A fundraising group for the partisan “audit” of Maricopa County, Arizona’s 2020 election results will now reportedly play a role in selecting the people counting Arizonans’ ballots.
The group, backed by ex-Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, will handle background checks and non-disclosure agreements for audit workers, the Arizona Republic reported Saturday based on an email it obtained.
The audit was authorized and funded in part by Arizona’s Republican-controlled state Senate, but in practice is being led by contractors fueled by private donations.
Byrne, part of a chorus of Trump dead-enders who claim the former president’s second term was stolen, has been promoting the fundraiser for Arizona’s audit for weeks. He established the group, The America Project, which is behind FundTheAudit.com, the site linked in the email reported by the Republic.
According to that email, the audit is also requiring that workers be registered Maricopa County voters who participated in the 2020 election, though it’s unclear if these are new requirements, the Republic noted.
Despite substantial fundraising for the audit by Byrne and others — the ex-CEO has personally committed $1 million to the audit effort, the report noted — the email emphasized the need for volunteers, not paid workers.
Ballot counting in the audit was set to resume Monday after the process took a week off for a string of high school graduations that had been previously scheduled in the audit venue, Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds.
Maricopa County officials have grown increasingly vocal in their opposition to the audit, which has moved slowly and elicited concerns from observers that it will lead to an inaccurate count.
On Friday, the Republican chair of the county’s board of supervisors, Jack Sellers, instructed the Republican-controlled state Senate to preserve documents for a potential lawsuit.
The audit’s Twitter account had earlier accused the Senate of “spoliation of evidence!” over audit leaders’ accusation that the county deleted a file directory in the cache of information handed over for the review. Within days, though, auditors said they had recovered the directory they claimed was missing.