Arizona's 2022 midterm election dominated screens for months, locally and nationally.
You couldn’t turn on a football game without sitting through a raft of political commercials, each seemingly more belligerent and misleading than the last. TV, social media, podcasts, newspaper websites, parody websites, late-night monologues — Arizona seemed to be everywhere, all the time, with much of the coverage centered on the head-spinning fact that Republicans were running a slate of election deniers for the state’s top offices.
'SNL' flays Kari Lake: 'Just a regular hometown gal … lit like a ’90s Cinemax soft-core'
It was a lot.
Which is why it’s kind of ironic that a short, glitchy little YouTube video on Monday was more important than any of the rest of it.
That video was a live stream of the canvassing of Arizona's election, when officials put the state’s seal of approval on the results. It’s a routine step in the election process but, like everything else, has taken on greater importance in the face of baseless claims of fraud and cheating.
Now the election is official.
Video of Arizona's election certification looked like it was shot on an iPhone
And it was certified on video that at times looked like someone recording their kid’s Christmas pageant on an iPhone. Scheduled for 10 a.m., the canvass started late. A Zoom livestream had no sound for several minutes. I never got the Facebook Live coverage to work. I ended up watching on my phone on YouTube. Why not?
It was a low-rent-looking video with a DIY vibe to it. Somehow that seemed like a fitting conclusion — for now; the canvassing opens the door to lawsuits and recounts — to an election that was at times surreal, and always in the public eye.
Katie Hobbs, the Arizona secretary of state and governor-elect, spoke a few words before signing off on the election. So did outgoing Gov. Doug Ducey.
Mark Brnovich, the attorney general, also talked a bit, quoting from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address: “Those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.”
What he meant by that in this context is anyone’s guess; it was almost impossible to even make it out, given the poor sound quality. (If he had a microphone, it wasn’t working.)
Later, Brnovich released a statement distancing himself from the certification, so it probably wasn’t a ringing endorsement of the process.
Arizona dominated local and national midterm election coverage
Arizona really has dominated coverage of the 2022 midterm election. Lake, the Republican candidate for governor, showed up on Fox News and other farther-right outlets with increasing regularity as the campaign wore on. She’s continued to post videos and appear on podcasts and whatnot making baseless claims of election fraud.
Hobbs showed up on MSNBC quite a bit. Though, in keeping with her laissez-faire campaign style, she hasn’t blanketed social media like Lake has.
Then again, Hobbs won. She doesn’t need to.
This has been going on for a while. Kyung Lah of CNN held Lake’s feet to the fire on baseless claims back in October 2021. As the race heated up, coverage increased.
Which turned out to be a lot different from Brnovich’s appearance on “60 Minutes.” Scott Pelley, a correspondent for the show, was in Arizona to talk to Brnovich and to speak with Mark Finchem, the Republican who lost the race for attorney general, among other people. His interview with Finchem included the single best statement in all the coverage, summing everything up.
“You called Arizona the epicenter of fraud — it’s scaremongering,” Pelley said to Finchem's face. “It’s not the fraud that is breaking people’s faith in our elections, it’s people like you.”
“Saturday Night Live” went after Lake twice. Cecily Strong’s impression of Lake was spot-on down the soft-focus filter Lake uses, and well-received. Of course, it suffered from the same problem all of the election-denier fodder does: It’s difficult to parody something that is so absurd to begin with.
Which is why Monday’s canvass was a welcome change. It was about as low-tech as it gets, certainly more so than anything else we’ve seen during the election. And more crucial to democracy than any of it.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Glitchy video of Arizona's election canvass was a fitting end