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The audit in Arizona has been called everything from a “sham” to a “fundraising ploy” for Republicans to raise money. And election security experts are requesting the Department of Justice monitor the Election 2020 vote audit taking place in Maricopa County, Arizona.
But there’s serious risk that comes both with the Justice Department jumping in — and not.
Perhaps most urgent is the threat of violence akin to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol building, perpetrated by supporters of President Donald Trump who believed the 2020 presidential election was rigged.
Some officials said this threat alone necessitates federal involvement, particularly since Trump himself continues to tell lies and push conspiracy theories about how he believes the election was stolen from him. The New York Times recently reported that Trump has told associates that he expects the audits will lead to him being reinstated as president by August.
While that’s a constitutional impossibility, don’t tell that to Trump’s most ardent supporters.
“Could there be another riot or interaction like they had on January 6? You bet,” said Steve Gallardo, the only Democratic official on the Board of Supervisors in Maricopa County. “These are the unintended consequences to them continuing to push the big lie. They continue to undermine our democracy, and they continue to discredit the election system in the state of Arizona.”
Gallardo added that the Justice Department “needs to stand up and come to Arizona, and intervene and put an end to this. If our top law enforcement officers are not willing to do it, then I believe the Department of Justice needs to do it.”
The Justice Department has not responded to Insider’s inquiries on whether it will intervene.
Federal officials have, however, already cautioned Arizona officials about the audit.
For example, Pamela Karlan, principal deputy assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, previously told Arizona Senate President Karen Fann her chamber could be violating the Civil Rights Act of 1960 if it turned over all of its election materials to Cyber Ninjas, the private firm that is conducting the Arizona vote audit.
Current federal laws require state and local officials to maintain ballots and election materials for at least 22 months.
Karlan also expressed concerns on reports that ballot and other election materials are being destroyed and compromised under the supervision of the cybersecurity firm, which is another violation of federal law.
Ken Bennett, the Arizona Senate liaison overseeing the Maricopa County audit, dismissed the Justice Department’s concerns, telling Insider that the audit process is violating no federal laws and that it’s “unnecessary” for the department to get involved.
Arizona officials have recounted more than 80 percent of the Maricopa County ballots and could finish the hand count portion of the audit by the end of this week, Bennett said in a phone interview.
He added, however, that the final report of the audit would most likely come out in late July or early August.
‘Not Biden’s call to intervene’
Some officials worry that if the Justice Department begins to monitor the audit then …read more
Source:: Business Insider