Arizona Audit Cost Trump Supporters Nearly $6 Million—Only To Assert Biden Won By Even More

An election audit of over 2 million Arizona ballots, which took more than five months to count and cost millions of dollars, has revealed disappointing results for President Donald Trump and his supporters. It concluded that he lost Arizona to President Joe Biden by a larger margin than the state's final vote count.

Cyber Ninjas contractor, hired by Arizona State Senate, transports ballots [+] from 2020 general election at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, May 1, 2021. Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images. Getty Images

The Key Facts

Cyber Ninjas, a company that was hired to audit the election, claimed Biden should be credited with 99 additional votes, while Trump's total was incorrectly exaggerated by 261 ballots. The audit also stated that Democratic Senator Mark Kelly beat Republican incumbent Martha McSally in the race. McSally's vote total was overcounted 541 times and Kelly was overcounted 60 times. Cyber Ninjas, which is a cybersecurity company with no experience in elections, confirmed the numbers of a draft report published by Arizona Mirror on Thursday night. The long-certified election results were not altered by the audit. According to the official count, Biden won Arizona by slightly more than 10,000 votes.

Important Quote

Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan said that the ballots used to count in Coliseum were very accurate and correlated with the canvas numbers. He also stated that the audits results were within the expected margins of error. Logan promoted a conspiracy theory that Hugo Chavez, a long-dead Venezuelan dictator, rigged Trump's election machines.

Important Background

The results of the 2020 presidential elections have been officially certified in Arizona. However, Republicans in Arizona approved a recount of more 2 million Maricopa County votes. This was in response to President Donald Trump's false claims of widespread fraud that cost him the election. The recount began on April 23 and was originally scheduled to last for two weeks. The tedious task of reviewing all ballots from Arizona's largest county combined with bizarre conspiracy theories like checking ballots for bamboo to make sure they were not shipped in from Asia made the process take months. It was even forced to stop at one point because the location used for the recount had been rented for high school graduations. The legality and legitimacy of the audit were questioned throughout the process. State Democrats filed a lawsuit to stop it. In July, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which is composed of congressional Democrats, announced a probe.

Surprising Fact

The audit only examined ballots in Maricopa County (which includes Phoenix and its sprawling suburbs) and did not review votes cast in the U.S. Senate race and presidential election. Both of these contests were won by Democrats.

Big Number

$5.7 million Cyber Ninjas discovered that Trump-supporting groups had spent that amount to pay for the audit in July. This included organizations headed by Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn and One America News Network personalities. Cyber Ninjas were paid $150,000 by the Arizona Senate to perform the audit. This is not nearly enough to cover the cost of the entire effort.

What to Watch

Similar audits have been authorized by Republican-controlled legislatures in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The Texas secretary of State's office announced that it will also conduct a "full-forensic audit" in four counties. After Trump wrote a letter to the governor, Trump made the announcement. Greg Abbott (R), who requested an audit despite the fact that he won the state by six percentage points.

Continue reading

These Trump-Backing Groups Largely Finance the Arizona Audit (Forbes).

House Committee launches probe into Arizona Election Audit (Forbes).

Trump Asks for an Election Audit in TexasWhich He Won? (Forbes).

Arizona's Presidential Election Recount (Yes That One) Back on After Democrats Refuse to Pay $1 Million (Forbes).

Arizona's Bizarre Election Audit: Ballots are being checked for bamboo and the election chief has been assigned protection (Forbes).