Arizona Audit Result No Cause For Celebration

What if the audit of the 2020 presidential election results in Maricopa County, Arizona, ordered by the state Senate had not confirmed the certified results? Or go a step further: What if the contractors hired to do the work, Cyber Ninjas, had claimed to discover at least 10,458 missing votes for former President Donald Trump, enough to overcome President Biden’s November victory in the Grand Canyon State?

They did not, instead releasing a report that alleges Trump lost the county by 360 more votes than the official returns show. But let’s try the thought experiment: What if, after hauling around and manhandling more than 2 million ballots for counting by untrained volunteers—likely sympathetic to the cause—at a former NBA arena, the Cyber Ninjas came forward with claims of election fraud massive enough that it could have shifted the state’s 11 electoral votes to Trump?

In terms of making Trump president, of course, it would mean nothing. Leaving aside the fact that Trump would still have lost his re-election even with Arizona in his column, there’s no legal or constitutional means to take back a presidential certification. That would be true even if somehow the kooks and charlatans—Trump chief among them—who claim that massive fraud in Arizona and at least two other states robbed the former president of a second term were proven right. In some bizarre alternate universe where Rudy Giuliani was credible and correct in his claims, Congress could only impeach and remove the sitting president and vice president if they wouldn’t resign. That would make House Speaker Nancy Pelosi president for the next three years. There’s no means by which Congress could just appoint a former president into power like a Roman dictator.

But what if the Cyber Ninjas claimed massive fraud but couldn’t satisfactorily back it up? What if the result by the MAGA volunteers at the former home of the Phoenix Suns wildly disagreed with the official, twice-audited results, but the auditors didn’t have compelling evidence to explain the error? You’d need a solid case to claim the discrepancy ran in their favor instead of the duly elected and appointed officials who counted, recounted, and certified the returns. But what if the Arizona secretary of state and Maricopa County officials answered the charges, but the Cyber Ninjas and their clients in the state Senate stayed stuck on fraud claims?

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