Arizona Vote Audit Raises Civil Rights Concerns, Partisan Tensions

Headline Roundup May 7th, 2021

Arizona’s Republican-controlled state Senate is undergoing another audit of the state’s 2020 presidential election results, raising partisan tensions and concerns from both state and federal officials over potential civil rights violations. The private audit focuses only on Maricopa County, which contains over 60% of the state’s population and backed Joe Biden in 2020. On Wednesday, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs sharply criticized the recount, including for reports that ballots and laptops had been left unattended. The same day, a Justice Department official warned that the audit could be violating the 1960 Civil Rights Act by giving election materials to Florida-based contractor CyberNinjas; Arizona Republicans said they opposed federal intervention. Former President Donald Trump voiced support for the audit on April 27, saying that Democrats "know exactly what they’ve done."

Coverage was more common in left- and center-rated outlets, which also published more opinion and analysis articles on the story. Coverage in some right-rated outlets focused on Maricopa County’s refusal to cooperate with a subpoena for routers.

Arizona Vote Audit Raises Civil Rights Concerns, Partisan Tensions

From the Center
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The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday expressed concerns that a controversial audit and recount of the November election in Arizona's Maricopa County may be out of compliance with federal laws.

Pamela Karlan, the principal deputy assistant attorney general with the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, wrote in a letter that federal officials see two issues with the election review ordered by the Republican-led state Senate.

One issue is that ballots, voting systems and other election materials are no longer in the custody of election officials — a possible violation...

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From the Left
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Untrained citizens are trying to find traces of bamboo on last year’s ballots, seemingly trying to prove a conspiracy theory that the election was tainted by fake votes from Asia. Thousands of ballots are left unattended and unsecured. People with open partisan bias, including a man who was photographed on the Capitol steps during the Jan. 6 riot, are doing the recounting.

All of these issues with the Republican-backed re-examination of the November election results from Arizona’s most populous county were laid out this week by Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s Democratic...

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From the Right
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Officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, are refusing to comply with subpoenas from the state Senate that require them to turn over routers or router images to auditors reviewing the November 2020 election, saying that surrendering the items will cause a "significant security risk" to local law enforcement.

"We had previously believed that the risk would be eliminated by redacting the law enforcement data on the routers and not producing it. But we were informed that redaction did not eliminate the risk," Deputy County Attorney Joseph LaRue said in a...

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