Arizona GOP helps Biden find even more votes in costly election 'audit'

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Republicans' hyper-partisan review of Maricopa County's 2020 election results found that President Joe Biden gained 360 votes, according to a leaked report draft.

A draft of the findings from the Republican-led "audit" of Arizona's 2020 election results found, once again, that President Joe Biden won the state, dealing yet another blow to former President Donald Trump and his allies.

The official release of the Arizona report marks the end of the state's partisan review of the results, which experts said broke election protocol and was merely an attempt to back up Trump's baseless claims of widespread "voter fraud."

The Republican-led investigation found that Biden won Maricopa County by 360 more votes than originally reported, according to a leaked report draft obtained by the Arizona Republic. Republicans planned to release the results of their audit on Friday afternoon.

The leaked draft is an embarrassing conclusion to a monthslong saga for Trump and his Republican allies, who hoped the audit would prove that Democrats "stole" the election and would lead to Trump's reinstatement as president.

Trump himself seemed unaware that the audit would end up helping his opponent. "Everybody will be watching Arizona tomorrow to see what the highly respected auditors and Arizona State Senate found out regarding the so-called Election," Trump said in a statement on Thursday.

The Republican audit focused on election results in Maricopa County, the largest county in the state and home to the Phoenix metropolitan area. On Thursday night, Maricopa County officials tweeted that the leaked draft report "confirms the county's canvass of the 2020 General Election was accurate and the candidates certified as the winners did, in fact, win."

The officials added that the GOP report is "littered with errors & faulty conclusions about how Maricopa County conducted the 2020 General Election."

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann is set to release the Republican-led chamber's official report on Friday afternoon. Fann will be joined by Doug Logan, an avid Trump supporter whose company, Cyber Ninjas, conducted the audit. Fann will also be joined by Shiva Ayyadurai, a failed congressional candidate and COVID-19 conspiracy theorist whom the Senate hired as part of the audit in the waning weeks of the effort, according to the Daily Beast.

The Arizona audit reportedly cost the state $5.7 million. Republicans lawmakers allowed unqualified auditors in Maricopa County to handle the county's voting machines, making them vulnerable to security risks and therefore unfit to use in future elections. Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel said it will cost Arizona taxpayers $2.8 million to replace the compromised voting machines.

Despite all their efforts, the Arizona auditors could not prove that Trump won Maricopa County.

But while the Arizona audit proved to be a flop — one that GOP operatives say could even hurt them in future elections — Republicans in at least two other states are moving forward with their own partisan reviews of the 2020 election results.

Last week, Republican members of the Pennsylvania Legislature issued a subpoena to the acting secretary of state demanding data on millions of voters — including their Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, and home addresses — to conduct their own "audit." On Thursday, Pennsylvania's attorney general responded to the move by filing a lawsuit against the Republican lawmakers.

Also on Thursday, the Texas secretary of state's office announced it will conduct its own "full forensic audit" of the state's election results, even though Trump won the state in 2020. The audit will focus on election results in four of the state's largest counties — Dallas, Harris, Tarrant, and Collin — three of which Biden carried.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.