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Arizona auditors near completion of manual counting as GOP out-of-state pilgrimages continue

Randy Pullen, spokesperson for the state Senate Republican-commissioned audit, said listeners are now looking for a lawyer who can read braille. About 50,000 Braille ballots were cast in last year’s election.

The near completion of the manual recount does not mean that the partisan audit is over, however: auditors also undergo an examination which they say is intended to assess the authenticity of the ballots. The auditors did not specify exactly how this review is conducted.

Jeff Ellington, CEO of Runbeck Election Services, the company that manufactured the Maricopa County ballots, said in an interview Monday that he has no idea what listeners are looking for on the ballots they are looking for. they examine. He said his company examined his ballots in ultraviolet light after seeing listeners do so weeks ago, “trying to figure out what they could possibly be looking for.”

“We don’t disclose what they’re looking for, what those processes are, and it’s frustrating,” Ellington said.

“You have yet to speculate what they are doing,” he said. “You watch the live stream of the video, you have to speculate what they’re really trying to accomplish.”

As the audit progressed, its location – the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix – has seen visits from a growing list of pro-Donald Trump Republicans, including Pennsylvania lawmakers who have said they will ask. a similar audit of the results of their own state.

Josh Mandel, Republican candidate for the Ohio Senate, tweeted a video of himself in the audit room on Monday.

And on Friday, GOP officials and candidates from several states visited the Colosseum. Among them were several Republican lawmakers from Wisconsin, on a trip that Assembly Speaker Robin Vos had endorsed, and former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned in 2018 after being accused of doing so. sing about a woman he had an affair with and is now attempting a comeback as a candidate for the Senate.

Republicans from Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah also visited the audit locations on Friday, according to a Republic of Arizona report showing who visited the audit site since. out of state.

And Republican lawmakers in Georgia – another state where GOP election officials have repeatedly said there is no evidence to support Trump’s lies about widespread voter fraud, and where audits have failed. found no evidence of wrongdoing – also visited Arizona last week.

Arizona State Senate Speaker Karen Fann – whose Republican caucus initiated the audit – and State Senator David Gowan were on the audit floor for about 45 minutes on Monday, but did not speak to reporters there.

Arizona’s so-called audit of the 2020 election results of Maricopa County, the home of Phoenix, has been plagued by problems.

The audit is being conducted by a Florida-based company called Cyber ​​Ninjas, whose CEO Doug Logan previously pushed Trump’s election conspiracy theories on social media. The company and state senators who commissioned the audit did not provide a full account of who is funding the audit or the companies involved in carrying it out.

It was broadcast by pro-Trump propaganda outlet One America News, which also solicited donations for the audit. OAN reported last week that a large number of ballots were missing – triggering a wave of aggregate reports from pro-Trump conspiracy websites. But Pullen, the audit spokesperson, told a reporter from the pool on Monday that reports of hundreds of thousands of missing ballots are “crazy.”

Experts said auditors ignore standard procedures for post-election reviews and follow processes that could introduce errors and bias into their count results.

The GOP-controlled Maricopa County Supervisory Board and county recorder Stephen Richer – the Republican responsible for administering the elections, who was himself elected in 2020 – have harshly condemned the audit. Supervisors called it a “sham”. Richer, in a CNN editorial last month, condemned the “laughably inaccurate” claims made by the audit team.

Nationally, some Republicans have also criticized the procedures in Arizona.

“What is happening in Maricopa County is not an ‘audit’,” said Republican Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming said friday on Twitter. “It is an effort to overthrow democracy.” Cheney was ousted from her role as the third-largest House Republican in part because of her criticism of Trump and the GOP’s adoption of lies about the 2020 election.
“She’s not wrong, you know,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, another Republican opponent who spoke out against Trump’s election lies, tweeted Saturday about Cheney’s comments.
While some Republican officials continue to deny the reality that President Joe Biden beat Trump in 2020, the Justice Department plans to monitor post-election audits “to ensure they meet federal legal requirements to protect electoral records and avoid voter intimidation “. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a speech Friday.

“Some jurisdictions, based on disinformation, have used anomalous post-election audit methodologies that can endanger the integrity of the voting process and undermine public confidence in our democracy,” Garland said.

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