The controversial audit of Maricopa County votes in Arizona has been widely panned for lacking legitimacy, but former President Donald Trump is reportedly fixated on the political theater -- even though it may backfire on Republicans.
"More than five months after the 2020 presidential election, and after numerous failed attempts to overturn the results, former president Donald Trump has seized on a new avenue to try to call the outcome into question: a hand recount of 2.1 million ballots cast in Arizona's largest county. Several advisers said the former president has become fixated on the unorthodox process underway in Phoenix, where the GOP-led state Senate took ballots and voting equipment from Maricopa County and turned them over to Cyber Ninjas, a private contractor whose chief executive has echoed claims that the election was fraudulent but has now promised a fair review of the November results," The Washington Post reported Thursday.
"Ensconced at his private club in Florida, Trump quizzes aides for updates about the process multiple times a day, advisers said, expressing particular interest in the use of UV lights to scrutinize Maricopa's ballots — a method that has bewildered election experts, who say it could damage the votes," the newspaper reported. "Trump's embrace of the Arizona effort — which he and his allies claim will prove that the election was stolen — has come amid mounting anxiety among election officials that similar partisan vote counts could become the norm."
Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, warned of the damage Trump was causing.
"I'm very concerned this has ramifications for every state in the country," said Wyman. "This is politicizing an administrative process with no real structure or laws or rules in place to guide how it goes."
"Every time in the future the party in control loses, they will use some post-election administrative process to call it into question, and people will no longer have confidence that we have fair elections," she explained. "Right now, in the heat of the moment, this probably feels really good for a lot of people frustrated with the results. But it undermines confidence in fair elections, at a core foundational level. And it's going to be hard to recover from it."
Prominent Arizona GOP donor Dan Eberhart warns the issue is going to hurt Republicans.
"Election integrity is a losing issue. It doesn't help us get our voters out," Eberhart said. "This is a mistake issue and a red herring the Democrats want us to chase. I don't see a win there for us, but Trump keeps repeating the issue, and it resonates for some in the party."
Down in Florida, Trump is now fixated on the GOP-led audit of ballots in Arizona, asking for multiple updates a day… https://t.co/mvUd5dTKy2— Rosalind Helderman (@Rosalind Helderman) 1619720700.0