How 'heavily funded' far-right extremists are 'laying the groundwork' to steal elections: journalist

How 'heavily funded' far-right extremists are 'laying the groundwork' to steal elections: journalist

In an article published by The New Yorker on August 2, journalist Jane Mayer provided in-depth reporting on some of the big money that is financing the bogus Cyber Ninjas "audit" of the 2020 presidential election results in Maricopa County, Arizona. Mayer discussed her reporting and this assault on democracy from the far-right when she appeared on National Public Radio's "Fresh Air" a few days after that article was published.

Mayer told long-time "Fresh Air" host Terry Gross, "Some of the people who are carrying out this audit, you have to understand, are hardcore conspiracy theorists. And they're setting out to prove that (former President Donald) Trump really won. And Maricopa County is not just like any old little county in America; it's the largest county in Arizona, and it's the majority of votes for Arizona."

Mayer added that those behind the Maricopa County audit are "spreading distrust" and "laying the groundwork to challenge American elections in the future."

Mayer told Gross, "The track record of the people who have been put in charge of the audit in Arizona by the Republican Senate in Arizona — the track record is really checkered and strange."

Noting that Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan is a major conspiracy theorist, Mayer explained, "It's crazy stuff, and it's easy to laugh at. But it's actually, when you think about it, not so funny."

When Gross pointed out that Republicans in state legislatures are trying to dramatically alter the administration of elections, Mayer responded, "What you're describing is this very radical attack on the way American elections have functioned since the 19th Century. Since the 19th Century, the states have allowed the popular vote to determine which electors were elected — then cast their ballots and picked the president. It's an indirect form of direct democracy. What's being talked about now and experimented with even, in Arizona, is the idea that the state legislatures themselves would pick the electors. And they would basically pick the president. And since there are, as we know, states with very Republican state legislatures, this would obviously throw off the results of presidential elections."

Mayer continued, "It's a kind of a radical doctrine, but it's being promoted by lawyers on the right and nonprofit groups that are heavily funded on the right. And it is being truly experimented with in Arizona, where there was a piece of legislation, a bill proposed, to do exactly that — to allow the state legislature in Arizona to overturn a presidential election and decide itself where the electors should cast their ballots and for whom…. This business of claiming there's fraud where there's actually not fraud is very important because it sets the stage for the state legislatures to then say, 'Look, this election a mess. We can't rely on the results. We're going to have to take it into our own hands.' These go hand in glove together basically: the idea of election fraud and of the legislatures taking over."

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