Arizona Republicans plan to bury 'audit' results in Friday afternoon news dump

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The results of the monthslong, scandal-ridden election audit in Arizona will be released right before the start of the weekend — a tactic known in politics as a 'news dump.'

Republicans in the Arizona state Senate announced that the results of their long-awaited "audit" of the state's 2020 election results will be released at 1 p.m. Arizona time on Friday afternoon — a time politicians often use to bury news they are not proud of or do not want significant media coverage of.

Those presenting the "audit" findings — including GOP Senate President Karen Fann and Doug Logan, the Donald Trump-supporting conspiracy theorist whose firm, Cyber Ninjas, conducted the audit — will not take questions from the media after they release the results.

The Friday afternoon dump of the results comes months after Republicans in the Arizona Senate had originally said they'd complete their audit of more than 2 million ballots in Maricopa County, the state's largest county, which has swung toward Democrats in recent years.

The audit began on April 22 and was supposed to last no longer than 60 days, the Associated Press reported.

But the audit took far longer, with reports of auditors not following proper election protocol and experts lambasting the effort as a partisan hunt to prove Trump's lies and outlandish conspiracy theories about fraud in the 2020 election.

In fact, the Department of Justice raised concerns early on that the audit itself was in violation of federal election law, with Congress' House Oversight Committee now probing whether the audit was merely "an effort to promote baseless conspiracy theories."

It's unclear what exactly the audit report will say. However, multiple previous recounts and audits found no irregularities in the vote and that President Joe Biden legitimately won the state.

And a bipartisan group of consultants determined that the cause of Trump's loss in what had been a reliably red state for decades was that a large chunk of GOP voters simply didn't vote for Trump.

Republican election officials in Maricopa County have sharply turned against the exercise.

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican, wrote a letter in August condemning the audit, saying he was "embarrassed listening to my party concoct the most outlandish theories (Chinese ballots!) to avoid accepting the reality: We lost the top two races in Arizona."

The GOP chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors also slammed the audit in August, calling it an "adventure in never-never land" and telling the Senate to "finish whatever it is that you are doing and release whatever it is you are going to release."

The audit has already cost taxpayers in the state millions of dollars, as the effort irreparably damaged nearly $3 million's worth of voting equipment that will now be replaced. While the GOP-led Senate had promised taxpayers wouldn't foot the bill for any damages caused during the audit, they backtracked on that claim, refusing to pay and instead threatening to withhold nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in state funding to Maricopa County.

The audit could also be costly for Republicans at the ballot box, with polling showing that the effort was unpopular in the state and GOP consultants warning that the audit could spell "trouble for Republicans in 2022."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.