Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit
Republicans conducting an audit of votes from the 2020 presidential election in Arizona plan to tell the Department of Justice (DOJ) that they do not need federal assistance or involvement in the process, a spokesperson said Thursday.
A former Arizona official working for the audit told The Washington Post that the state Senate plans to send a letter to the DOJ attempting to dismiss concerns about the safety of ballots being recounted in Maricopa County by a conservative firm.
“This is a matter between the Arizona Senate and Maricopa County,” former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R) told the Post. “We don’t see any grounds for anyone else to intervene.”
State Senate President Karen Fann (R) will tell the DOJ that ballots are under guard 24 hours a day in the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Bennett added. Bennett also said that Cyber Ninjas, the firm leading the count, has pledged to avoid any interview tactics that may appear intimidating while speaking to voters.
Democrats and independent election experts have raised alarms about the audit, which is being done at the behest of Republicans in an apparent attempt to address false claims of election fraud spread by former President Trump and his allies.
Of particular concern to Democrats is the firm Cyber Ninjas, which is run by Douglas Logan, a man who has echoed the president’s false claims in the months since the 2020 election.
A top Justice Department official in the agency’s civil rights division warned Fann in a letter Wednesday that the audit could violate federal civil rights laws, while listing a number of concerns including the safety of ballots.
“The Department enforces a number of federal statutes that prohibit intimidation of persons for voting or attempting to vote,” wrote Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela Karlan in the letter. “Past experience with similar investigative efforts around the country has raised concerns that they can be directed at minority voters, which potentially can implicate the anti-intimidation prohibitions of the Voting Rights Act.”