Breaking down the 2020 election challenges still underway

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·6 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

While President Joe Biden secured a victory in the 2020 race more than nine months ago, some efforts to review how the election was handled are still underway.

The ongoing or proposed reviews come against the backdrop of several GOP states pursuing changes to their election laws that Republicans say are necessary to restore trust in elections.

However, Democrats say the basis of both the reviews and the voting reforms is a lie told by former President Donald Trump about the election being stolen — a claim with no evidence.

Here is where 2020 election reviews stand now.

ARIZONA AUDIT

A sweeping review of ballots and machinery used in Maricopa County, Arizona, has dragged on for months with no end in sight.

The partisan audit began when the GOP-controlled state Senate pursued a countywide recount and review of election machinery — even though Maricopa’s results were already reviewed immediately after the 2020 election. Officials conducted a hand recount of a statistically significant ballot sample at that time and found no issues.

Among the many reasons critics have slammed the Maricopa audit is the Republicans’ choice of contractor. Cyber Ninjas, the company tapped by the state Senate to handle much of the audit, is led by a CEO who has previously echoed debunked claims of widespread election fraud from Trump.

The company also has no prior experience with election audits. House Democrats last week launched an investigation into Cyber Ninjas’s role in the review.

In late June, auditors finished a recount and manual inspection of the roughly 2.1 million ballots cast in the county.

But the results remain secret, as auditors are currently pursuing more avenues for inspection before releasing all their findings in a planned report.

The Republican state Senate also subpoenaed machines used in the election for further inspection, prompting the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to set aside $2.8 million to replace the equipment. Arizona’s secretary of state warned that after Cyber Ninjas was granted access to the equipment, the machines would no longer be approved for use in future elections out of concern the integrity of the equipment could be compromised by the company.

Despite months of review, Arizona Senate Republicans indicated they would pursue even more information from the county in a hearing last week.

The Republicans suggested they will seek to subpoena a bevy of new materials, including a backup copy of the voter database and a record of changes to voter rolls leading up to 2020.

The auditors shelved a plan in May to gather information about how Arizonans voted by going door to door after the Justice Department warned in a letter the practice could be considered voter intimidation.

Auditors brought up the idea of canvassing again in last week’s hearing, during which county officials signaled they plan to file a lawsuit challenging the final report when the Republicans release it.

Regardless of whatever Republicans find, Arizona has already certified its election results, and there is no mechanism for changing them. President Joe Biden won the state by more than 10,000 votes, and his margin in Maricopa County was even larger.

Biden beat Trump by more than 45,000 votes.

FULTON COUNTY INVESTIGATION

The Georgia secretary of state’s office opened an investigation last month into how Fulton County handled ballot box transfer documents in the wake of the 2020 election.

Secretary Brad Raffensperger opened the inquiry based on comments from a Fulton County election official to a local paper, the Georgia Star News, in which the official acknowledged some of the transfer documents appeared to have been misplaced.

According to rules put in place for ballot drop boxes, which Georgia used in 2020 for the first time, election officials were to collect ballots from the drop boxes at least once every 72 hours for the first part of the early voting period, and at least once every 24 hours for the final two weeks of early voting before Election Day.

Each time they collected ballots, election officials were required to record “the date, time, location and number of ballots” on a ballot transfer form, according to the State Election Board.

The investigation remains open.

Georgia Star News initially claimed Fulton County failed to provide 385 ballot transfer forms in response to a public records request.

But a recent report from Georgia Public Broadcasting suggests the actual number of missing transfer forms is much smaller. Fulton County officials told GPB they located nearly all the documents and sent them to state investigators, although they acknowledged they still could not find eight of the forms.

Fulton County has a long history of problems in election administration.

In one recent example, digital scans of absentee ballots revealed nearly 200 ballots were double-counted in Fulton County in the 2020 election.

The problems have prompted Raffensperger to call for the removal of two high-ranking county election officials. Georgia’s new voting reforms allow the State Election Board to make changes in counties where recurring issues have hampered election administration, although the law also diluted the secretary of state’s role on the board.

WINDHAM, NEW HAMPSHIRE AUDIT

Auditors in a New Hampshire town submitted their final report last week to state officials after reviewing irregularities in the vote count for the town of Windham.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu authorized the audit in mid-April because a recount of ballots for state legislative seats revealed some mistakes in the initial count.

When the results for the local races were unusually tight, one of the trailing candidates requested a recount. The effort added hundreds of votes to Republican candidates while subtracting roughly 100 votes from the Democratic candidate.

Auditors stressed they found no evidence of fraud in their review. Instead, they blamed errors that occurred when voting machines attempted to read folded paper ballots.

ANTRIM COUNTY, MICHIGAN CHALLENGE

Although an attorney in May dismissed a challenge to the election results in Antrim County, Michigan, lawyers involved in the case filed an appeal last week in a move that could bring the results back under scrutiny.

Antrim County attracted controversy immediately after the election because human error caused the county to misreport initial returns on election night.

Early results showed Biden leading, but officials later corrected the numbers to reflect a Trump victory in the county.

Reviews of what occurred in a state Senate committee report showed fraud did not contribute to the mistake.

POTENTIAL PENNSYLVANIA REVIEW

Pennsylvania Republicans are pushing for an audit of select counties in the Keystone State.

Republican State Sen. Doug Mastriano has led efforts to get the Legislature behind an audit. Mastriano sent letters earlier this month to three Pennsylvania counties requesting a range of materials, including computer logs and copies of their election results. Mastriano threatened a subpoena, although the state Legislature hasn’t opened an investigation.

Mastriano cited, among other issues, concerns with how Pennsylvania changed its election rules in the weeks leading up to the election.

Multiple Republicans — including Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, who challenged Pennsylvania’s results when the election was certified on Jan. 6 — have questioned the loosening of rules regarding mail-in voting for the 2020 election.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

But the Trump campaign’s aggressive challenge to the Pennsylvania results was already thrown out by courts, which found no basis to overturn results. Trump’s legal team attempted to take its Pennsylvania challenge to the Supreme Court, which rejected the effort.

There has been no evidence of fraud in Pennsylvania.

Washington Examiner Videos

Tags: News, Arizona, Georgia, 2020 Elections, Voting Machines , Vote Recounts

Original Author: Sarah Westwood

Original Location: Breaking down the 2020 election challenges still underway

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting