On the floor of Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where NBA stars like Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan once dunked basketballs and Hulk Hogan wrestled King Kong Bundy, 46 tables are arrayed in neat rows, each with a Lazy Susan in the middle.
Seated at the tables are several dozen people, mostly Republicans, who spend hours watching ballots spin by, photographing them or inspecting them closely. They are counting them and checking to see if there is any sign they were flown in surreptitiously from South Korea. A few weeks ago they were holding them up to ultraviolet lights, looking for a watermark rumored to be a sign of fraud.
This is Arizona’s extraordinary, partisan audit of the 2020 election results in the state’s most populous county — ground zero for former President Donald Trump and a legion of his supporters who have refused to accept his loss in Arizona or in other battleground states. These ballots have been counted before and certified by the Republican governor. Much of the country has moved on.ADVERTISING
And yet, in this aging arena, Republicans are searching for evidence to support claims they already believe.
The effort has alarmed voting rights advocates, election administrators and civil rights lawyers at the U.S. Department of Justice, who this past week demanded confirmation that federal security and anti-intimidation laws are being followed. Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, responded Friday by telling the department it had nothing to worry about.
“They lost, and they can’t get over it,” said Grant Woods, a former Republican Arizona attorney general who became a Democrat during Trump’s presidency. “And they don’t want to get over it because they want to continue to sow doubt about the election.”