PHOENIX — The Arizona presidential election audit made it all the way to Capitol Hill on Thursday. And just like in Phoenix, disputed claims of who won, managed to make it into the testimony.
Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs, who is a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, defended the audit. During an early exchange with Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin, a Democrat, Biggs was asked who won Arizona. Before Raskin could finish his question, Biggs replied, “We don’t know it demonstrates very clearly Mr. Raskin there are a lot of other issues with this election that took place.”
Later, Maricopa County Board Chairman Jack Sellers told the committee Maricopa County conducted a fair and secure election.
“It was not a flawed election, not a lack of security,” Sellers said, “It was a candidate that many Maricopa County Republicans simply did not support.”
Vice-Chairman Bill Gates said the issue before the committee is the future of free and fair elections. Gates criticized state Republican leaders who he said, “fanned the flames of conspiracy and this has led to the first nonpeaceful transfer of power in our nation’s history.”
Gates also took aim at the Cyber Ninjas, the company hired to do the audit by State Senate President Karen Fann. Gates said the Ninjas are incompetent.
“The Cyber Ninjas, they changed the policies and procedures. They chased conspiracy theories. They threw out false claims and they accused our good election workers of committing crimes,” Gates testified.
Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan refused to testify. So former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who served as the State Senate’s liaison to the audit, defended it. Bennett said the methods used were reliable and accurate, the proof he said was in the final result.
“The most significant finding of the audit is the hand count ballots very closely matched the county officials results in the President U.S. Senate races. Now that finding is frustrating to many who expected the audit to prove a different election result,” Bennett said.
Democrats raised issues about who paid for the audit worried about dark money influence on future attempts to audit elections. Most Republicans on the committee complained Arizona’s audit was the state’s business and not something the committee should investigate. Many of them deferred their time to Biggs, who concluded, “no election is ever perfect. But in my mind, we’ve not resolved the issues that took place at this time.”
Some of the issues may be resolved soon. At the request of Senate President Fann, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is investigating to see if the county broke any election laws. Former Congressman John Shadigg was chosen by both the County Board and the State Senate to serve as a Special Master. His task is to answer questions the auditors have about the county’s elections machines and their ability to connect to the internet.