Miles Parks for NPR:
To Matt Masterson, the review of 2020 ballots from Maricopa County, Ariz., that’s underway is “performance art” or “a clown show,” and definitely “a waste of taxpayer money.”
But it’s not an audit.
“It’s an audit in name only,” says Masterson, a former Department of Homeland Security official who helped lead the federal government’s election security preparations leading up to November’s election. “It’s a threat to the overall confidence of democracy, all in pursuit of continuing a narrative that we know to be a lie.”
And, Masterson says, the strategy chosen by the Arizona’s Republican state Senate leaders is working as intended to undermine confidence in the outcome of last year’s vote.
The process is a simple exercise in how disinformation spreads and takes hold in 2021. And experts fear it presents a blueprint for other states and lawmakers to follow, one that is already showing signs of being emulated across the country.
“Now we have a playbook out there,” said Masterson, who is currently a policy fellow with the Stanford Internet Observatory, “where if you don’t like the results — by the way in an election that wasn’t particularly close … you just claim you didn’t lose and in fact the process itself was rigged against you.”