US House Democrats Launch Probe Into Arizona GOP-Led Vote Recount
19:04 GMT 15.07.2021 (Updated: 13:20 GMT 06.08.2022)
© AP Photo / Matt YorkIn 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. Arizona’s largest county has approved nearly $3 million for new vote-counting machines to replace those given to legislative Republicans for a partisan review of the 2020 election. The GOP-controlled Maricopa County Board of Supervisors said Wednesday, July 14, 2021 that the machines were compromised because they were in the control of firms not accredited to handle election equipment. (AP Photo/Matt York, Pool, File)
© AP Photo / Matt York
Local Democrats have tried on numerous occasions to thwart the recount process, which has allegedly already managed to find inconsistencies between the number of certified votes and the number of ballots counted during the audit.
The Democrat-controlled US House Oversight Committee has launched a probe into a ballot audit currently taking place in Maricopa County, Arizona and organised by the Arizona Republicans. The committee claims to be probing the endeavour for possible violations of US citizens' rights.
"Americans’ right to vote is protected by the Constitution and is the cornerstone of our democratic system of government", chair of the Oversight Committee, Democrat Carolyn Maloney said in a joint statement with another Democrat, Jamie Raskin from the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
The committee has asked Cyber Ninjas, the private firm hired by Arizona Republican senators to conduct the audit, to provide information regarding its communications with local Maricopa County officials, as well as various US politicians, including former President Donald Trump and his supporters.
The House Democrats claim to be investigating the legitimacy of the audit, which was organised by the local GOP with the goal of ensuring that no voter fraud took place in the 2020 election. The company in charge of the audit also has to report on its own structure and the methods it has been using in its work. The committee pointed to the public criticism of the choice of the company, which does not have prior experience in handling tasks as important as a vote audit. Cyber Ninjas has two weeks to comply with the committee's demands.
Democrat Opposition to Vote Recounts
The Democratic Party opposed efforts by the GOP to organise recounts of the votes in the 2020 election, during which then-President Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden by razor-thin margins in several states. The most recent audit in Maricopa County was no exception.
The local Democratic Party chapter first tried to poke sticks in the audit's wheels by filing a complaint, claiming that the audit of the votes and voting equipment for inconsistencies, irregularities, and tampering would violate "various statutory and Election Procedures Manual provisions". They also alleged that the building where the ballots are being held during the audit does not meet the security requirements.
The GOP's initiative, which has reportedly already detected an inconsistency between the number of ballots it counted and the certified number of votes, was also targeted by the Biden administration's Department of Justice, which alleged that such a review of election results could constitute illegal voter intimidation. But despite all the obstacles, the Arizona audit is proceeding, with the initial results expected to be revealed in a matter of days.
Following the end of the November 2020 election, Donald Trump and his campaign reported numerous violations of the procedures, such as observers being barred from monitoring the counting process and the results suddenly shifting in favour of Democrat Joe Biden. However, only one irregularity in one county was confirmed and written off as the result of a human error, while the rest of the claims lost in court. Despite this, Trump continued to insist that the election was "stolen" from him. These claims were slammed as "fake" by the Democrats and major social media platforms, and the election results were certified by the US Congress.