Steven Rosenfeld for TNR:
Using public election records to debunk stolen election lies and confront propagandists is not a “fool’s game,” as a New York Times editorial board member recently opined—arguing that “the professional vote-fraud crusaders are not in the fact business.” The template of debunking and confronting election-theft lies is the largely untold story of what happened in Arizona in 2021, where Trumpers ultimately were forced to admit that Biden won, a process I witnessed.
Trump’s agents were plotting to fabricate a favorable vote count. But they were stymied by their vast inexperience in elections. As important, they were boxed in at key junctures by three retired election technologists who used public records to hold them accountable. The trio warned the pro-Trump contractors and their legislative sponsors that their “audit” was being watched, repeatedly reported why it was a propaganda-filled hoax, and gradually won local and national press coverage.
Most strikingly, it was the technologists—not Arizona’s Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, nor Democratic Party lawyers, experts in policy circles and academia, or journalists—who showed that tens of thousands of loyal Republican voters from Phoenix’s suburbs did not vote for Trump. That pattern alone, based on hard data, confirmed his loss in Arizona.
The retirees did more. They rebutted the lie from Trump’s noisemakers that tens of thousands of dead people and made-up people voted, by pairing every ballot cast with a legal voter. They showed that there was no collusion to alter vote counts when local election officials reviewed sloppily marked ballots to determine a voter’s intent, again using public data that tracked the officials’ actions.
And months after Arizona Senate Republicans hired the Cyber Ninjas, a data security firm led by a Trump cultist with no experience in elections, to oversee its 2020 election review in Maricopa County (greater Phoenix), the retirees boxed the Ninjas into revealing that they could not accurately recount votes—again using public records. That strategy culminated last September, when Cyber Ninja CEO Doug Logan testified that Biden had won Arizona, after all.