Election officials, most of them Republicans, sharply criticized the audit of 2020 ballots in Arizona’s Maricopa County. Trump apparently hopes that the findings, gathered by a private, pro-Trump firm called Cyber Ninjas, will enable him to call for similar recounts in other contested states. He continues to insist that Biden “stole” the election, despite his campaign’s failure to produce evidence in more than 60 state and federal courts.

The ballots in all the contested states have previously been suited two or three times.

The Washington Post reports:

The Republican-dominated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Monday denounced an ongoing audit of the 2020 election vote as a “sham” and a “con,” calling on the GOP-led state Senate to end the controversial recount that has been championed by former president Donald Trump.
In a fiery public meeting and subsequent letter to state Senate President Karen Fann, the board members said the audit has been inept, promoted falsehoods and defamed the public servants who ran the fall election.

Calling the process a “spectacle that is harming all of us,” the five members of the board — including four Republicans — asked the state Senate to recognize that it is essential to call off the audit, which officials have said is only about one-quarter complete.

“It is time to make a choice to defend the Constitution and the Republic,” they wrote. “We stand united together to defend the Constitution and the Republic in our opposition to the Big Lie. We ask everyone to join us in standing for the truth,” they added, using a term that refers to the false claim that the election was stolen.

[Read the Maricopa County officials’ letter]
In a calculated show of unity, they were joined by Maricopa’s other elected officials: the sheriff, a Democrat; and the Republican county recorder, who leads the elections office.

“Our state has become a laughingstock,” the county officials wrote. “Worse, this ‘audit’ is encouraging our citizens to distrust elections, which weakens our democratic republic.”

The pushback by Maricopa County officials amounts to their most vehement protest yet of the recount, which began in late April and is being conducted in Phoenix by a private Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, whose chief executive has previously echoed Trump’s false allegations that fraud tainted the 2020 election.