Loyalists of former president Donald Trump invaded the U.S. Capitol one year ago, carrying weapons, waving the Confederate flag, and insisting that the 2020 election was fraudulent. There was no credible support for the claims of “Stop the Steal” advocates. Nevertheless, Pro-Trump politicians have spent the past year attempting to fabricate that support. They have dented public confidence in the voting process and made it harder for voters, in particular voters of color, to vote. Less appreciated, but no less damaging, is the way they have coopted and undermined a critical tool of our democracy: the post-election audit.
Many states have rigorous protocols for post-election audits, including randomized selection of the electronic tallies to be checked against paper records, a commitment to objectivity throughout the process, and conducting the audit in full public view. When these standards are upheld, post-election audits help check that the outcomes of elections are accurate, and they maintain or restore public confidence in our democracy.
The sham reviews following the 2020 election were, essentially, the opposite of this. They were initiated for partisan reasons, as part of an attempt to overturn the will of the voters by leveraging a reluctance to accept the votes cast by diverse populations who live in major metropolitan areas. They put the conclusion before the process, and established protocols were not followed.
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