Arizona's election audit is ending but the copycats are just getting started

But regardless of the outcome, the effort in Arizona has already inspired copycat efforts in other states. And it has become a way to keep alive false claims of fraud and undermine faith in the 2020 election and democracy itself. In Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, for example, Republican-dominated Legislatures have ordered Arizona-style reviews of the 2020 vote in their states, sometimes in consultation with the same conspiracy theorists behind the Arizona investigation.

“We’re at an inflection point,” said Chuck Coughlin, a Phoenix pollster and Republican political consultant who has been skeptical of the Arizona investigation. “When the results drop, I’ll be curious to see how the Legislature’s Republican leaders react to this, including the State Senate itself.”

Legitimate audits of the vote ordered by the Republican-controlled Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, which oversaw the election, have repeatedly found no evidence of fraud that could have tainted the results. And the inquiry has been dogged from its start by slipshod and sometimes bizarre conduct.