An ongoing election audit in Maricopa County, Arizona, has faced widespread backlash from Democrats across the state and beyond, resulting in lawsuits and even reports of death threats against the Republicans heading up the effort to review the results of November’s presidential election.
Now, auditors are facing a new obstacle as their deadline looms with local high school graduation ceremonies set to take place in the same location.
Background on the audit
While most Democrats and many in the GOP contend that President Joe Biden won the election fair and square, a number of Republicans remain unconvinced. The Arizona audit was billed as a way to follow the evidence and settle the issue once and for all in the state’s most populous county.
Of course, it is clear that opponents of the cause do not want the review to play out in its entirety — and detractors have pursued a variety of strategies to undermine it.
In the latest blow to those behind the effort, reports indicate they will be forced to vacate the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix ahead of upcoming graduation ceremonies.
That news comes on the heels of various accusations and theories being perpetuated by opponents of the process, including claims that ballots had been left unattended in the unlocked complex.
For their part, auditors say they cannot access passwords needed to complete the probe because officials say it would jeopardize classified law enforcement data and equipment.
“We do elections well in Arizona”
Sheriff Paul Penzone weighed in on the matter, insisting: “The Senate Republican Caucus’ audit of the Maricopa County votes from last November’s election has no stopping point. Now, its most recent demands jeopardize the entire mission of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.”
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey appeared to express confidence in the validity of the election results, arguing: “We do elections well in Arizona. The system is strong, and that is why I bragged about it so much.”
In any case, it seems clear that tensions between the two sides are likely to remain escalated for the foreseeable future. Former President Donald Trump, who has long argued that voter fraud contributed to his electoral defeat, waded into the Arizona debate with a statement last month.
“The people of Arizona are very angry, as are the people of our Country,” he claimed. “If we can’t have free and fair elections, we don’t have a Country.”
Biden secured the state’s electoral votes after winning the race by a margin of more than 10,000 votes. That number was small enough for a recount that upheld his victory, but even after a full audit, many in the state are likely to remain skeptical that the results were accurate.