Arizona GOP State Sen. Regrets Supporting 'Ridiculous' Audit That 'Makes Us Look Like Idiots'

A Republican Arizona state senator has expressed embarrassment over the ongoing Maricopa County presidential election audit, saying the effort makes the state GOP "look like idiots."

State Sen. Paul Boyer, who previously voted in favor of the audit, now believes that the review is "ridiculous," according to an interview published by The New York Times on Sunday. The Republican-led audit has come considerable scrutiny over allegations of partisan bias, lack of transparency, general incompetence and security concerns.

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

The audit is taking place despite previous audits and recounts that all confirmed President Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump by around 45,000 votes in Maricopa County and 10,457 votes statewide. The audit will not overturn the results of the election, with Biden's victory already having been certified by Congress.

Arizona's Republican-controlled state Senate decided to move forward with the audit last month after a judge overruled opposition from the Republican-controlled Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. The board argued that the election was secure and the results were valid. The Senate initially voted in favor of the audit in December.

The review is being led by Florida-based firm Cyber Ninjas, a company with a CEO who has publicly expressed support for Trump's evidence-free claims that massive voter fraud cost him the White House. It began over two weeks ago, with a deadline for finishing a hand recount initially set for May 14. Only around 250,000 of 2.1 million ballots had been counted as of Sunday, a pace that would put the end of the recount into August, according to the Times.

Arizona Republican Election Audit Embarassment Maricopa County
Republican Arizona state Sen. Paul Boyer has called the ongoing GOP-led 2020 presidential election audit in Maricopa County "ridiculous." This undated file photo shows a ballot box secured with chains and several padlocks. viavado/Getty

On April 30, former GOP Arizona state Representative Anthony Kern, who was present at the pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and expressed support for election fraud conspiracy theories, was photographed taking part in the audit.

On Friday, the Senate backed away from a plan to knock on the doors of voters and inquire about their voting history as part of the audit. The Department of Justice had expressed concerns that the plan could violate laws about voter intimidation days earlier.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has also raised concerns about the audit, maintaining that the audit deviated from "basic industry standards and best practices" and was "an elaborate political stunt, promoted by a few politicians' intent on perpetuating the Big Lie."

Hobbs and her family received several death threats last week over the remarks, prompting Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to order the Arizona Department of Public Safety to provide protection.

"I stand with @katiehobbs," Boyer tweeted early on Monday. "No one should have to deal with this..."

Boyer declined Newsweek's request for further comment.

Update 5/13, 4:05 p.m.: This article has been updated to reflect that Arizona state Sen. Paul Boyer declined Newsweek's request for comment.