Last month, the conclusion of an election audit in Maricopa County, Arizona, affirmed what we already knew: President Joe Biden fairly won the state. Far from proving that the state (and election) was somehow stolen from former President Trump due to widespread voter fraud, the audit ironically increased Biden’s margin of victory in Maricopa County.
I want to reframe these efforts (and other similar efforts across the country) away from an audit, as that term would be inaccurate. It was more of a hyper-partisan effort to undermine faith in our election integrity. Any form of election review is usually conducted by bipartisan groups, but Arizona state Republicans hand picked the security firms that would conduct the audit; the main firm—Cyber Ninjas—had no previous experience in election review, and its owner had expressed support for baseless election conspiracies. Additionally, former Trump administration officials and Trump allies were the primary funders for the audit, providing a whopping $5.7 million for the effort that was doomed from the start.
Indeed, the goal of this partisan sham was not to find nonexistent voter fraud and somehow flip Arizona red: it was to question American democracy in any way possible.
Experts criticized the process for lack of transparency and communication. Indeed, the goal of this partisan sham was not to find nonexistent voter fraud and somehow flip Arizona red: it was to question American democracy in any way possible. The audit’s “evidence” of voter fraud quickly fell apart under scrutiny, but the former President repeated them nonetheless. Yet, even a hyper-partisan investigation did not find any evidence of voter fraud.
Pennsylvanian Republicans have begun a similar process. Last month, they voted to subpoena records of every registered voter in the state (records that include nonpublic information like drivers’ license numbers and Social security numbers) in what they call a “forensic investigation” of the 2020 election. Similar to the Arizona investigation, criticism lies in the lack of transparency and privacy concerns.
I urge everybody to examine this from a nonpartisan lens. Will this be the precedent for future elections? Will endless (and baseless) questioning of democratic results months after an election become the norm?
I urge everybody to examine this from a nonpartisan lens. Will this be the precedent for future elections? Will endless (and baseless) questioning of democratic results months after an election become the norm? Pennsylvania Republicans have cited trust in the election process as their reasoning, but what is there to investigate? President Joe Biden won Pennsylvania. There was no voter fraud. Across the United States, the results of a legitimate election are still being questioned nearly a year later. Republicans cite “election integrity” as their reason, but they actively undermine American democracy through these baseless, partisan election “audits.” In the past year, American democracy has proven to be fragile. The election of 2020 will never be overturned, but our generation may feel its lasting impacts.