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Editor’s Thought Bubble: Republicans will keep moving the election audit goalposts

By: - January 22, 2021 9:00 am

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Wednesday was a messaging tug-of-war between the state Senate and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors over those legislative subpoenas aimed to auditing the county’s November election, but a couple things seem clear to me. Talks are ongoing between the Senate and the county’s attorneys, and I suspect a deal is likely imminent that would see the county provide the materials the Senate is seeking. The county caved in the face of a contempt vote on the Senate floor that was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. Then the Senate jumped the gun on its announcement, but it wasn’t an accident: The early announcement, along with publishing the 10 points of agreement, serves to box in the county and limit their negotiating power. And the county’s protestations that there isn’t really a deal requires us to parse their words carefully. There *isn’t* technically a deal since the board of supervisors hasn’t met to vote on a deal.

All of that is my intuition, of course. But there’s one thing I’m absolutely certain about: Whatever audit is ultimately conducted, whether it’s done by the Legislature or the county, won’t make a damn bit of difference to people who believe the election was “stolen” from Trump. The goalposts will move again. The reason GOP elected officials are pushing these subpoenas and demanding an audit isn’t (in most cases) because they believe the Big Lie, but because they know that telling the truth is politically damaging because Republicans have succeeded in convincing their voters that there are no honest elections won by Democrats.

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Jim Small
Jim Small

Jim Small is a native Arizonan and has covered state government, policy and politics since 2004, with a focus on investigative and in-depth policy reporting, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications, the Yellow Sheet Report and Arizona Legislative Report. Under his guidance, the Capitol Times won numerous state, regional and national awards for its accountability journalism and probing investigations into state government operations.

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