PHOENIX (AP) — Ten months after Donald Trump lost his 2020 reelection bid in Arizona, supporters hired by Arizona Senate Republicans were preparing to deliver the results of an unprecedented partisan election review that is the climax of a bizarre quest to find evidence supporting the former president’s false claim that he lost because of fraud.
A document purported to be a leaked draft of the Cyber Ninjas report circulated late Thursday. It said a hand count of ballots confirmed Biden‘s victory and showed a net gain of 360 votes for him. It also outlined a series of alleged shortcomings and recommended changes to state election laws.
Republican Senate President Karen Fann said in a text message the document was “a leaked draft from three days ago,” but did not dispute its authenticity. She would not say if the findings from the draft had changed over the course of the week, citing a nondisclosure agreement.
“I have signed an NDA,” she said. “I will not break my word.”
The hand count’s confirmation of a Biden victory goes against Trump‘s narrative that widespread election fraud cost him the election. It also undercuts claims by some of his closest allies that vote-counting machines from Dominion Voting Systems, which were used in Maricopa County, changed votes.
“Unfortunately, the report is also littered with errors & faulty conclusions about how Maricopa County conducted the 2020 General Election,” Maricopa County officials said on Twitter.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, controlled 4-1 by Republicans, has vehemently defended the vote count. Republican Chairman Jack Sellers has called the review “a grift disguised as an audit.” GOP Supervisor Bill Gates said Thursday that the review’s reliance on funding from out-of-state Trump allies means the findings won’t be believable.
“The people who are funding this audit, the people who have called for this audit, we all know what they want it to find,” Gates said. “They want it to find that Donald Trump won Maricopa County.”
Nearly every allegation made by the review team so far has crumbled under scrutiny. Election officials in Arizona and around the country expect more of the same Friday from the review team they say is biased, incompetent and chasing absurd or disproven conspiracy theories.
“Every time Trump and his supporters have been given a forum to prove this case, they have swung and missed,” said Ben Ginsberg, a longtime Republican election attorney and vocal critic of Trump’s push to overturn the election.
No matter what the reviews in Arizona and elsewhere purport to find, they cannot reverse Biden‘s victory.
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