Republican lawmakers from around the nation are heading to Arizona to observe an audit of votes from the 2020 election.
Legislators from Georgia, Utah, Michigan, Washington, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Nevada, and Virginia have visited the audit of 2.1 million votes in Maricopa County, ordered by Arizona's Republican controlled legislature, The Hill reported.
"They just want to see the audit and see what we're doing, how we're doing it, what procedures we're using. They want to understand it, what the process is," said Randy Pullen, a former Arizona Republican Party chairman who is acting as a spokesman for the audit team. "Everybody who's seen the process has been pretty surprised about how totally secure it is."
Arizona was one of the key swing states that cost former President Donald Trump the election in November by just 0.3%, or about 12,000 votes, according to Politico.
Trump lost Maricopa County, the largest in the state, which includes Pheonix, by 45,109 votes.
The former president questioned the results of the November election due to many mail-in and absentee votes that came in amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several court challenges to the voting by the Trump team did not pan out, but Arizona decided to move ahead with a forensic audit of its ballots conducted by the Florida firm, Cyber Ninjas.
Most Republicans believe the election was "stolen" from Trump, while most Democrats say the allegations are a "big lie," and call the claims "baseless," according to an article in the The Guardian.
Trump supported audits in other states like what is currently underway in Arizona.
According to The Guardian, Arizona paid $150,000 for the audit with the rest of the cost paid by private donors, some with ties to Trump.
"It is wholly inappropriate that the Arizona state senate is hiding the mechanisms by which their sanctioned activity is being funded," said Adrian Fontes, a Democrat who served as the top election official in Maricopa County, the target of the ballot review, until he lost his reelection bid last year. "The lack of transparency there is just grotesque."
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland threatened states that might be thinking about doing the same as Arizona, that the U.S. Department of Justice would be "watching them," the Arizona Mirror reported Friday.
"Many of the justifications proffered in support of these post-election audits and restrictions on voting have relied on assertions of material vote fraud in the 2020 election that have been refuted by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, of both this administration and the previous one, as well as by every court, federal and state, that has considered them," Garland said in his speech at the Justice Department.
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