“Arizona audit fuels election distrust, congressional panel says”

Arizona Republic:

A congressional panel on Thursday portrayed the partisan review of Maricopa County’s 2020 election results as the latest in a wave of moves that feed on conspiracy theories to undermine Americans’ confidence in elections.

The nearly four-hour proceeding also revisited the events that led to the audit, with U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., questioning Maricopa County Supervisors Jack Sellers and Bill Gates, as well as audit liaison Ken Bennett, about the county’s election procedures.

“The facts about this audit are so damning,” said U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the chairwoman of the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee. “This audit was designed to find fraud, but it didn’t find fraud.”

Maloney, D-N.Y., lamented that Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan declined the committee’s invitation to testify and speculated it was because he did not want to do so under oath. The Cyber Ninjas were hired by Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, R-Prescott, to conduct the audit.

The Cyber Ninjas’ final report, delivered to the Arizona Senate two weeks ago, found no “substantial differences” in the vote counts for president and U.S. Senate compared with Maricopa County’s official results from November 2020. The report raised questions about the county’s election process, suggesting there might be valid answers to those concerns but said it lacked the evidence to prove fraud.

Biggs said he can’t state who won the presidential election in Arizona because there are too many “anomalies” that have not been answered. And, he added, the audit didn’t clear the air.

“I think there’s legitimate concerns; I’m not sure the audit revealed those,” Biggs said.

“But I can tell you what, both sides are further entrenched today than they were six, eight months ago in Arizona,” he said. “And that’s, that’s a shame. I don’t know how we’re going to resolve that.”

Over the past 11 months, and multiple election reviews, no solid evidence has emerged to show anything different than what the official results produced: that Joe Biden won the presidential vote in Maricopa County and Arizona overall.

The sentiment was laced throughout the comments of other panelists, who told committee members that the drive for election audits in states such as Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Texas will discourage people from trusting elections.

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