But of course, it’s about “election integrity,” right? So now the Arizona Senate has the November ballots that they demanded, but they don’t know what to do with them. For a group who says their actions are intended to inspire confidence in the voting process, not overturn the election results, this episode doesn’t help much, writes Laurie Roberts in The Arizona Republic.
Some background: “Stop the Steal” started here last December 19, organized by names you probably know, including Ali Alexander and Rep. Paul Gosar. Ever since that first protest at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, where Gosar spoke (as he did on Jan. 6), the Arizona Senate has been demanding that Maricopa County election officials deliver to the Senate all of their ballots. After all, they whined, there’s no way Biden could beat Trump in Arizona, or Democrat Mark Kelly could defeat Martha McSally in the Senate race. Must be fraud! (Never mind that the polls had Biden and Kelly winning.)
At first the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (BTW 4-1 Republican) told the Senate to take a flying leap, especially after two independent audits clarified that the count was accurate. That didn’t matter to Senators, though, because they didn’t oversee the count, so the Senate subpoenaed the ballots and if County officials did not turn them over, they could be arrested. Seriously. A judge finally stepped in over the weekend and ordered Maricopa County to comply with the subpoena.
Which the County did Monday—delivering 73 pallets stacked with 2.1 million ballots to the Senate chambers. That would be the same Senate that demanded the ballots, but now has no fucking clue what to do with them. They didn’t even have a plan to count the votes after it became known that they initially hired a firm with ties to Trump to conduct the audit, the same firm that had botched an earlier count.
On Jan. 29, the Senate announced that it had hired “an independent, qualified forensic auditing firm to analysis the 2020 election results” though [Senate President Karen] Fann quickly backtracked once the public got wind of the fact that her idea of “independent, qualified” auditors was Trump’s crack Allied Security crew.
A Senate spokesperson asked Maricopa County officials why they delivered the ballots to the Senate, which doesn’t have the space or security to house them. Evidently, Senators expected the County to store the ballots and allow GOP auditors to access them there. No such luck, Senators: YOU demanded the ballots be delivered to the Senate Judiciary Committee. YOU never asked the County to keep them. Read your own friggin’ subpoena! Besides, County officials say, they are currently preparing for another City election “and cannot permit unauthorized persons inside the election facility.”
Inspires confidence, indeed.