The Arizona audit fiasco

The much-ballyhooed ‘audit’ of the presidential election results in Maricopa county in Arizona that Joe Biden won by a huge margin is over. It appears that even though this ‘audit’ was done by a highly partisan Trump-supporting group under the most dubious of conditions, the results were unchanged and that buried in the report is the information that Biden’s lead actually increased by a small amount.

This must have been a huge disappointment to Trump and his cult members who had been banking on their delusion that Trump won would be validated. The report managed to obfuscate its findings with other falsehoods that the cult has seized on to pursue similar audits in the other states that Biden won in 2020 that Trump won in 2016.

Friday’s flawed report from the Republicans investigating Arizona’s 2020 election isn’t changing minds or dampening enthusiasm among election conspiracy theorists. Instead, the movement keeps gaining traction in the Republican Party.

But as draft copies of the report surfaced Thursday night, with a vote count aligning with the official results showing President Joe Biden won, GOP-controlled Texas became the latest state to launch a copycat investigation of 2020 results in four large counties. Republican state legislative leaders in two states Biden narrowly won, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, recently blessed election reviews as well.

The cult members are raging at the negative outcome and trying to find ways to keep the scam going.

Since there was hardly any chance that the official result was invalid, the main intent of the ‘audit lay elsewhere.

On a broader level, the fake audit already served its real intended purpose. The point was to leave an official imprint of skepticism on an electoral process that never warranted it. To amplify conspiracies and foment anger about the election, while the legislature went ahead and made it harder for certain people to vote—and, to show fealty to an ex-president who continues to hold sway over a political party veering farther away from democracy.

This is an assault on the basic component of democracy, the counting of votes. It is also a war on arithmetic.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    The Repubs will next demand that all election counts be conducted by certified Numerologists®.

  2. flex says

    What I find interesting is that the polls of republican’s show not only strong support, but even increasing support over time for the idea that the Maricopa County election, and thus the Arizona election, was really won by Trump.

    Now there are several possibilities. It could be that there really is an increasing belief among republicans. After all, the lie has been repeated so often and for so long that maybe more people really do believe it.

    Another possibility is that people who are surveyed are increasingly reluctant to identify themselves as republican. This doesn’t mean they aren’t republican, or won’t vote republican even if they now call themselves independent. But, if it’s harder for survey takers to find self-identified republicans, people who are proud to call themselves republicans, then it makes sense that those same people are likely to believe the crap coming from the republican leaders.

    Conversely, if the republican leaders see the survey data that such a large percentage of republicans believe the lie, they may profess to believe the lie too in order to align themselves with those voters.

    A decade ago I would have scoffed at the idea that fairly intelligent people would look at a percentage and fail to realize that percentage numbers can be very misleading. I’m not counting Trump in the fairly intelligent population, but not all republicans are as innumerate as Trump. If 54% of republicans surveyed believe there is evidence to support the big lie, my first question would be, “How did the survey identify republicans?”

    If the survey called 40,000 people, got responses from 2,000 of them, and 500 of them identified themselves as republicans, only 270 people would need to say they believed there was evidence of a stolen election to reach that 54%. If an identical survey was taken six months ago and while the same 270 people thought there was evidence of a steal, but 700 people identified as republican, only 39% of republicans would have said there was evidence of a stolen election. Even though the same 270 people didn’t change their belief, if the numbers of republicans identified in the survey decreases, the percentage goes up.

    As I said, ten years ago I would have thought that enough people understand how percentages work that they would have seen that more information is necessary to really understand what the survey reports mean. A bald statement of a percentage does not give enough information to determine trends. But I’ve learned, and even had to teach a number of people, including engineers (and I am an engineer), that percentages are a bit trickier than they think. More than once I’ve found people adding percentages without checking that the dementors are the same (and commonizing them), or quoting a percentage without identifying that the percentage of a subset of the measured population. (E.g. A feature was measured on 45 parts , but they were 15 each of three different mold cavities. 3 parts were out of tolerance, so the report was that 6.7% of parts had problems. But since all 3 parts came from the same mold cavity, the real failure rate was 20%. This difference can dramatically change the response even if the base data is identical.)

    So it wouldn’t surprise me if republican officials really don’t see that their base is shrinking.

    If it really is. I don’t know if the republican base is shrinking or not, but the possibility exists.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    flex @ # 2: …without checking that the dementors are the same …

    Lacking hard data, I still think it safe to say that dementors (and dementees) are increasing both absolutely and proportionately in the US population and elsewhere.

  4. flex says

    #3 Pierce R. Butler,

    DOH! Cursed by the Harry Potter spellcheck!
    But I think you know what word I was really intending to use. 🙂

    And I can’t argue with your interpretation of what I (mistakenly) wrote either.

  5. brucegee1962 says

    I admit, the results of this “audit” have floored me.

    Given the opposite of transparency, I argued all along that there would be one of two outcomes. If they came up with any evidence of fraud, all the country’s liberals would disbelieve the results because they could have manufactured the evidence due to their concealment. And if they didn’t come up with evidence of fraud, conservatives would disbelieve them for the same reason.

    I confess, the possibility I did NOT expect was that they would come up with no evidence of fraud whatsoever, and then Trump followed by his sycophants would claim with a straight face that they did, and their followers would believe them. But that seems to be what is happening. Their media bubble seems completely impermeable — Trump has trained them to believe absolutely no one but him.

  6. mnb0 says

    “This must have been a huge disappointment …..”
    It would have been if they valued rationalism. However they have embraced irrationality.

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