The dispute over the 2020 U.S. presidential election results continues. In Apr. 2021, the Arizona Senate hired a contractor to audit Maricopa County's election results. What happened to the Arizona audit? Did Donald Trump fund the effort?
Trump supporters insist there were fraudulent practices in the 2020 election, and that Joe Biden didn’t win the presidency fairly. While many Republicans continue to complain about the election results, Democrats strongly defend their victory.
What's the Arizona audit about?
The Maricopa County election audit is an effort to find out whether voters there truly chose Biden over Trump in the 2020 election. Biden got 45,000 more votes than Trump in Maricopa, which is the most populous county in Arizona. Biden went on to win the state. Trump supporters doubt those results and have wanted to have the results checked again.
Before the Arizona Senate engaged Cyber Ninjas for the Maricopa County audit, the election results in the county had been audited multiple times. The previous audits found no fraud.
What happened to the Arizona audit?
It's been about five months since Cyber Ninjas began the audit, and it hasn’t delivered its final report. The exercise was expected to take 30 days. According to Arizona media reports, the auditor needed at least two weeks to complete its report. Some professional auditors have questioned how Cyber Ninjas has gone about the audit.
The delay could be partly attributed to some members of the Cyber Ninjas team having serious cases of COVID-19.
The release of the audit's related documents is also stirring controversy. While the Arizona Senate wanted to keep some of the documents secret, pressure from some civil groups to release them resulted in the Senate being forced to. There are also demands to make the Cyber Ninjas audit report public.
Did Trump fund Cyber Ninjas' Arizona election audit?
Some of the documents the Senate has released contain communications linked to Trump. One that's captured attention is a text message exchange between Trump 2020 campaign official Jeff DeWit and audit spokesman Randy Pullen.
In that exchange, DeWit sought to know if Trump could donate to Cyber Ninjas indirectly through the so-called dark money funds. The communications show Trump was willing to give $175,000 to the audit. Whether Trump eventually made the donation is unclear, but Cyber Ninjas was able to raise more than $6 million from multiple organizations. The Arizona Senate, which ordered the audit, agreed to pay $150,000 for the exercise.