Ariz. Audit ‘Children’s Summer Camp’ Where MAGA Volunteers ‘Pretend’ to Count Ballots
So-called audit may be pleasing Trump, but Arizona voters are repulsed
The weeks drag on, and MAGA volunteers continue to pretend to count votes under the watchful eyes of the “Cyber Ninjas,” in an exercise which carries all the solemnity of a clown-car disaster.
The so-called “audit” — authorized by the state's Republican-controlled Senate and motivated by former president Donald Trump's baseless “Big Lie” that the election was stolen from him — is back in business counting all 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County’s general election, after having had had to vacate their work quarters in Phoenix's Veterans Memorial Coliseum to make way for a series of local high school graduations.
But quality of the work certainly hasn't improved.
“Now what is going on in Arizona with the ballot recount almost seems like cosplay. It's like a children’s summer camp where they get to pretend to be wizards and witches at Hogwarts. They're a bunch of MAGA volunteers pretending to be conducting a recount or an audit, counting ballots. But here's the thing. They are doing it with actual ballots, those are the ballots, because the Arizona Republicans used the power they have over the machinery of the state to actually turn them over to a private company and volunteers,” said MSNBC host Chris Hayes. “So this audit is attacking the most fundamental, crucial cornerstone of a functioning democracy. Now we have seen the Republican Party wage their assault on democracy in many ways, before the election, in the aftermath of the election, continuing day by day, right? There are new restrictive voting laws being introduced in almost every state they control.”
Even Cyber Ninjas, which ostensibly is administering the audit, is sketchy. It's an obscure cybersecurity company, the CEO of which isn't exactly an impartial judge given that he's known to have promoted a number of baseless election-related conspiracies.
At one point, the volunteers counting the ballots actually began seeking out the presence of bamboo fibers in the ballots — again, on the basis of a conspiracy.
“I’m certainly worried when you start to hear that they’re bringing in microscopes to look for traces of bamboo because of the supposition that all of these ballots were flown in from China. When you start to go down such absurd rabbit holes, there’s always going to be fabrication of one sort or the other,” said Rep Peter Meijer (D-Mich). “And to me, that’s what’s really worrying, is, if you are latched on to a fiction, you will find things to support it. And we have really created this two-tiered reality — or I guess one reality and one just alternative existence where if you feel that it should be so, you can find the evidence to prove it.”
And Tuesday, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs issued her latest report detailing shifty, insecure practices on-site in the coliseum.
It's surprising that we know as much as we do about the supposed audit, because another one of their strong suits has not been transparency.
"Well, they did speak to one outlet on camera, but not a news organization. It is One America News Network. It peddles conspiracy theories. It is pro-Donald Trump. It is pro-Big Lie. And the reason we know about it is because, you know, audit supporters tweeted a picture showing [Pennsylvania Republican state Sen. Doug] Mastriano talking to one of the personalities for One America News Network," CNN reporter Kyung Lah said in a report with host Anderson Cooper. “In fact, Anderson, what they did was they kicked out the legitimate news organizations in the pool that included a CNN camera.
"We did find out later that one of the print reporters in the next shift of pool reporters did manage to speak to one of the other Pennsylvania lawmakers who did tell the pool that they are looking forward to having an Arizona-style audit in Pennsylvania,” she added.
Trump reportedly is fixated on the audit in Arizona, and the others like it getting underway in several other states. Perhaps that's what is motivating his fantastical claims that he expects to be “reinstated” as president by August.
One thing that we do know about the so-called Arizona audit, it's that it's killing the Republican Party brand in the state.
Podcaster Farron Cousins recently broke down an opinion poll which finds Arizona independent voters are repulsed by the ongoing audit.
And Republicans need to win those independent voters back if they want to flip any offices in a state moving “blue.”