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Plot Thickens: Vote Counts Don't Match in Maricopa County 2020 Election Audit, Arizona GOP Claims

© AP Photo / Matt YorkFILE - In this May 6, 2021 file photo, Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. For some conspiracy theorists, the 2020 election still hasn’t ended. Trump supporters are pushing to re-examine ballots from November across the country, and finding success in swing states like Arizona and Georgia. Their efforts and sometimes misleading conclusions are being gleefully amplified by the former president.
FILE - In this May 6, 2021 file photo, Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. For some conspiracy theorists, the 2020 election still hasn’t ended. Trump supporters are pushing to re-examine ballots from November across the country, and finding success in swing states like Arizona and Georgia. Their efforts and sometimes misleading conclusions are being gleefully amplified by the former president. - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.07.2021
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Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, who is leading the GOP's 2020 election audit effort in Maricopa County, told the radio station KTAR-FM on 13 July that the number of votes certified by the county and the number of ballots counted in the audit do not match.
"They haven’t released a number yet, if you will, however we do know that those numbers do not match with Maricopa County at this point", Fann stated on Tuesday, in a reference to the group of independent auditors hired by the state senate.
One America News specified on Tuesday that further expected findings would be reported "within the next 48 hours".
Arizona auditors have been recounting 2.1 million ballots cast in the 2020 election in Maricopa County as well as 385 tabulators since 23 April. Although the county has already held two forensic audits, in February 2021 the Arizona GOP won a case in which it sought a third recount and examination of election equipment in the fourth-most populous county in the nation. In November 2020, Joe Biden outperformed Donald Trump in Maricopa County by over 45,000 votes and bested the latter statewide by a margin of about 10,000 votes, or 0.3 percent of the roughly 3.4 million ballots cast.
After the judge ruled that the audit could continue, Arizona Democrats served up new accusations, claiming that the security at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, where the ballots and tabulators are being stored, is questionable. In addition to that, the Arizona Senate audit also came into the cross hairs of the US Justice Department, which alleged that the effort may be in violation of federal law and amount to illegal voter intimidation.
Meanwhile, in May, auditors raised concerns about a number of issues, including missing passwords, withheld routers, and allegedly deleted databases as well as controversies surrounding the chain of custody and ballot organisation. In response, the Maricopa Board of Supervisors denied all the allegations in an official statement, adding that it would not assist the state's Senate auditors in the ongoing recount of 2.1 million ballots and urged the Arizona GOP to shut the audit down. The recount effort attracted the attention of former President Trump, who described the alleged discrepancies outlined by Arizona auditors as "devastating."
The team of independent auditors is due to publish a comprehensive report on all the findings.
​The Arizona effort prompted a number of other states to follow suit. In June, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger acknowledged supposed irregularities in Atlanta's Fulton County and announced on 14 June that 100,000 people would be removed from voter rolls across the state. The Michigan Senate Oversight Committee has also looked into 2020 election issues, but found no "systematic fraud" in the state.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania GOP members visited the Arizona audit and signalled in early July that they are interested in launching a privately funded audit of the state’s election results. The effort is led by Pennsylvania state GOP Senator Doug Mastriano, who chairs the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee and is regarded as a potential future gubernatorial candidate. Last week, Mastriano announced that he had sent letters to Philadelphia, York, and Tioga counties asking them to turn over election materials by 31 July. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the materials include ballots, voting machines, vote counting equipment, mail-in ballot envelopes, and mail-in ballot applications. The senator specified that if the counties refuse to provide the materials, he could resort to issuing subpoenas to force them to comply.
​In an apparent response to the growing Republican effort to review the 2020 election results and strengthen ID laws across the country, President Joe Biden delivered a speech on 13 July at the National Constitution Centre in Philadelphia. In particular, the president addressed what he called the "Big Lie", i.e. concerns that he did not win the 2020 election fair and square.
"In America, if you lose, you accept the results", Biden said. "You follow the Constitution. You try again. You don't call facts fake and then try to bring down the American experiment just because you're unhappy. That's not statesmanship. That's selfishness".
​However, the president's remarks immediately prompted a backlash on social media, with netizens citing Hillary Clinton's refusal to recognise the 2016 election results by claiming that they were "stolen" from her by Donald Trump and "Russian hackers". For his part, American conservative journalist Jack Posobiec quoted Biden's own 24 July 2019 tweet which said that "Russia undermined [American democracy] by interfering in the 2016 election". "This you?" Posobiec asked, addressing Joe Biden.
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