavecorn .FannKfann has acted completely irresponsibly, betrayed the public trust and wasted taxpayer money. She is not fit for office and should resign. The fraudit was a sham and an embarrassment to our state Observers say? And you wonder why trust in MSM news is at an all time low. An observer says.

Guess what, people have not trusted the voting system for years! Long before Trump, so stop blaming republicans and Trump, same old things! It’s all just a way for the DEMS TO CHANGE THINGS the way they want it. Heck at this point people can’t trust the Dems or republicans! “They’re simply taking routine election administration processes and attempting to cast what they don’t understand as suspicious,”

It cost citizens money. The intention was to specifically erode trust abs to probably get their hands on as much voter information as possible so they can use it to determine how to rig voting maps. A bipartisan review was done after the vote. Why were they given permission to conduct a partisan audit?

They succeeded in destroying democracy while enriching themselves. Who knew there were so many damn dumb people in this country? I blame the internet and its fixation on cat memes instead of educating the populace.

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