Ultimately, the Republican-backed "audit" of ballots in Maricopa County, Arizona fizzled out with no evidence of election fraud — indeed, the final report actually found more votes for President Joe Biden than county officials themselves.
But in some right-wing corners of the internet, the report is being hailed as proof of former President Donald Trump's "Big Lie" — to the point that Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, himself a Trump supporter, was forced to step in and say that the report circulating on right-wing sites purporting to be the audit results is actually a hoax.
"A doctored version of Cyber Ninjas' draft report on the 2020 election contains false information, according to CEO Doug Logan," reported Jen Fifield and Ryan Randazzo for The Arizona Republic. "Logan, who led the ballot review for Arizona Senate Republicans, says he never recommended that Maricopa County's 2020 election be decertified, which is included in an edited version of Logan's report posted on far-right media outlet The Gateway Pundit. The edited version claims that '57,734 ballots with serious issues were identified in the audit' and, therefore, 'the election should not be certified, and the reported results are not reliable.'"
Logan clarified that this passage "is not one I ever wrote, nor was it ever part of our drafts reviewed with the Senate," and suggestions on right-wing websites that this was in the original report but watered down after threats from the state government are "absolutely false."
The Gateway Pundit is a right-wing conspiracy theory website run by Jim Hoft, a blogger that liberal media watchdog group Media Matters has nicknamed "the dumbest man on the internet."
Some other Arizona Republicans have refused to accept that their own ballot review, after months of pursuing conspiracy theories, could not find fraud. State Sen. Sonny Borrelli said on Steve Bannon's show that claims the audit shows Biden won are "psychological warfare" and the election must be "nullified." Rep. Mark Finchem, who traveled to D.C. the day of the Capitol attack, claimed the report was "vindication." And state GOP chairwoman Kelli Ward has claimed a full audit of the entire state is now required.