Utah GOP lawmaker who travelled to Arizona vote recount wants similar election audit in his state

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A volunteer hand recounts votes in Maricopa County, Arizona  (AP)
A volunteer hand recounts votes in Maricopa County, Arizona (AP)

A Utah Republican lawmaker travelled to Arizona to observe a county vote recount from the presidential election, and now the legislator has said he wants a similar audit in his own state.

Representative Steve Christiansen travelled to the state last week to observe the full hand recount of the vote in Maricopa County, which Joe Biden won over Donald Trump by just 10,477 votes.

Following the excursion, Mr Christiansen said he would want a similar vote audit to take place in Utah.

“I would love to see an audit conducted in Utah, especially Salt Lake County, that mirrors this audit right here,” he told far-right news network One America News during the visit.

But whether that would actually happen in Utah remained unknown given the state doesn’t use the voting system Dominion, which has faced the most scrutiny from people who falsely claim the election was stolen.

“This is all based on a preliminary investigation,” Mr Christiansen told The Salt Lake Tribune. “There are rumors out there that there may be issues with that equipment, but I’m not sure that’s been proven one way or the other.”

The Arizona audit last week drew several Republican legislators from across the nation – such as lawmakers from Georgia, Michigan, Washington, and Oklahoma.

“They just want to see the audit and see what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, what procedures we’re using. They want to understand it, what the process is,” said Rand Pullen, a former Arizona Republican Party chairman acting as a spokesperson for the audit, The Hill reports. “Everybody who’s seen the process has been pretty surprised about how totally secure it is.”

The audit, which was backed by state Republicans, involved a private firm coming into the state to host the hand recount of all votes from Maricopa County.

Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based cyber security company, has never conducted an election audit before. Yet it was hired to conduct the new audit in Arizona, which has sparked backlash from Democratic lawmakers and several Republican lawmakers.

State Senator Paul Boyer, who initially backed the audit, has since expressed concern about the partisan nature of the audit and the disinformation it could cause.

“By definition, an auditor is independent. And they’re not independent,” Mr Boyer previously told The Hill. “It makes me embarrassed to be a state senator at this point.”

Mr Trump, who has baselessly claimed the election was stolen, expressed support for the Arizona audit and pushed for something similar to take place in Pennsylvania – another battleground state that the former president lost to Mr Biden.

“The people of Pennsylvania and America deserve to know the truth. If the Pennsylvania Senate leadership doesn’t act, there is no way they will ever get re-elected!” Mr Trump wrote.

President Joe Biden won the state by more than 70,000 votes in 2020, and the Trump campaign has since failed to prove any election fraud took place in the state.

The result of the Arizona audit was unlikely to overturn the state’s results in favour of Mr Trump given the margin Mr Biden won the state.

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