Directly outside the Veterans Memorial Coliseum near downtown Phoenix, the Crazy Times Carnival wraps up an 11-day run on Sunday, a spectacle of thrill rides, games and food stands that headlines the Arizona State Fair this year.
Inside the coliseum, a Republican-ordered exhumation and review of 2.1 million votes in the state’s November election is heading into its third week, an exercise that has risen to become the lodestar of rigged-vote theorists — and shows no sign of ending soon.
Arizona’s Secretary of State Katie Hobbs noted the carnival’s presence outside the coliseum when she challenged the competence and objectivity of the review last week, expressing concern about the security of the ballots inside in an apparent dig at what has become a spectacle of a very different sort.
There is no evidence that former President Donald J. Trump’s narrow loss in Arizona’s presidential election in the fall was fraudulent. Nonetheless, 16 Republicans in the State Senate voted to subpoena ballots in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and two-thirds of the state’s vote in November, for an audit to show Trump die-hards that their fraud concerns were taken seriously.
dogged by controversy. Republicans dominate the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, which supervised the election in the county. They said it was fair and accurate and opposed the review.
After a week marked by mounting accusations of partisan skulduggery, mismanagement and even potential illegality, at least one Republican supporter of the new count said it could not end soon enough.
“It makes us look like idiots,” State Senator Paul Boyer, a Republican from suburban Phoenix who supported the audit, said on Friday. “Looking back, I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point.”
Civil-rights advocates say political fallout is the least of the concerns. They say the Arizona review is emblematic of a broader effort by pro-Trump Republicans to undermine faith in American democracy and shift control of elections to partisans who share their agenda.
federal law requires record to be kept intact under penalty of a fine or imprisonment. Some of the most serious questions involve the management of the review.
On Wednesday, Katie Hobbs, the Arizona secretary of state, charged that the review was being conducted with uncertified equipment and that ballot counting rules were “a significant departure from standard best practices.”
She wrote: “Though conspiracy theorists are undoubtedly cheering on these types of inspections — and perhaps providing financial support because of their use — they do little other than further marginalize the professionalism and intent of this ‘audit.’”
After her claims drew a number of death threats from Trump supporters, Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona ordered state police protection this past week for Ms. Hobbs, a Democrat.