(USA Features) Arizona State Sen. Wendy Rogers has warned U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to stay out of Maricopa County’s ongoing election audit or face jail time in the state if he interferes.
“You will not touch Arizona ballots or machines unless you want to spend time in an Arizona prison. Maybe you should focus on stopping terrorism. The Justice Department is one of the most corrupt institutions in the USA,” Rogers, a Republican and a former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, wrote on Twitter Saturday.
You will not touch Arizona ballots or machines unless you want to spend time in an Arizona prison. Maybe you should focus on stopping terrorism. The Justice Department is one of the most corrupt institutions in the USA.https://t.co/Jl2pKNpfJR
— Wendy Rogers (@WendyRogersAZ) June 11, 2021
Rogers’ statement comes after Garland on Friday announced he would be increasing the size of the Justice Department’s civil rights division specifically as a means of “scrutinizing” state election audits, as more of them are being launched following the 2020 election. He said the DoJ would get “aggressively involved” in watching audits as they unfolded for any violations of federal election law.
In Arizona, state Senate Republicans launched an audit of Maricopa County’s 2.1 million ballots after amid suspicions post-election that there may have been some fraudulent ballots cast. So far, there has no evidence that occurred.
Still, other states have conducted audits or are considering conducting them, including Georgia and New Hampshire. Republicans in Pennsylvania have also expressed interest in doing an audit. Michigan election officials completed a limited audit of randomly selected ballots in March but found no irregularities.
But the Arizona audit is the one that has attracted the most attention from outside the state, and the most criticism.
Republicans say they are attempting to verify the results of the 2020 election, in which the state flipped to President Joe Biden after going solidly for former President Donald Trump in 2016. Democrats, however, accused the GOP of attempting to change the outcome with a fraudulent ballot audit.
“As part of its mission to protect the right to vote, the Justice Department will, of course, do everything in its power to prevent election fraud, and if found, to vigorously prosecute it,” Garland said Friday.
“But many of the justifications proffered in support of these post-election audits and restrictions on voting have relied on assertions of material vote fraud in the 2020 election that have been refuted by law enforcement and intelligence agencies of both this administration and the previous one, as well as by every court, federal and state, that has considered them,” he added.
“Moreover, many of the changes are not even calibrated to address the kinds of voter fraud that are alleged as our justification.”
Arizona State Senate President Karen Fann responded by saying the audit isn’t meant to overturn results but rather to ensure citizens of the state can trust the electoral process. She has also said that the process is following state and federal laws.
“Since the inception of the audit, I have emphasized the crucial importance of transparency and collaboration to its success,” she said last week.