By Ryan Chou
The 2020 Election, in terms of electoral votes, was much closer than it looks. Biden won 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232, with just 20,000 votes out of 3.2 million cast in Wisconsin, 12,000 votes out of 4.9 million cast in Georgia, and 11,000 votes out of 3.3 million cast in Arizona decisively making Donald Trump a one-term president. It’s no question that these were all close results, and recounting the votes in them only makes sense since the margins of victory were all less than 1%. But these were already done, and the court challenges along with them were made too, so why are recounts still in the headlines?
Well, on April 22nd, the Arizona State GOP ordered an audit of votes cast in Maricopa County in 2020. While it’s just one county, 2.1 million votes were cast here, which is much more than Biden’s 11,000 vote margin of victory. So, we know a lot of votes are being counted, but who’s counting them? The answer to that is the Cyber Ninjas, which is one of the dead giveaways that this is in no way a “normal” recount if being done months after the election alone wasn’t enough. But it gets even more unusual. Your usual recounts are done by non-partisan sources, but the Cyber Ninjas are anything but that. A cybersecurity company based in Florida, the group now being trusted with millions of votes in a crucial swing state has had nothing to do with elections in the past and is led by a CEO who is a known pro-Trump conspiracy peddler.
The recount itself is also shrouded in secrets. The Cyber Ninjas haven’t been giving much information about what’s going on inside the building, many reporters aren’t even allowed to see the recount, and some practices that are known to be in use are raising eyebrows. It has been recently found out that ballots are being scanned with UV Lights, with the only possible explanation being the conspiracy theory that they will show watermarks indicating fraudulent ballots, but they can actually degrade them and experts don’t see the need for these lights. Additionally, concerns over the competency of this recount have mounted, with the counters using black and blue ink to check the ballots instead of red ink. It isn’t just practical to use red ink to check the ballots in order to make sure no tampering is done, it’s state law; only red pens are allowed to be used in recounts. Ultimately, it took a judge to order this to stop for red pens to be used. Not only that, but allegations are rising that the building’s doors aren’t even being locked to protect the ballots.
There’s also the issue of time. As said before, there are a lot of votes that were cast in Maricopa County. So far, a little over half a million ballots have been counted, but the recount was supposed to end on May 14th, and there are over one and a half million votes still to go. In fact, the pace seems to be so slow that it may take until July to finish the count, and they even had to stop counting last week because a high school graduation was planned to happen there.
The partisan ballot audit happening in Arizona is extremely concerning. Biden will still be president regardless of the outcome, but it sets a precedent that damages the integrity of American elections.