Poll: Arizona voters don’t trust the Senate’s election audit




Arizona election audit
A volunteer observer (right, dressed in orange) watches as Maricopa County ballots from the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors hired by the Arizona senate at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Ariz. on April 27, 2021. Photo by Rob Schumacher | Arizona Republic/pool

A poll of Arizona voters finds that more than half don’t trust the Arizona Senate’s audit of Maricopa County’s election, and almost half of voters say they’re less likely to vote for a senator who backed the audit.

The poll of 600 registered voters was conducted by the Mellman Group and commissioned by States United Action, a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization focused on election issues. The voters were contacted by landline, cell phone and text-to-online from May 22-27. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.0%.

The poll found 56% of those who were informed about the audit felt that it could not be trusted, while those who had not heard much at all were unsure. But the more people learned about the audit, pollsters found, the less likely they were to trust it. 

The audit has been beset with controversy even before it began. Senate Republicans, led by Senate President Karen Fann, initially tried to hire a team of pro-Trump auditors that had spread debunked conspiracy theories and attempted to overturn the election, but cancelled those plans after the Arizona Mirror reported on them.

Fann and the Senate then hired an unknown company with no experience in auditing or elections administration named Cyber Ninjas to run the audit. That company is led by Doug Logan, a Trump supporter who spread baseless election fraud allegations online and later wrote a paper for Republican U.S. senators who sought to invalidate Joe Biden’s victory. Another company hired to recount all 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County in November was also tied to pro-Trump efforts to overturn the election.

And the auditors have indulged other conspiracy theories about the election and sought to find evidence that ballots were forged or that they have bamboo fibers, indicating they are from China and thus fraudulent.

Elections experts who have observed the audit have raised numerous concerns about the process and security of the ballots and elections equipment. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has said that Maricopa County will have to purchase new equipment for future elections, as the state will no longer certify the machines that were turned over to the unaccredited companies the Senate hired.

The poll also found that 49% said they were less likely to vote for a state senator who supported the audit. (All 16 Republican senators are in support of the audit.) Only 31% said they were more likely to vote for a senator, and 20% were unsure. 

The poll was nearly split among Democrats and Republicans with Republican voters making up 43% and Democrats 42% of those polled. Independents made up the rest. 

A majority of the respondents — 55% in all — said they believed that President Joe Biden won the election, while 37% said the election was fraudulent. 

Republican trust in elections has continued to dwindle since the November election while the overwhelming majority of Democrats believe the election was free and fair. Other polls have also shown that more than half of Republicans believe that Trump is the “true” United States President. Some experts have concerns that the results could have long-lasting impacts.