'It makes us look like idiots': Arizona state senator disowns widely criticized election recount after seeing it in action

Contractors working for Cyber Ninjas, the firm the Arizona State Senate hired to conduct an audit of general-election votes, examine ballots in Phoenix on May 3. Courtney Pedroza for the Washington Post

A GOP state senator in Arizona described the controversial vote audit in Maricopa County as "ridiculous" and an embarrassment in an interview with The New York Times on Friday.

Sen. Paul Boyer, a Republican who represents a suburb of Phoenix, told the publication that he initially supported and voted for the audit but that he regretted doing so after seeing how poorly it was being conducted.

"It makes us look like idiots," Boyer said. "Looking back, I didn't think it would be this ridiculous. It's embarrassing to be a state senator at this point."

Republicans in the state Legislature commissioned the audit, saying they were investigating whether the vote was tainted by fraud.

Former President Donald Trump has said the election was stolen from him because of mass fraud, a baseless claim that numerous courts have rejected.

Joe Biden won in Maricopa County and in Arizona, surprising and enraging Republicans who had been banking on the state voting for Trump.

The county and the state also elected a Democrat, Mark Kelly, to the US Senate.

Last week, observers of the audit appointed by Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, described it as sloppy and haphazard.

They said there were no clear procedures to ensure the integrity of the recount or record the result securely and accurately.

They said that the people conducting the audit appeared to be seeking to verify conspiracy theories about mass fraud, using UV lights and other unproven technology to do so.

Hobbs has expressed concern that the audit could be used as a template to undermine other legitimate election results. The US Department of Justice has also objected to the execution of the audit.

The audit is being conducted by Cyber Ninjas, a firm whose founder has expressed support for Trump's election-fraud claims.

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