A press conference Monday to denounce the planned state Senate audit of the 2020 election because it is driven by and will further feed conspiracy theories about the election was interrupted by a small group of pro-Trump protesters shouting conspiracy theories about the election.
“This audit is a dangerous fishing expedition that could harm the sanctity of the secret ballot,” Sen. Kirsten Engel, D-Tucson, said at the press conference organized by Senate Democrats, while a protester a few dozen feet away yelled “treason” at her.
As Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, the lone Democrat on the five-person board, spoke about the county’s audits — which found no evidence of fraud or problems with vote-counting machines — the half-dozen protesters became louder, shouting that Gallardo was a liar and that the audits were “fake” and that they used “fake ballots.”
“You lost the election — deal with it,” Gallardo responded. A protester shot back, “No we didn’t!”
Maricopa County has conducted two audits of its voting equipment, both of which found no evidence of tampering or fraud. A legally required hand-count of ballots cast on Election Day and by early ballot found 100% accuracy, and Maricopa County’s machines passed logic and accuracy testing.
As the Senate Democrats continued to try to hold their press conference, the group continued to disrupt, deriding them as “globalists” and telling them to watch MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s debunked conspiracy-riddled film Absolute Proof.
One protester also claimed that none of the election lawsuits were thrown out, when in fact more than 50 lawsuits that have been filed since the election have been thrown out.
“Now they want to get an army of folks who are going to carry those flags to hand count your ballots,” Gallardo said, pointing to one of the protesters carrying a large Gadsen flag.
Senate President Karen Fann said last week that she wants a bipartisan group of volunteers to conduct a hand count of all 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County in the 2020 election. It’s unclear whether that recount would be just the presidential vote or if it would include all of the other various contests on the ballot.
Fann had previously planned to hire Allied Security Operations Group, a pro-Trump firm that has repeatedly spread disinformation and bogus claims about the 2020 election, to participate in the audit. A scope of work her attorneys drafted for the company called for it to hand count about 550,000 ballots. She told the pro-Trump, conspiracy theorist One America News Network that she planned to obtain new machines to use for a recount of the ballots.
When Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix, mentioned that Arizona leads the nation in proposals to suppress votes, the protesters called him a “liar” and then said voter ID is needed. Arizona already has voter ID laws in place.
The protesters also claimed to have a list of “proof,” such as dead people voting and evidence from Lindell’s film, all of which have been widely debunked.
“You guys are traitors! Treason!” the protestors yelled at the end of the press conference. The Democrats did not take questions and instead left hurriedly as a counterprotester appeared and began arguing loudly with the protesters.