A push to recount ballots from the November election moved forward in Phoenix Friday, The Washington Post reported, as a private vendor hired by Republicans in the state Senate began reviewing nearly 2.1 million ballots in Arizona’s largest county.
The recount in Maricopa County was sought by Senate Republicans to examine claims that fraud and assorted tabulation gaffes contributed to President Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump.
Election officials and the courts have found no merit to such allegations, the Post said, and even some in the GOP are on opposite sides of the dispute: The GOP-led county board of supervisors has objected to the recount.
After state Democrats filed suit earlier this week to suspend the recount proceedings, an Arizona judge on Friday authorized a pause to consider their contention that the process wasn’t protecting ballot security in accordance with state law.
But as a condition, the judge insisted that the Dems post a $1 million bond to cover potential costs incurred as a consequence of the delayed recount. And, by the afternoon, the outlet said, the state party had indicated it wouldn’t do so.
That cleared the way for the recount to go on as planned.
Earlier this week, Senate Republicans exercised a subpoena to move voting equipment and ballots from county storage to the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where they have said a team will spend a month doing a hand recount and forensic audit.
According to the Post, Senate leaders have said the process is intended only to explore ways to improve future elections, not to cast doubt on Biden’s win by more than 10,000 Arizona votes over Trump.
But the recount has been slammed by Dems and other critics and voting rights advocates as lacking proper oversight and having potential to perpetuate baseless claims of an illegitimate election outcome.
Trump insisted for weeks following the vote that he’d been defeated only because of rampant, systemic fraud. He filed numerous lawsuits, but they gained no traction; Biden was sworn in, as scheduled, on Jan. 20.