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© Photo by Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images Protestors in support of former President Donald Trump gather outside Veterans Memorial Coliseum where Ballots from the 2020 general election wait to be counted on May 1, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

  • Republicans and Trump loyalists nationwide are still pushing for reviews of the 2020 election.
  • Recounts or audits likely won’t unearth new information, but calls for reexaminations are growing.
  • From rural Michigan to sunny San Luis Obispo, recount fever persists six months after the election.
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More than six months after President Joe Biden beat former President Donald Trump by seven million votes and 74 electoral votes, the hunger for third-party, partisan reviews of the 2020 election among conspiracy theorists and Trump supporters throughout the country isn’t dissipating.

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Outside of the ongoing state GOP-led audit in Maricopa County, Arizona, no other major, official post-election audits are currently in motion. But the desire among Trump loyalists to rewrite history by recounting ballots that have already been counted and certified is spreading far beyond south-central Arizona.

For months leading up to the November election and in the months since, Trump has pushed lies about election fraud, amplifying baseless claims of a “rigged” or “stolen” election that culminated in the January 6 Capitol insurrection when a mob of pro-Trump rioters attacked the Capitol as Congress moved to certify Biden’s win.

Elections experts told The Associated Press the Arizona audit – though widely condemned and mocked, even among some Republicans – has set a dangerous precedent.

“This is bad enough to see it happen once,” Eddie Perez, an expert on voting systems at the OSET Institute, told the AP about Arizona, but seeing it elsewhere in the country is “dangerous for democracy.'”

Since Democrats won control of the federal government in the 2020 election, GOP lawmakers at the state level have indtroduced and in some cases, passed, a flurry of voting rights legislation aimed at appeasing Trump and his allies’ baseless claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election by making voting access more difficult in many instances.

And in recent weeks, GOP leaders across the US at the state, county, and local levels have undertaken efforts and attempts to stage “reviews” of the 2020 election in hopes of sowing doubt and stoking anger among vocal conservatives.

By how many votes did Biden win?

  • Biden won Maricopa County by 45,109 votes.
  • He won 50.3% of the county while Trump won 48.1%, according to Politico.
  • Biden’s statewide victory was narrower – 10,457 votes – but he won 49.4% of the vote to Trump’s 49.1%.

What is the GOP trying to do?

After Biden’s victory in the once-red Arizona, the Republican-controlled state senate subpoenaed the more than 2 million ballots cast in Maricopa County, where Trump and his allies relentlessly claimed there had been “irregularities” in the election process, though none have ever been officially noted.

As the lie grew among Trump loyalists, senate president Karen Fann said an audit was necessary because so many of her constituents believed there had been “serious issues.” The decision to proceed with a recount was notably made in spite of objections by the county’s Republican-controlled board of supervisors, who said the election had already been audited more than once by credible firms.

Republicans chose Cyber Ninjas, a private company with no prior election experience and spearheaded by a Trump supporter, to carry out another count of ballots in Maricopa County. Since it began on April 23, the audit has been plagued by ongoing questions of legality and partisanship stemming from a slew of errors and absurdities.

Where are they in the process of the audit?

Earlier this week, auditors said they had counted about 500,000 of the more than 2 million ballots, according to The Hill. A spokesperson for the audit told the outlet they hope to be done by the end of June, when the vendor’s rental term on the stadium where votes are being counted is up.

Have state lawmakers passed voting legislation since the 2020 election?

Earlier this month, Republicans in the state legislature passed a bill limiting distribution of mail ballots from an early voting list. The controversial bill removes voters from the state’s Permanent Early Voting List, a method that voters used en masse in the 2020 election.

The law could purge tens of thousands of people from a list of voters who automatically receive a ballot in the mail. Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bill into law hours after the legislature passed it.

Then earlier this week, Republicans on both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees voted to strip Democrat Katie Hobbs of her election powers as secretary of state, a seemingly partisan response to her continued criticism of the Maricopa County audit. The bill, which would still have to pass the full legislature to become law, would transfer many of her election powers to the state’s Republican attorney general.

© Matt York/AP Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. The audit, ordered by the Arizona Senate, has the U.S. Department of Justice saying it is concerned about ballot security and potential voter intimidation arising from the unprecedented private recount of the 2020 presidential election results. Matt York/AP

By how many votes did Biden win?

  • Biden secured another narrow victory in Georgia, beating Trump by 11,779 votes, carrying 49.5% of the state compared to Trump’s 49.3%.
  • In Fulton County, the most populous in the state, which includes the capital Atlanta, Biden beat Trump by 242,965 votes, winning 72.6% of the county compared to Trump’s 26.2%, according to Politico.

What are election skeptics trying to do?

A longtime voting activist in Georgia and well-known conspiracy theorist, Garland Favorito, is spearheading a campaign in Fulton County to review the 2020 election results. He filed a lawsuit earlier this year against the county alleging improper counting and fraudulent ballots.

According to The Atlanta Journal Constitution, the case includes testimony from Republican Party members who allege to have witnessed suspiciously “pristine” absentee ballots. The lawsuit also claims there were notable increases among votes for Biden late on election night.

The attempted review comes even after election officials in the state counted ballots three times, audited voter signatures, and opened several investigations, before certifying Biden’s win, according to the AJC.

Favorito told the AP he voted for Don Blankenship, the US Constitution Party candidate in the 2020 election.

“Our ultimate objective is the truth. What is the truth of this election?” Favorito told the outlet. “Don’t tell us what the results are and then hide it from us and pretend we have to accept whatever you tell us.”

Where are they in the process of a possible audit?

Favorito and company secured a massive win last week, when a judge ruled the plaintiffs in the lawsuit could inspect 147,000 mail ballots. Unlike the Maricopa audit, Fulton County’s review would not focus on a ballot recount. Instead, the judge said he would order county officials to create high-resolution digital images to determine the legitimacy of the ballots.

A judge had plans to consider procedures for the digital inspections on Friday, but postponed the meeting in light of motions by Fulton County to dismiss the case, the AJC reported.

Have state lawmakers passed voting legislation since the 2020 election?

Earlier this year, Georgia became a battleground among voting rights activists and GOP attempts to make voting more restrictive. In March, Gov. Brian Kemp signed a complicated and controversial omnibus bill into law that makes changes to almost every part of the state’s voting and election system.

It was the first major election-related bill signed into law in a swing state after the 2020 election.

Civil rights groups and Democrats decried the law, arguing it suppresses votes – particularly those of Black people. Delta, Coca-Cola, United, and other Georgia-based companies blasted the law in a wave of fierce corporate backlash.

As Insider’s Grace Panetta reported, the bill’s impact on voters, election officials, and candidates will be complex and wide-ranging. For example, most counties will see expansions in early voting dates and hours, but legislators also shortened the window to request an absentee ballot.

© Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images Demonstrators bring signs inside the Capitol building in support of House Bill 531 on March 8, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images

By how many votes did Biden win?

  • Wisconsin proved to be another close state, but Biden narrowly won by 20,682 votes. The president won 49.6% compared to Trump’s 48.9%, according to Politico.

What are Republican lawmakers trying to do?

Top Republican and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos earlier this week said he would hire retired police officers and an attorney to investigate parts of the November election that Republicans have raised issues about in the months since, including possible voter fraud.

Vos said investigators would spend three months looking into evidence of any election issues and pursuing credible tips, though he told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he acknowledges Biden’s narrow Wisconsin win and is not trying to overturn the presidential election results.

“Is there a whole lot of smoke or is there actual fire? We just don’t know yet,” Vos told the Journal Sentinel.

State GOP has already tried unsuccessfully to raise some election issues in court, including accusations that $6 million in private grants were used to run elections in some of the state’s largest cities, the outlet reported.

The move comes after Republicans in February launched a different audit led by the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau, whose work will be separate from the investigators Vos hires.

State Democrats for their part, have voiced concerns the three-month investigation could erode public faith in an election that was conducted legitimately.

Where are they in the process of an audit?

Vos made his investigation announcement earlier this week and said officials will likely complete a report by the fall. According to The Journal Sentinel, he has not ruled out referring some matters from the investigation to prosecutors in an attempt to identify election laws that should be changed.

Have state lawmakers passed voting legislation since the 2020 election?

The GOP-controlled state legislature earlier this month passed bills making absentee voting more difficult in the state in an attempt to address some of the “issues” Republicans have raised about the 2020 election in the state.

But Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has vowed to veto any legislation targeting voting rights and access in the state.

By how many votes did Biden win?

  • Biden beat Trump in New Hampshire by 59,277 votes.
  • Biden won 52.9% of the state while Trump won 45.5% of the state, according to Politico.
  • In Rockingham County, where the small town of Windham is located, Biden beat Trump by 4,206 votes. The president won 50.3% of the county while Trump secured 48.2%.

What are skeptics trying to do?

Concerns over election results in Windham, New Hampshire, a town of about 14,000 have focused on both alleged vote-count discrepancies and voting machine irregularities.

According to The Washington Post, a Democrat who came in fifth in a race for a state legislature position requested a hand recount after a narrow loss. After the review, the margin of her loss grew from 24 votes to more than 400. Ross McLeod, the chairman of the local board of selectmen, told the outlet there was broad agreement in the town that some kind of recount was needed after that.

“If there’s an error found in the machines, you could extrapolate that to all the machines in New Hampshire. Then, it could go nationwide,” he told The Post.

Disagreements between the town selectmen and residents over who should run the recount came to a head earlier this month, when almost 500 people attended a town meeting in order to voice their support for an auditor who served as a consultant in Maricopa County’s recount instead of the selectman’s choice of an experienced auditor who publicly questioned the need for the Maricopa County audit.

© Photo by Elizabeth Frantz for The Washington Post via Getty Images Election officials tally votes by hand during a forensic election audit at the New Hampshire Army National Guard Regional Training Institute in Pemboke, N.H., on May 18, 2021. Photo by Elizabeth Frantz for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Where are they in their recount process?

The town’s recount began on May 11. According to The Post, live-stream cameras and audio discussion followed each ballot as it was counted and volunteers working the audit were named online each day.

Auditors concluded Thursday there was no evidence of fraud or partisanship in the extra vote tallies, and instead, determined the mistake was likely due to human error and an overworked folding machine, according to the local NBC News affiliate, WBTS.

But Republicans in town are still clamoring for a wider audit, arguing a statewide recount may be needed to reassure worried voters, CNN reported.

Have state lawmakers passed voting legislation since the 2020 election?

Republicans in control of New Hampshire’s legislature are considering a preemptive move against the sweeping federal voter-rights legislation being debated in Washington DC, the AP reported.

The House Election Law Committee heard testimony earlier this month on an amendment that would essentially bar any changes to the state’s election system should Congress pass the “For the People Act.”

The legislation has passed the Democratic-controlled House in DC but has hit a wall in the 50-50 Senate.

By how many votes did Biden win?

  • Biden beat Trump in Michigan, a state Trump won in 2016, by 154,188 votes. The president won 50.6% of the vote compared to Trump’s 47.8%, according to Politico.
  • But in rural Cheboygan County in Northern Michigan, where desire for an audit is brewing, Trump beat Biden by 4,749 votes, winning 64.2% of the county compared to Biden’s 34.3%.

What are conservatives trying to do?

In April, Doug Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, and Ben Cotton, a cybersecurity expert who is also involved in Arizona’s audit, filed separate witness reports alleging security problems in the state’s Dominion voting machines in a lawsuit in Antrim County, Michigan, hoping to spark a statewide election audit, according to the AP. A judge dismissed that case earlier this month, but the men’s allegations have been used by Michigan attorney Stephanie Lambert, who represented plaintiffs who sought to overturn state election results in the fall, as fodder for a future “forensic audit” of the voting machines in Cheboygan County, a small, rural area in northern Michigan.

The Dominion machines have been an ongoing point of contention in Michigan after an early election night error in red Antrim County suggested Biden had a 3,000-vote lead over Trump, according to The Washington Post. The mistake was quickly corrected and attributed to human error, but that didn’t stop Trump loyalists and Trump himself from zeroing in on the case and using it to stoke recount fervor.

Where are they in the process of a possible audit?

Lambert has offered to pay for an audit in Cheboygan County herself. Even after the Antrim County dismissal, one of Cheboygan’s Republican commissioners, Steve Warfield, told The Post he thought Lambert’s argument was credible and is thinking about voting in favor of the outside audit.

The office of the Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who is a Democrat, sent letters to both Cheboygan and Antrim county clerks earlier this month, warning them the county boards have “no authority” to order election audits, The Post reported, and telling election clerks not to give outside parties access to conduct them.

Dominion sent its own letter to every county in the state, warning them that offering up voting machines to nonaccredited auditors could break licensing agreements and render the equipment unusable, the newspaper reported.

The examination is still in early stages, several members of the county board of commissioners told The Post last week, and no decision has been made yet on whether to approve Lambert’s offer.

Have state lawmakers passed voting legislation since the 2020 election?

Michigan Republicans in the state Senate have joined in the national GOP efforts to introduce new voting restrictions. Earlier this year, they had introduced nearly 40 election-reform bills, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Most of the bills, which Republicans claim will make voting easier and some Democrats have called “racist,” face an uphill battle toward becoming law, with a Democratic governor and Democratic-controlled Senate.

But lawmakers in the GOP-controlled House on Wednesday also targeted the “For the People” bill in Congress, adopting a resolution that calls the federal legislation a “massive overreach into state election administration.”

© Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images People hold a sign claiming Trumps victory in the presidential elections during a rally in Fowlerville, Michigan on May 15, 2021. Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

By how many votes did Biden win?

  • In the stalwart blue state, Biden beat Trump by 5,103,821 votes.
  • The president nabbed 63.5% of the state, while Trump won 34.3%, according to Politico.
  • In San Luis Obispo County, Biden beat Trump by 20,874 votes. He won 55.3% of the state while Trump won 42.2%.

What are conservatives trying to do?

In purple San Luis Obispo County, local Republicans are now calling for their own election audit.

Earlier this month, a board of supervisors meeting originally meant to be a discussion forum on the future of voting in the county, was overrun by nearly 100 people voicing their concerns and questions about the 2020 election results, according to KCRW. The meeting reportedly descended into debunked conspiracy theories and racist attacks against the county’s chief elections official.

Much of the group’s focus centered around the county’s Dominion voting machines, The Washington Post reported.

Members of the community have since suggested the inundation of Trump-loyalists calling into the county’s election meeting may have included several people who were not San Luis Obispo residents, the San Luis Obispo Tribune editorial board noted.

Where are they in the process of a possible audit?

It likely will not happen. In an op-ed for The Tribune, Tommy Gong, the county’s chief elections official noted the forensic audit requested by Republicans in San Luis Obispo is not authorized under California law and would “violate the chain of custody of the voting system.”

“A recount could have been requested up to five days after the election was certified, but that time has long since passed,” he wrote.

Has voting legislation passed?

Democrats in California’s state legislature control both chambers and the governorship – though Gov. Gavin Newsom faces a recall – and no legislation aimed at limiting voting access has been passed in the state this year.

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