Election 'audits' let GOP replay 2020 grievances: The Note

What some say are efforts to force transparency are increasingly transparent.

May 24, 2021, 6:00 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Republicans are citing the need to look forward in arguing that a Jan. 6 commission either isn't necessary or isn't wise.

But in the two states that brought the biggest surprises of 2020, what happened Nov. 4 is still a live political issue -- and it's Republicans, led by former President Donald Trump, who seem increasingly likely to fight for it to live forever.

Monday marks the resumption of the state Senate's "audit" of votes in Arizona's largest county -- a spectacle that has even some local GOP officials worried that it's turning into a national embarrassment. Now, Georgia will also audit the absentee votes in its largest county, with a judge green-lighting a fourth count there.

Trump and his loyalists are cheering this on. Few actually believe it will change anything about who is president -- though some fringe elements, it should be noted, still do -- but that's long ceased being the real point.

Audits are being justified because voters have doubts about the last election. But those doubts, of course, are fueled by Trump and the lies of many in his party and will only be reinforced when more anecdotes become new talking points.

What Republicans at the state and national level are calling efforts to force transparency are, in fact, increasingly transparent.

Some in the small band of GOP lawmakers who have called out Trump for his lies are ready to spread some blame.

"The 74 million voters that voted for Donald Trump … a number of them that believe the election was stolen believe it because their leaders have not told them otherwise," Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said on Fox News Sunday. "The people they trust have either been silent or not told them the truth."

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

Nearly a year after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, negotiations for the police reform legislation that bears his name are stalled.

It is clear the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will not pass by the anniversary of his death on Tuesday -- a deadline President Joe Biden set during his address to the joint session of Congress in April.

"It would be wonderful if we had the bill ready in the next few days for the anniversary of Mr. Floyd's death. However, I know the Floyd family, I know myself and I know all of us here are far more concerned about having a substantive bill that actually makes serious changes to policing in America," said Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif, one of the authors and key negotiators for the bill, in an interview with ABC News. "And that is far more important than us making an artificial deadline. Now, having said that, we can't take forever. We have to get this done, but it won't be done on May 25th."

Watch "After Floyd: The Year that Shook the World -- A Soul of a Nation Special" Tuesday, May 25, at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

Qualified immunity, the shield that often prevents law enforcement officers from civil lawsuits, remains an obstacle in ongoing negotiations. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said on CNN Sunday he's still fighting for it. Republicans are opposed.

"I've said where my line is," said Booker. "We want to eliminate qualified immunity and that's where we're starting."

Biden is slated to mark the anniversary of Floyd's death by meeting with Floyd's relatives at the White House Tuesday.

The TIP with Quinn Scanlan and Meg Cunningham

The state Senate-ordered audit of the approximately 2.1 million ballots cast by Maricopa County, Arizona, voters in the November election is set to resume Monday and tensions between county officials and Republican state senators have escalated. On Friday, the county board of supervisors told the Senate to preserve documents related to the audit in a litigation hold.

"Because of the wrongful accusations that the County destroyed evidence, the County or its elected officers may now be subject to, or have, legal claims. Likewise, we have reason to believe this audit is not being done in accordance with Arizona law," the county wrote.

While potential legal action is on the horizon in the Grand Canyon State, in Georgia -- another former GOP stronghold Trump lost in 2020 -- another audit of November's election will soon take place after a judge ruled absentee ballots cast by Fulton County voters can be unsealed.

But unlike in Arizona, where the secretary of state is staunchly against what she and other Democrats have branded a "fraudit," Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger -- one of the chief defenders of the integrity and accuracy of the 2020 election in Georgia -- backed this new audit, tweeting that Fulton's "long standing history of election mismanagement that has understandably weakened voters' faith in its system."


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Monday morning's episode features ABC News White House correspondent MaryAlice Parks, who tells us why the White House will miss out on key deadlines for police reform and infrastructure legislation. ABC News' Patrick Reevell explains why Belarus diverted a commercial flight carrying a key opposition leader. And ABC News' Deirdre Bolton has more on the computer chip shortage wreaking havoc in multiple consumer markets. http://apple.co/2HPocUL


  • The House Administration Subcommittee on Elections holds a hearing on voter laws and election security at 11 a.m.
  • President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris receive the president's daily brief at 9:50 a.m. ET in the Oval Office. Then, at 1:30 p.m. Biden receives briefing on the Atlantic Hurricane Outlook and preparedness efforts at FEMA Headquarters.
  • At 2:15 p.m. Harris hosts a listening session on the digital divide in South Court Auditorium to discuss how investments in the American Jobs Plan will ensure every American has access to affordable, high-speed internet.
  • The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a closed hearing at 6 p.m. with the U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation John Sullivan on the United States and Russia's bilateral relationship.
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