Article from 97.1 FM Talk
The famed and feared Maricopa County audit results are due to be presented to the AZ Senate soon, and the public shortly thereafter. So here’s a short list of the usual litany of complaints you’ll hear about this audit, with easily digestible answers for all your friends who only read USA Today and have not been closely following this audit at all:
1. This is a partisan audit only done by Republicans, so it can’t be trusted.
What a shame Democrats weren’t allowed to participate in this audit. If they were, it would have been legitimate. Wait, they were invited? By Ken Bennett, who is the Senate liaison for the audit? Well, why did Democrats turn down being involved- at not just a minor level- but 50/50 in all the decision-making, including who to hire to do the cyber analysis and how to coordinate the paper ballot examination? Maybe they didn’t realize he was serious. Oh, he invited Arizona Democrat leadership multiple times, in the early stages of the set-up? Seems strange! Short answer:
Democrats knowingly turned down being involved in the audit so they could turn around and discredit the it to their friends in the media.
2. It was paid for by far-right wing groups.
One of the early complaints about doing this forensic audit was that it would cost too much- in the millions of dollars maybe. This complaint was coming from the party attempting to spend $3.5 trillion in congress right now. But Republicans responded to this criticism by choosing to take very little public (taxpayer) money for the audit. “That’ll end THAT criticism,” they thought. Nope, Turns out Democrats, who chose not to be involved in the process from the beginning, also didn’t want to open their pocketbooks to pay for it with their own money. Can’t blame them for that. But that leaves only Republicans to pay for it and creates another talking point. Short answer:
The audit leaders chose not to pay for it with taxpayer money, leaving private donors as the only means of funding.
3. Cyber Ninjas and other groups doing the audit have no forensic audit experience.
This is, in fact, true. Nobody has ever done a forensic audit, therefore nobody anywhere has any experience doing a forensic audit. All future audits will use this one’s successes and mishaps as a guide going forward. Additionally, no audit of this size and scope has ever been done in the history of America, so the undertaking is massive, and that’s why it’s taken so long. Short answer:
This scale of audit had never been attempted, so there was no precedent.
4. These people are not even certified auditors.
It would be terrific if someone could explain what, exactly, a certified auditor is. To date, the only certification is done by the companies themselves who own the machines. They certify their own workers, but there is no great commission of saints who gather in suits, or robes, and bestow “certified” upon an auditor. And you don’t want the tabulation companies certifying their own work, do you? Oh, you do. I see. Short answer:
Media outlets love to use the word “certified” but there is no grand bi-partisan commission to certify auditors.
5. Even Republicans on the Maricopa Board of Supervisors have resisted this audit.
Indeed they have! But they didn’t at first. Early on, they agreed that an audit would be a good idea. Then a whole bunch of out-of-state lawyers met with them, and suddenly, they thought an audit was a terrible idea. They began resisting everything the Senate did, and forced subpoenas on themselves, which they mostly ignored. They still have not turned over the routers requested by the audit. They had been friends with their colleagues in the AZ Senate up until this audit. What suddenly changed? If they were all cordial colleagues, then why would they risk their own jobs and reputations protecting information that should exonerate them? Short answer:
If you’re not complying with members your own party, then it would appear that you’re hiding something.
6. There have already been audits that proved nothing happened in Maricopa County, AZ.
You’re sure to hear this one. They like to show these results and say, “Everything’s fine, nothing to see here.” These previous audits have been very small, often called “spot audits” or sample audits. They take a sample size of ballots, say 5000, and assume they represent the entire population. So if they don’t find any problems with that sample, then the rest should all be fine too. The forensic audit is examining around 2,100,000 million votes. Very different thing. Also, this audit is doing far more than just recounting ballots. Short answer:
This audit is a much deeper examination of the 2020 election than has ever been done before. Small audits vs. this one is apples to oranges.
7. There were blue and black pens on the tables. They were looking for bamboo fibers in the papers. One of the insurrectionists was there counting. Etc.
How some of these things would impact the audit in any significant way is a mystery, but they get repeated anyway, as a way to make the average person dismissive of the process. The blue and black pens could have been used to mark fake votes during the counting, so they were removed. However, the entire recount on the floor of the Veterans Memorial Colosseum was live-streamed, every hour of every day, so there is a certain level of transparency purposefully done to combat these inevitable narratives. Short answer:
No matter how many times Al Gore says these things on CNN, they are a sideshow.
8. Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan pushed election conspiracy theories.
Is it better to have someone examining who’s skeptical of the results, or someone who thinks they’re fine already? That’s a question worthy of debate, and your political affiliation will color your answer in this instance. A better question might be: If Democrats had accepted the offer to be involved in the audit from the start, they could have had a hand in picking the cyber team. Why did they choose not to participate? If they were confident in their victory, wouldn’t they welcome the opportunity to show it? Just don’t ask the media to share what Doug Logan actually said. It’s incredibly difficult to find the source of this widely shared tidbit about him being a conspiracy theorist. The only possibility is that he was an anonymous on-screen interview in an election documentary called, “The Big Rig.” Short answer:
He did? Can you quote it? And also:
Then why didn’t Democrats participate so they could choose someone else?
We don’t know what this forensic audit will find. If it’s clean, or mostly clean, then watch for audits in other states begin to fall apart. This is the big one. Conversely, if coordinated election fraud is revealed, this will be one of the most consequential developments in American history: That a United States election was faked. At least in Arizona. Based on early numbers, State Senator Wendy Rogers is already calling for decertification of Arizona’s 11 electoral votes. Other states like Georgia and Wisconsin, possibly Pennsylvania and Michigan will follow suit with their own investigations, and then we shall see the beginning of woes. But it’s all necessary for the confidence of the ballot, and the voter casting it. Otherwise, this 240-year-old experiment in democracy will have ended before our eyes.
Ryan Wiggins is the host of Wiggins America on 97.1 in St. Louis, MO, and the author of The Life of Human, a tongue-in-cheek science fiction robot novel.