24th September, 2021
Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden in Arizona’s most populous county, an audit of results by allies of Trump in the Republican Party has reaffirmed.
The report, prompted by Trump’s false claims of widespread electoral fraud, found that Biden, a Democrat, won Maricopa County despite Trump’s claims otherwise.
The audit recorded 99 additional votes for Biden and 261 fewer votes for Trump.
The conclusion, if confirmed in an official announcement later on Friday, will disappoint Trump supporters who had pushed for the review, many in the expectation that it would prove his claims he was robbed of victory due to widespread fraud.
“This was Donald Trump’s best chance to prove his cases of elections being rigged and fraudulent and they failed,” Ben Ginsberg, a veteran Republican election lawyer, said on a media call organized by the States United Democracy Center, a nonpartisan policy group.
“It’s a huge defeat for Donald Trump.”
Having won Arizona and beaten Trump nationwide, Biden became president on Jan. 20, but Trump’s baseless claims persist.
In Texas on Thursday, the secretary of state’s office said the state had begun an audit of the presidential election in its four largest counties – Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Collin.
Although Trump carried the state, Biden won three of those counties under review.
Hours before the announcement Trump publicly called on Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas to launch an audit.
Harris County’s elections administrator, Isabel Longoria, said in a statement that the audit was an attempt “to delegitimize the 2020 election.”
BIDEN VICTORY REAFFIRMED
In Arizona, Biden won by just over 10,000 votes, a narrow win confirmed by a hand recount and multiple post-election tests for accuracy. Biden carried Maricopa, which includes Phoenix, by about 45,000 votes, making it critical to his defeat of Trump.
The draft report by Cyber Ninjas “confirms the county’s canvass of the 2020 General Election was accurate,” Maricopa County said on Twitter, adding, however, that it was at the same time “littered with errors & faulty conclusions.”
While finding the overall vote tallies largely matched up, the draft report highlights a series of alleged issues, including 10,342 potential voters who voted in different counties, which Cyber Ninjas termed a “critical finding.”
As part of a point-by-point rebuttal on Twitter, Maricopa County called that claim “laughable”, suggesting those conducting the review may have failed to account for people with matching names and birth years in different counties, a not uncommon occurrence in a state of more than 7 million people.
Trump allies had viewed the recount of 2.1 million ballots in Arizona as a model for similar investigations in Pennsylvania, Michigan and other battleground states that Trump lost.
Trump himself had predicted the audit would provide the evidence to support his fraud claims. So far no such proof has been produced either by Trump or his backers.
In a statement, Trump claimed the review confirmed that fraud had occurred and suggested the official announcement later on Friday would be “far different” from news reports on the draft document.