The Republican-backed review of the 2020 election in Arizona’s largest county, Maricopa, probably did not come out like former President Donald Trump wanted.
It didn’t claim he won the county. In fact, the review count actually increased President Joe Biden’s winning margin there by 360 votes.
But the review may still have accomplished some of its main goals.
Ostensibly, its goal was to assure that the election results were assessed fairly. But it also served to muddy the waters, and throw doubt on the state's electoral results overall.
The review report did this by raising issues of purported fraud. It claimed that thousands of votes were cast by people who’d moved from their registered address, or may have voted in multiple counties. It also alleged that many voters returned multiple ballots.
Mr. Trump seized on this to claim Friday that the review showed enough fraudulent or fake votes to overturn the election many times over.
But the report didn’t say that. It was careful to note there may be legal explanations for these questioned votes. The issue needed further examination, it said.
One big problem here is that Cyber Ninjas, the firm hired to run the examination, had no idea what it was doing, according to some election experts. Given its questionable methods, there’s no reason to believe any of the results – despite Arizona providing almost all the documentation the firm asked for.
“It puts into context the falsity of Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ [of a stolen election],” said Ben Ginsberg, an election lawyer who has worked for Republicans, in a meeting with reporters. “If Trump and his supporters can’t prove it here, they can’t prove it anywhere.”