Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs condemned ongoing audit of ballots and voting machines in Maricopa, the largest county in the state, by the Republican-controlled state senate. While the scrutiny will not affect the presidential election, Hobbs said in an interview with CBSN on Friday that this is a “highly biased effort” that will undermine confidence in the election.
“We already know that there was no fraud in this election,” Hobbs said, noting that the state has already conducted several checks of ballots and cars, and there have been no cases of fraud in several lawsuits. “This is unprecedented and it is unreasonable to think that this will be the future of how we will conduct elections.”
President Joe Biden won Maricopa County, a longtime Republican stronghold, by 45,109 votes and won the state by 10,457 votes. But former President Donald Trump continued to propagandize the “big lie” that the election was stolen, a position apparently supported by state senators conducting this unnecessary scrutiny.
On the agenda, the state Senate received 2.1 million ballots and nearly 400 voting machines and handed them over to companies for review, including one whose CEO promoted debunked election fraud theories after the election. The Justice Department raised concerns about the scrutiny by sending a letter to Arizona Senate President Karen Fann warning of “potential non-compliance with federal laws,” including, but not limited to, whether ballots were “adequately protected”.
Hobbs criticized the audit procedures, stating that “there was definitely not adequate security in terms of both the storage of the ballots and the order in which they were stored.”
“It looks like the procedures are not up to par in terms of how you will conduct a post-election audit,” Hobbs said. “The procedures we see being followed undermine any outcome you might see.”
Election experts also raised concerns about how auditing can help advance conspiracy theories with unnecessary procedures, such as the use of ultraviolet light, measuring the thickness of ballots, examining folds, and examining the composition of the paper. Hobbs argued that the real purpose of the audit was “to advertise big lies and undermine the integrity of our elections.”
Hobbs, who openly criticized the audit, said she and her family had received threats and that she was under security guard.
“This rhetoric is intensifying and we have received various threats,” Hobbs said.