PHOENIX — On Tuesday, the team leading the audit of Maricopa County’s 2020 election results was praised by Senate Republican leaders.
“I just want to commend the contractors,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Warren Petersen said. "In spite of intense opposition and the intense efforts to shut this down.”
A day later, the audit received a different appraisal from election experts monitoring the audit on behalf of the Arizona Secretary of State.
“It’s really hard to get your head around how bizarre that is to see ballots spinning around on brightly colored tables and people expected to see the results of two separate races,” said Jennifer Morrell, co-founder of The Elections Group.
The Secretary of State’s observers said what they are witnessing on the floor of Veterans Memorial Coliseum is at times bizarre, incompetent, and always changing.
“I heard the counters saying those that had been there the longest are the ones making the most mistakes because the procedures are changing every single day. So the new people just see it as procedures they’re being taught. But those that have been there a long time are hearing something different every single day,” said election machines expert Ryan Macias, a former elections assistance commissioner.
The observers have never expressed confidence in the abilities of the companies hired by the state Senate to do the audit.
But as their level of distrust increases, there is apparently very little Secretary of State Katie Hobbs can do.
“We’re continuing to explore the legal options we have. But I think the ability to shut this down in court is limited,” Hobbs said.
Instead, she sees the audit as a fundraising stunt by Republicans to raise money and challenge election results in other states.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Senator Petersen disagreed with that statement.
“When the next forensic audit is done, it will be a completely smooth process," Petersen said.