Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Politics

Trump lost in Arizona, says draft of contentious election audit

By Nathan Layne

(Reuters) -A partisan review of the 2020 presidential election commissioned by Arizona Republicans has confirmed President Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the state’s most populous county, according to a draft report of the review’s findings.

Maricopa County announced what it said were the main findings on its Twitter feed late on Thursday, saying the draft “confirms the county’s canvass of the 2020 General Election was accurate and the candidates certified as the winners did, in fact, win”.

The conclusion, if confirmed in an official announcement scheduled for later on Friday, will disappoint supporters of Trump who had pushed for the review, many in the expectation that it would prove his baseless claims that he was robbed of victory in the November 2020 vote due to widespread fraud.

A wide array of election experts, Democrats and some Republican officials had rejected the audit as a highly partisan boondoggle run by contractors without relevant expertise and people who were out to prove that Trump won last November, regardless of the facts. The lead contractor is an obscure firm, Cyber Ninjas, whose chief executive has promoted conspiracy theories about orchestrated fraud in the election.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee called on the firm’s chief executive to testify at an Oct. 7 hearing, citing its refusal to provide lawmakers requested documents.

“You don’t have to dig deep into the draft copy of the Arizona Senate/Cyber Ninja audit report to confirm what I already knew — the candidates certified by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General — did, in fact, win,” Maricopa County Board Chair Jack Sellers, a Republican, said in a statement.

The results of what Republican state lawmakers have called a “forensic audit” into 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa, which includes Phoenix, are set to be revealed in the state Senate at 1 p.m. local time (4 p.m. Eastern/2000 GMT), five months after the Republican-led Senate launched the review.

While confirming Trump’s defeat, the draft report is “also littered with errors & faulty conclusions” about how the election was administered, Maricopa County said on Twitter.

An Arizona Senate spokesman, Mike Philipsen, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Separately, Texas’ secretary of state late on Thursday announced the state, which Trump won in 2020, had begun “a full and comprehensive forensic audit” of last year’s presidential election in its four largest counties – Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Collin. It gave no other details but urged state lawmakers to fund the effort.

Trump had called on Governor Greg Abbott, a fellow Republican facing re-election next year, to audit the 2020 vote.

Representatives for the counties could not be immediately reached for comment. Harris County’s election administrator, in a statement, said the audit was “another attack by officials on our communities’ trust in elections,” the Texas Tribune reported.

The election review in Arizona has been viewed as a model by Trump allies seeking to conduct similar “forensic” investigations in Pennsylvania, Michigan and other battleground states that Trump lost. Trump himself has predicted the audit would provide the evidence to support his fraud claims. So far no such proof has been produced either by Trump or his backers.

Biden beat Trump in Arizona by a margin of just over 10,000 votes, a narrow win confirmed by a hand recount and multiple post-election tests for accuracy. Biden carried Maricopa by about 45,000 votes, making it critical to his victory.

(Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Howard Goller)

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