How "audit" became a dirty word among Democrats

AP Photo/Ben Gray

Democrats and their enablers on cable news outlets have been tearing their hair out for many weeks over the Arizona audit of ballots from the 2020 election. Accusations of hijinks in the counting process have mingled with claims that this “madness” is only serving to undermine people’s confidence in the election results. Well, the madness (as viewed by Democrats) may be spreading from Arizona to Pennsylvania this month. The Washington Post quickly ran a breathless headline, suggesting that the entire plan is some sort of Machiavellian scheme cooked up by Trump supporters who are trying to propagate “the Big Lie” and sow further confusion. It’s definitely true that the Pennsylvania GOP was behind the push for a similar audit in their state, as the Wall Street Journal reported this weekend. But the question we should be asking isn’t why anyone would want an audit. It’s why some people seem to be so afraid of having one.

Pennsylvania GOP lawmakers visited an ongoing Republican-ordered audit of 2020 ballots here Wednesday and called for their state to conduct a similar review, the latest sign that political fighting over last year’s election is far from over…

On Wednesday, three Republican state lawmakers from Pennsylvania toured the audit site, at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, and met with several Arizona GOP lawmakers to discuss election issues, according to Arizona Republican state Sen. Wendy Rogers, who tweeted about the visit.

Pennsylvania Republican Cris Dush, a freshman senator from the north-central part of the state, said he would like to see his state undertake a similar audit of 2020 ballots, which supporters say is meant to provide transparency.

Is it just me, or does it feel like the teams in this scrum switched uniforms at some point between December and now? In the end, both Republicans and Democrats are claiming that we need an accurate measurement of November’s vote, but how and when that goal is achieved is a question that’s now been twisted up like a pretzel.

First, the Democrats insisted last November (correctly) that we had to wait for all of the votes to be counted. This was obviously frustrating to Republicans who viewed Donald Trump as having an early lead on election night and had been warning for months that the massive amount of mail-in voting was going to turn the process into a hot mess. That prediction proved prescient in a number of places, particularly in New York’s 22nd Congressional District, where a winner wasn’t declared for three full months, well after the rest of the congressional class had been seated.

But once the Democrats had the result they desired in hand – at least in terms of the presidential race – it seems as if any and all interest in the counting of votes flew out the window. The Republicans had originally declared that the long early voting windows and mountains of mail-in ballots would undermine the public’s faith in the integrity and accuracy of the count. But now it’s the Democrats saying that any further examination of the ballots is not only unwarranted but an activity that will undermine the public’s faith in the integrity and accuracy of the count.

If anyone wants to conduct a recount, they are engaging in “the Big Lie” or some sort of conspiracy theory, at least according to many Democrats and talking heads on cable news. But what’s the basis for making such a claim? If you honestly believe that all of the votes were accurately recorded and counted originally, wouldn’t an audit simply prove that you were correct and put the objections of the doubters to rest? The only alternative that comes to mind is the possibility that you’re suggesting someone is “rigging” the audit to obtain a different result. But if that’s the case, aren’t you doing exactly what some Republicans claimed when they alleged widespread fraud, either through rigged voting machines or tampering with the counting process at polling stations?

The audits are taking place with representatives of both parties overseeing them. You really can’t have it both ways. Either you think the final counts were accurately determined or you don’t. And if you do, an accurate audit should do nothing but vindicate you.