While the partisan “audit” in Maricopa County, Ariz., finished its recount of the ballots late last week, spokesman Ken Bennett said that the “findings” would likely not be released until August.
Of course, it is already clear that those “findings” will be dubious at best, given the operation’s partisan origins, its reliance on outlandish conspiracy theories, its alarming lack of transparency, and the inexperienced and biased contractors running it.
And there’s plenty we already know about the consequences of the sham process, from the damage it is inflicting on trust in our elections — and the similar efforts it has inspired in other states — to the actual (and expensive) security issues it has introduced in Maricopa County:
- This week, the county’s Republican-controlled board of supervisors said that they would stop using the voting machines that had been turned over to the uncertified contractors, agreeing with Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ decision not to re-certify the equipment per the advice of the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
- “The suggestion that we can now run a few Logic & Accuracy tests and call equipment good is wildly naïve but not surprising,” wrote board chair Jack Sellers in a statement that also criticized the “audit” for its opaque operations and the potentially mercenary ambitions of those involved.
We also already know that the furtherance of the “big lie” has led to a frightening deluge of threats against election officials:
- One in three officials now feels unsafe because of their job, according to a new survey commissioned by the Brennan Center for Justice.
- Experts worry about a wave of retirements and resignations from capable election workers who have had to contend with the past year of conspiracy-fueled death threats amid a pandemic.
- Meanwhile, participants in a recent conspiracy film (which also featured Doug Logan, the CEO of the firm Cyber Ninjas) have said that their baseless voter-fraud allegations require “drastic” action. A commentator on the right-wing One America News Network, which has been a cheerleader for the “audit,” even called for executing those “responsible for overthrowing the election.”
And of course, as we write each week, we also know that by furthering lies about voter fraud, these election “investigations” and “audits” provide pretext for voting restrictions and other harmful measures.
- Last Thursday, the Arizona State Legislature voted to revoke Hobbs’ authority in election lawsuits, instead giving that power to Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich (but only until the next election for those offices, in 2023).
- And this Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld two Arizona voting restrictions that disproportionately affect voters of color.
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, even Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’s decision to hire three former police officers to conduct the state’s own needless and harmful investigation of the 2020 election wasn’t enough to satisfy former President Trump, who issued a statement last week attacking the state’s Republican leaders for “working hard to cover up election corruption.”
- Vos announced over the weekend that the lawyer overseeing the investigation would be Michael Gableman, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice who suggested in November that the election had been “stolen” from Trump.
Also this week: On Wednesday, the House voted to create a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. There are still a number of unknowns about the riot, from what was happening at the White House at the time of the attack and the reason for the delay in deploying National Guard troops to the failures of intelligence and law enforcement leading up to it. We have a number of outstanding record requests and litigation to fill in a lot of the gaps in our understanding of that day — read about our open questions here.
On the Records
Early Covid-19 Testing Struggles in Florida
We continue to obtain records that shed light on the confusion and struggles of the early months of the pandemic, including regarding the country’s dire shortage of testing supplies in the spring of 2020. Emails released to us by the Florida Department of Emergency Management show messages exchanged between state and federal officials regarding the shortage of swabs as well as about federal testing guidance.
New York State’s Pandemic Response
We asked the New York governor’s office for any directives it issued regarding the prevention and treatment of Covid-19 within correctional facilities, as well as any assessments regarding risks and availability of medical equipment. The office told us that it had no such records — a response that is either implausible or alarming.
Other Stories We’re Following
The Coronavirus Pandemic
- U.S. medical stockpile running low as Delta variant threat looms (Politico)
- Thousands of inmates sent home because of Covid may have to return to prison (New York Times)
- L.A. County urges everyone to wear masks indoors as Delta variant spreads (Los Angeles Times)
- Public health officials struggle to persuade the hesitant to be vaccinated (Washington Post)
- Why young adults are among the biggest barriers to mass immunity (New York Times)
- This company got a $10 million PPP loan, then closed its plant and moved manufacturing jobs to Mexico (ProPublica)
- Inside the Biden administration’s scramble to share vaccine with the world (New York Times)
Trump Administration Accountability
- Trump aides prepared insurrection act order during debate over protests (New York Times)
EPA watchdog says Trump appointees kept fired employees on payroll (Politico)
- The Department of Yes: How pesticide companies corrupted the EPA and poisoned America (Intercept)
- The land was worth millions. A Big Ag corporation sold it to Sonny Perdue’s company for $250,000. (Washington Post)
- Trump Organization CFO expected in court after indictment (Politico)
- Online activism is spilling into the streets of Southern California, sparking a post-Trump movement (Washington Post)
Jan. 6 Capitol Attack
- House votes to create select committee to investigate January 6 insurrection (CNN)
- Inside the Capitol riot: An exclusive video investigation (New York Times)
- New details suggest senior Trump aides knew Jan. 6 rally could get chaotic (ProPublica)
- Pennsylvania Republicans look to evade a veto and enact voter ID by ballot measure (NPR)
- The Justice Department is suing Georgia over its voter suppression law (Mother Jones)