The Skinny: The real fraud is about the GOP’s latest audit, not the 2020 election

It's fair to say that many supporters of Donald Trump are taking his loss in the 2020 presidential election badly. That includes Trump himself, who incited his followers into storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in hopes of preventing a procedural step in the peaceful transfer of power. Trump continues to proclaim, without evidence, that the election was stolen from him and yadda yadda yadda.

Still, Trump's alternate take on reality is a safe space for many of his supporters. A late March Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that 60% of Republicans believe that the election was stolen from Trump, despite Trump's inability to prove any of it in court and the lunatic nature of the various conspiracy theories regarding how exactly the "theft" was pulled off.

In response to Trump's delusions, we are seeing state lawmakers across the country gin up voter-suppression bills masquerading as election integrity bills. We've already seen Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp sign a bill that restricts voter registration and early voting and even forbids people from providing food and water to voters who will be waiting in longer lines thanks to the aforementioned restrictions. The blowback from that, including the loss of Major League Baseball's All-Star Game, has Republicans complaining that all their new restrictions that will disportionately affect Black voters are just being misunderstood and that sports should stay out of politics (except when they want a new ballpark) and businesses should stop trying to throw their weight around (except when it's time to fund campaigns or lobby for tax breaks or fewer regulations).

Here in Arizona, we have our own election suppression bills moving through the Legislature that would hamstring voter-registration efforts and find new ways to throw out early ballots. A bunch of Phoenix-area businesses recently announced their opposition to the bills, recognizing that making it harder for people to vote is the wrong way to ensure election integrity.

But as state Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) told CNN earlier this year: "Not everybody wants to vote, and if somebody is uninterested in voting, that probably means that they're totally uninformed on the issues. Quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes, as well."

And obviously, Republican voters are of a higher quality than Democratic voters, am I right?

Republican state lawmakers are also embroiled in overseeing an "audit" of Maricopa County's ballot and voting machines. Although the GOP-controlled Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has already overseen two audits of the voting machines, that hasn't been good enough for the Arizona Senate, which is insisting on doing its own. After a legal fight resulted in an order to turn over all 2.1 million ballots and the associated voting machines, Senate President Karen Fann has yet to pick up the boxes of ballots, as Maricopa County officials have told her they want nothing to do with her fraudulent efforts to sow more doubt about the election. In fact, hardly anyone wants to be involved, from current to retired state and county election officials to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

Instead, Ken Bennett, the former secretary of state last seen running a doomed campaign against Gov. Doug Ducey, has volunteered to oversee the audit. Bennett, who transformed into a Trumpster sometime in the last four years, is using up the last of his once-solid reputation on this exercise. All we can say is we liked him better when he was stacking Kleenex boxes to explain the state budget.

Meanwhile, Fann has handed a contract to a firm called Cyber Ninjas to conduct the audit, which is supposed to include a hand count of ballots done entirely by volunteers. We don't doubt that the numbers tabulated by disgruntled Republican activists who volunteer for such an effort is going to come out differently than a machine count, but that's because human error is far more likely than machine error when it comes to counting ballots. Anyone who knows anything about elections knows that's true.

Cyber Ninjas is led by Doug Logan and it took about an hour for Capitol reporters to figure out that the guy was tweeting bullshit about election theft.

"Logan deleted his Twitter account, @securityvoid, sometime in January," wrote Arizona Mirror reporter Jeremy Duda. "But online archives show extensive activity in support of the Stop the Steal movement that has repeated false and unsubstantiated claims that Biden won the 2020 through election fraud."

On top of that, Logan wrote a document about election fraud that was posted on Trump attorney Sidney Powell's website. Yes, that's the same Sidney Powell who is defending herself against a billion-dollar lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems by filing papers in court that no reasonable person would believe the things she said about election fraud.

The real problem here isn't election fraud—it's the pathetic efforts by some Republicans to sow doubts about the election with bullshit like the Senate's audit. And The Skinny is not the first to observe that there are no facts that will persuade those who don't believe the election was legitimate. Audits like the one the Senate is pursuing are designed to muddy up the waters, not reach the truth.

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