Months after President Joe Biden's inauguration, Republican lawmakers are still entertaining former President Donald Trump's lies that the 2020 election was "stolen" by Democrats, whom he falsely claims facilitated widespread election fraud.
A key target of Trump's lies was the state of Arizona, which went blue in the 2020 presidential election for the first time since 1996.
For months after the election was called for Biden, the Trump campaign insisted that fraud had taken place in the bellwether Maricopa County. Trump's campaign, Arizona's Republican Party, and other entities filed lawsuits in the hopes of getting the county's results thrown out, but nearly all of these were dismissed.
Despite Maricopa County's hand recount of the results, which showed Biden win by around 10 thousand votes, Republican state Senators demanded their own audit of the election, and recently gained access to the county's ballots through a subpoena.
The Senate has since employed a company called Cyber Ninjas to oversee the audit, despite having no election experience and despite its owner—Doug Logan—expressing support on social media for Trump's election conspiracies.
After Cyber Ninjas fought in court to keep their auditing process a secret, a Maricopa County Superior Judge ruled the company must publicly disclose its audit procedures.
But that hasn't eradicated concerns that Senate Republicans' audit is compromised by the participation of Cyber Ninjas.
In fact, skepticism of the audit only deepened after former state Representative Anthony Kern was photographed counting ballots.
UPDATE I deleted retweet that showed ballot at audit table where ex GOP State Rep. Anthony Kern was counting ballot… https://t.co/EXTdRnB0bd— Brahm Resnik (@Brahm Resnik) 1619810593.0
Prompted by Trump's election lies, a mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the United States Capitol on January 6 in hopes of upending the joint congressional session nationally acknowledging now-President Joe Biden's victory.
Kern, in his last days as an elected official, was among those present at the Capitol. What's more, he spent days promoting the "Save America Rally," from which the failed insurrection unfolded, on his social media. He later condemned the violence in a retweet.
People were deeply concerned by Kern's participation in the audit.
Just so we’re clear, a guy who participated in the insurrection to overturn the election is one of the people the A… https://t.co/Dx3HCxAhL3— Radley Balko (@Radley Balko) 1619816037.0
Insurrectionists should be in jail. Instead they're busy confabulating votes for Trump. What happened to America? https://t.co/MJqzlpYc81— Herr Dr. Prof. Emeritus ₥Ɇ₦₮₳Ⱡ ₩ł₥₱ (@Herr Dr. Prof. Emeritus ₥Ɇ₦₮₳Ⱡ ₩ł₥₱) 1619818876.0
The fox is in the hen house. https://t.co/XqBNwRE3AO— Tweet Liberty (@Tweet Liberty) 1619817457.0
This whole mess seems so illegal. If I were in Maricopa county, I'd be so angry that some unknown, private, politic… https://t.co/s1heYZaZLJ— Seize Today for Tomorrow. (@Seize Today for Tomorrow.) 1619818713.0
So Kern was at the insurrection. THIS is the caliber of the #CyberNinjas. Brahm, thank you for intrepid reporting. https://t.co/bE4kWyxoZB— Ashiya (@Ashiya) 1619818520.0
This is such BS https://t.co/qmhD8BmtIh— Ladylibra10 (@Ladylibra10) 1619817743.0
Some said Kern should be facing charges instead of counting ballots.
Kern should be no where near a ballot. He should be in jail. https://t.co/VgP7DQBCfz— James Hamm (@James Hamm) 1619818964.0
Traitor recounting ballots. Anthony Kern should be in jail. https://t.co/4YUKy3OAtz— Kam (@Kam) 1619812615.0
I mean, I assumed most the insurrectionists wouldn’t ever actually go to jail. But I definitely didn’t think they’d… https://t.co/V2zMhF9gAR— InMinivanHell (@InMinivanHell) 1619814969.0
Kern lost his campaign for reelection and his last day in office was January 10—four days after the insurrection.