A largely discredited GOP-led review of the 2020 election in Arizona’s largest county concluded that Joe Biden did indeed receive more votes there than Donald Trump.
According to a draft copy of the findings obtained by NPR member station KJZZ, a manual recount of the nearly 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County closely matched the official solicitation of the results approved by county officials. .
In fact, Biden’s new manual recount topped the county count by 99 votes, while Trump received 261 votes below the official results.
Randy Pullen, spokesperson for the electoral review, confirmed the validity of the project. “This is not the final report, but it is close,” he said Thursday.
The draft copy was obtained by KJZZ from a source familiar with the review less than 24 hours before a scheduled presentation to the Arizona State Senate, where President Karen Fann and Republicans Senator Warren Petersen who issued subpoenas who obtained the ballots and voting materials. necessary for the investigation, give the contractors they hired to conduct the review a platform to explain their findings.
Trump and his allies have clung to the so-called Arizona audit as proof of their extensive and baseless claims that the 2020 election was rigged.
Republicans from other states have visited the Maricopa County election review and launched similar inquiries in their states, despite the lack of evidence of widespread fraud or other issues related to last year’s election.
But the Maricopa report itself casts cold water on the biggest fraud allegations.
âWhat has been found is both encouraging and alarming,â the project says. “On the positive side, there were no substantial differences between the manual count of the ballots provided and the official canvassing results for the county.”
Pullen confirmed that the manual recount was “relatively close” to the official count.
âWas there massive fraud or anything? It doesn’t look like it,â he added.
However, the draft report raises concerns about the county’s electoral systems and record-keeping, and accuses Maricopa County officials of obstructing their efforts to conduct “a full audit.”
“Had Maricopa County chosen to cooperate with the audit, the majority of these obstacles would have been easily overcome,” the report said.
Pullen said other reports that will be presented in detail on Friday have yet to be released and that the “anomalies” found in the voting records are large enough to cast doubt on the final vote count – despite the confirmation manual recounting of the result.
Supervisors in Maricopa County have refused to help contractors hired by Fann, accusing them of bias and inexperience after false allegations about the county’s election.
“The contractors hired by the President of the Senate are not auditors and they are not certified by the United States Election Assistance Commission,” Maricopa County Board Chairman Jack Sellers, a republican. “It’s becoming clearer day by day: the people hired by the Senate are way over their heads. It’s not funny, it’s dangerous.”
County officials replied on Twitter upon the release of the draft report, writing that although it affirmed the results, “the report is also littered with errors and flawed conclusions about how Maricopa County conducted the 2020 general election.”
The county’s criticism of the examiners is a sentiment shared by election experts across the country, who warned that any discovery by prime contractor Cyber ââNinjas – a Florida-based cybersecurity firm that had no previous election experience and is run by a CEO who is embraced with electoral fraud plots – cannot be trusted. The same goes for contractors performing other aspects of the Senate review, they say.
“This partisan effort in Arizona seems to end the same way it started – highly biased and incompetent individuals are leading the process, delay after delay after delay, and most importantly, completely non-transparent,” David Becker, founder of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, said earlier Thursday.
In the months since the review began in late August, contractors and Republicans in the Arizona State Senate have drawn the attention of the US Department of Justice, made false claims about Illegitimate votes that were quickly debunked and revealed that prominent Trump supporters had engaged in efforts to delegitimize the defeat of the former president provided millions of dollars to fund the process.
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