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Citing audit report, U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs says he doesn't know if Biden won in Arizona

Andy Biggs
Andy Biggs

Congressman Andy Biggs said he can’t say for certain who won the popular vote for president in Arizona in 2020, a position election experts say contributes to dangerous levels of doubt and misinformation about voting.

The Arizona Republican repeated that comment throughout a U.S. House oversight committee hearing on the controversial review of Maricopa County’s 2020 election — a process ordered by state Senate Republicans, some of whom believe the results of the presidential election should be overturned.

When asked by Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin whether he agreed with the conclusion of the state Senate’s contractors, who conducted a hand recount of nearly 2.1 million ballots that confirmed President Joe Biden received more votes in Maricopa County than former President Donald Trump, Biggs said he does not.

“I don’t know who won in Arizona, because there are a lot of questions and anomalies that have arisen through the audit that were not answered,” he said.

Biggs later repeated the statement in closing remarks, attributing his doubts to what he described as unresolved issues about the county’s election process.

Maricopa County officials have thoroughly debunked the so-called “anomalies” Biggs referred to — claims or questions raised by Cyber Ninjas and other contractors that lacked relevant experience in elections, but were nonetheless hired by Arizona Senate President Karen Fann to conduct a five-month review of the county’s election.

Jack Sellers, the Republican chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, said it’s “troubling” to hear false accusations about the county’s election repeated.

“When you give people the facts, and they still do not accept them, that’s a problem,” Sellers told the committee.

Later Thursday,  Maricopa County elections officials released a preliminary report responding to some of the errant claims made by Cyber Ninjas and its subcontractors. 

Little attention was given to the details of those claims during the oversight committee hearing, as Republicans and Democrats mostly stuck to their respective talking points — GOP representatives defended the “audit” as a state right in the process of administering elections, while Democratic lawmakers criticized it as an effort to sow doubts about a fair and accurate vote.

But Gowri Ramachandran, senior counsel with the Brennan Center for Justice, said it’s problematic when false claims of fraud are amplified — in some cases, by Republican lawmakers, she noted — because “they lay the groundwork for legitimizing future attempts to sabotage elections to reject the will of the voters.”

“Sham partisan reviews like the one we've been seeing in Arizona contribute to that disinformation and those lies because insinuations are made,” Ramachandran told the committee. “They're not backed up by proper evidence, and then they get picked up and amplified.”

It’s for those reasons that Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates, a Republican, defended the county’s decision not to assist in any way the partisan review established by the Arizona state Senate. 

While Republican congressmen frequently commented that conducting audits should be a welcome part of confirming elections are conducted appropriately, Gates noted that the county hired two companies that are certified to work with election equipment to conduct two post-election audits above and beyond what’s legally required in Arizona statute.

Gates said county officials were not interested in participating in what he described as an “amateurish review” of the county’s election infrastructure by Cyber Ninjas, whose CEO, Doug Logan, spread conspiracies of election fraud in the months before he was hired in Arizona.

"I don't have a problem with audits. I had concerns with this particular audit,” Gates told the committee.

Logan was invited to testify before the oversight committee, but declined. He has also refused to turn over Cyber Ninjas documents related to the election review to the committee.

The committee still has the option to subpoena Logan for his testimony and records.

Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.