Election deniers faced defeat but election denialism is still swirling in


Many of the candidates who promoted former President Donald Trump’s lies that the 2020 election was “rigged” and “stolen” were defeated in November, a pattern heralded by Democrats that is already reshaping the contours of the 2024 election – leading the former president to modulate his tone when he recently launched another bid for the White House.

But the efforts to cast doubts about the management and operation of the 2022 election are still festering in Arizona, long a hotbed of election conspiracies that spawned the sham audit of the 2020 Maricopa County results by the now-defunct firm Cyber Ninjas after Trump questioned Joe Biden’s victory there. The continuing election denialism underscores that although the highest profile promoters of Trump’s election lies were defeated, the efforts to undermine democracy will carry on.

Several Trump-backed Republican candidates at the top of Arizona’s ticket, including defeated GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, defeated Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem, as well as GOP Attorney General candidate Abe Hamadeh – who is trailing his opponent Democrat Kris Mayes by 510 votes as their race heads toward a recount – have seized on a problem with Maricopa County’s printers on Election Day to make exaggerated claims about the election.

Maricopa officials have said that printer problems affected about 70 vote centers, preventing some ballots from being read by tabulator machines on Election Day, but that the problems were fixed and that those ballots were set aside in a secure ballot box and counted separately. Bill Gates, the Republican Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, called the inconvenience and the long lines that resulted “unfortunate” in one Twitter video but said “every voter had an opportunity to cast a vote on Election Day.”

But that has not stopped the issue from spiraling into a swirl of misinformation and conspiracy theories about the overall management of the election within the hard-right faction of Arizona’s Republican Party, despite the best efforts by other Republican election officials to squelch conspiracy theories and fact-check them in real time.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican who rebuffed Trump’s efforts to overturn Arizona’s 2020 election results, is once again among the officials signaling that it is time to move on.

Though Lake has not conceded in her race against Democrat Katie Hobbs, who is the current secretary of state, Ducey posted pictures Wednesday of his meeting with Hobbs on Twitter, noting that he had congratulated the governor-elect on “her victory in a hard-fought race and offered my full cooperation as she prepares to assume the leadership of the State of Arizona.”

The issues could come to a head next week. Monday is the deadline for counties in the Grand Canyon State to certify their general election results – with statewide certification slated to follow on December 5. Any recounts cannot begin until after…

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