Stephen Richer dares to tell … gasp! … the truth about the audit. Oh, the betrayal

DATE PUBLISHED: June 29, 2021

AZ Central – OPINION: Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer is excoriated on a Republican blog for daring to tell the truth about the Arizona Senate’s election audit. I’d say it’s shocking but it’s … not.

Three years ago, the Arizona Republican Party was commissioning attorney Stephen Richer to conduct an “independent audit” to root out fraud in the 2018 election overseen by then-Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes.

Now, suddenly, Richer — who never found any fraud but went on to defeat Fontes in 2020 — is considered a turncoat in the party’s hard-right circles.

“If Richer runs for any political office in the future, it should be as the democrat he has shown himself to be,” the far-right blog Seeing Red AZ fumed on Monday. “It will be a rare display of honesty.”

So what it is it, you ask, that this Republican elected official has done to anger those on the far right who “see red”? What dishonesty has he perpetrated on the public?

Richer dared to call out the auditing practices of the Arizona Senate’s ninja auditors.

In an op-ed published Sunday in The Arizona Republic, Richer compared the rules that Maricopa County election administrators must follow when auditing an election to the rules employed by the Senate’s chosen auditors, the Cyber Ninjas.

For example, the people counting the votes.

In the county, Richer writes, the three-person counting groups must be bipartisan and the volunteer counters are chosen by the political parties. In the ninja audit, the three-person groups are volunteers recruited “almost exclusively from the Republican Party”.

For example, the qualifications of the auditors.

In the county, Richer writes, election officials take classes and must pass a written test. Many also complete additional study and become certified by the Elections Center’s National Association of Election Officials. In the ninja audit, only one of the subcontractors had any election audit experience – one previous audit of 1,000 votes – and that subcontractor, Wake TSI, quit midway through the audit.

For example, the methodology of the audit.

In the county, Richer writes, hand counts and other audit operations must comply with state law and are designed by people whose expertise in the field is “widely recognized by the elections community”.

The ninja audit, which includes scouring the ballots for bamboo and suspicious folds, relies on ideas put forth by Jovan Pulitzer, “a failed inventor who has changed his legal name multiple times and has spent years of his life searching for the Ark of the Covenant and for a magical sword in Nova Scotia. His marquee invention – the CueCat – was deemed by Time Magazine as one of ‘The 50 Worst Inventions’ in the world.”

This simple recounting of facts has given Seeing Red a full-blown case of the vapors.

Seeing Red tells us that Richer’s column “clearly displays his leftist stripes”. And not, we are told, for the first time.

“Richer has appeared in a full-color, above-the-fold photo in a newspaper report standing beside democrat Sheriff Paul Penzone and using the prominently displayed word “unhinged” to describe President Donald Trump,” Seeing Red wrote.

Oh the horror, standing anywhere in the vicinity of a fellow county official who is a Democrat.

And challenging the ex-president’s tweet when he falsely claimed to the world, “The entire Database of Maricopa County in Arizona has been DELETED!”?

Why, it’s sacrilege. That’s what it is.

Richer is one of the shockingly few Republican elected officials in this state who not only didn’t buy into the fiction that Maricopa County’s election was rigged but has been willing to risk his political future by standing up and saying so.

Which is a darn sight more than I can say for Seeing Red, who declines to put his name to his work.

Now, Richer, this “GOP defector”, has the nerve to write a column, entitled “Playing by an awfully different set of rules”. And with the sub headline: “Maricopa County election administrators conducted bipartisan hand-count audit of 2020 votes. Cyber Ninjas — Republicans in sheep’s clothing — recruited almost exclusively from the GOP.”

“Do those words sound like what Republican voters would expect to hear from a newly elected Republican?” Seeing Red railed.

No, they sound like the truth.

The fact that most Republican elected officials are afraid to utter it any more… well, that’s not just sad.

It’s pathetic, really.

— Reach Roberts :: AZ Central


 ORIGINAL ARTICLE (click here): AZ Central