Despite some GOP lawmakers' false claims, officials from Arizona's so-called 'audit' acknowledge Biden's win
There was no significant 2020 election fraud in Arizona's Maricopa County, partisan election reviewers again acknowledged in testimony before Congress on Thursday.
The state Senate-ordered review of the county's presidential election published its findings in September, nearly 11 months after the election, and came to the same conclusion Maricopa County did: President Joe Biden won the county.
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"The most significant findings of the audit is that the hand count of the physical ballots very closely matches the county's official results in the presidential and U.S. Senate races," former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who served as the Senate's liaison with auditors, said in his testimony.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee had invited Doug Logan, the CEO of Cyber Ninjas, the cyber security group that conducted the review but had never managed an election audit before it was hired in Maricopa County. Logan himself had disputed the results of the election after it was certified by election officials and Congress in January, although he has since deleted the Twitter account where he posted them. He declined to appear in front of the committee to testify.
"I invited the CEO of Cyber Ninjas, Doug Logan, to testify to give him the opportunity to defend his company's actions to Congress and the American people. Unfortunately, less than 36 hours before the hearing, Mr. Logan informed the Committee that he is refusing to appear," committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said in a statement. "Clearly, Mr. Logan doesn't want to answer tough questions under oath about the highly questionable, partisan audit that his company led."
The review, which took over five months, was paid for largely through private fundraising groups that raked in upwards of $6 million in donations. One of the groups was run by Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of Overstock.com, who promoted baseless conspiracies about the election.
While the report concluded there was no significant difference between the vote totals from Maricopa County showing Biden had won and the results from the review, some Republicans in Arizona, including House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., still pushed back on the results.
Biggs continued to falsely insist during Thursday's hearing that "we don't know" if Biden won the 2020 election.
Former President Donald Trump has continued to say that the election was corrupt, despite the auditor's findings. At a rally in Georgia late last month after the release of the audit report, he still insisted that Biden lost in Arizona.
"Headlines claiming that Biden won are fake news and a very big lie," adding that the so-called forensic audit showed that Trump had won. "They had headlines that Biden wins in Arizona when they know it's not true. He didn't win in Arizona. He lost in Arizona."
Vote totals were certified across the country by bipartisan officials, and the more than 60 lawsuits brought by Trump and his allies to dispute the results of the election failed in the courtrooms, even those with Trump-appointed judges.
Two officials from Maricopa County's Board of Supervisors, both Republicans, also testified Thursday. Bill Gates and Jack Sellers both spoke out against the partisan review and did not entertain the notion that the election was stolen.
Maloney played a voice message left by former President Donald Trump's close ally Rudy Giuliani, who spent months pursuing conspiracy theories related to election fraud in some of the nation's battleground states.
Giuliani asked if there was a "way to resolve this so it comes out well for everyone. We are all Republicans, I think we all have the same goal."
"Let's see if we can get this done outside of the courts, gosh," he said.
Gates said he believed that was an attempt to interfere with election results.
"That voicemail was left at a time we were in litigation with the state Senate overturning over the ballots and the election machines. I think he was trying to get us to settle that lawsuit, so that they could very quickly get the ballots in advance of the January 6 certification of the electoral college," Gates said.
Neither Gates nor Sellers responded to pressures from Giuliani and other Trump allies, like one from Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward to "stop the counting."
The so-called audit has cost taxpayers at least $450,000, according to the Arizona Republic's review of the process' records. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs initially said that the county would need to create a new contract for its voting machines, since they were likely compromised. That was rescinded as a part of a deal the county struck with the state Senate in late September.
Audit officials and Republicans, including Trump, have alleged a number of violations were discovered in the partisan review. The county has debunked all of their claims and created a website to address the allegations made by the Cyber Ninjas.