Matt York / AP
Republicans from a growing number of states are heading to Arizona’s Maricopa County to witness a controversial election review ordered by GOP leaders in the state Senate, a sign that similar inquiries may be sought elsewhere in the state. country.
Arizona’s review has full backing from former President Donald Trump, who continues to make baseless claims about a stolen 2020 election.
Last week, three Pennsylvania lawmakers visited the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, where a manual recount of the 2020 Maricopa County election results has been underway since late April.
On Monday, officials from the Nevada Republican Party visited the recount and met with Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based cybersecurity firm, warning that it is not qualified to review the election and is headed by a CEO who has spread electoral fraud plots.
Former Georgia State Representative Vernon Jones, a pro-Trump figure running to oust Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp in a primary on Wednesday, met with Arizona lawmakers before making your own Colosseum tour.
And Randy Pullen, a former Arizona Republican Party chairman who serves as a spokesperson on the review, said lawmakers in Wisconsin and Virginia could do their own tour later this week. Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers revealed the name of one of those inbound visitors: Virginia State Senator Amanda Chase, a controversial Republican who recently lost the GOP nomination for governor of Virginia.
Most Republican visitors have expressed an interest in replicating what is happening in Arizona in their home country. Pennsylvania State Senator Cris Dush told reporters he “absolutely” wants an Arizona-style review to be conducted on its own turf, as Pennsylvania GOP leaders do in the face of increasing pressure to continue such an investigation.
Conservative radio host John Fredericks, whose Tweeter served as an announcement of a state visit to Georgia Sens. Burt Jones and Brandon Beach, wrote lawmakers “would meet with Arizona audit officials and state senators to secure plan for statewide forensic audit in Georgia “.
A full list of Republicans visiting the Colosseum is hard to find. Pullen, the spokesperson, only confirmed basic details of the states the Republicans traveled from, not the names of lawmakers and other officials making the trip.
A Cyber Ninjas spokesperson did not respond to questions about coordinating visits. But in court records, lawyers for the firm argued that they expected their work in Maricopa County to be the first of many “similar business opportunities” for other governments across the country.
Arizona Senate Speaker Karen Fann, a Republican from Prescott tasked with ordering the scrutiny of elections and hiring the companies that run them, bragged about hearing lawmakers from other states monitor up close the effort. Fann later told CNN that the process would be the “gold standard” for auditing elections.
Critics, including election experts watching the count on behalf of Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, say the review is anything but.
Hobbs recently published a list of issues his observers have noted from the Colosseum floor – including frequent changes in processes and procedures, and rule violations implemented by the private companies running the operation. These companies, especially Cyber Ninjas, have been criticized for their bias and inexperience. Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan spread conspiracy theories about voter fraud before his company began operating in Maricopa County.
The end of the exam may finally be in sight, although it will take several more weeks.
Ken Bennett, a business liaison appointed by Fann, told reporters on Tuesday that the manual recount of nearly 2.1 million ballots is expected to be completed by the end of the week.
But it will take another three to four weeks to complete what Bennett described as a paper evaluation of the ballots, and weeks later for companies to issue a final report for Republicans in the Arizona Senate. The evaluation of the paper will examine “everything to do with the authenticity of the ballot,” Bennett said.