Republican-led efforts to re-evaluate the vote in the last fall are spreading as experts and election officials warn that the increase is a serious threat to U.S. democracy.
Central to the push is Arizona, where an independent company employed by the Senate of the Republic-controlled country continues its review of more than 2 million votes in Maricopa County, although previous polls have found no evidence of fraud. With former President Donald Trump and others on the right following a close count - even though there is no official ability to alter the results - GOP officials and voters are pushing for a similar investigation in at least five other states.
In Georgia, a judge last month granted a group of plaintiffs, led by a well-known conspiracy writer, a limited review of ballot papers sent by post to Fulton County. (That attempt is still pending.) In Wisconsin, a spokesman for the Republican state House recently hired a retired police team and a lawyer to investigate the 2020 election.
Maricopa County officials speak out against Arizona election campaign
In Michigan, state election officials have warned local secretaries in two states that county commissioners do not have the authority to require further inspections or third-party reviews of equipment and equipment records. In New Hampshire, a study of a single statehouse race - officials who said they had found no evidence of fraud or dishonesty - was taken by the former president and his supporters, who wanted an extension. And in Pennsylvania, three GOP state attorneys visited the Arizona polling station and called for a similar investigation into the state of Keystone.
"I think people in other parts of the country should look at what's happening in Arizona as an example of what not to do," Bill Gates, a Maricopa County administrator who helped oversee the election, told NBC News. Republic of a lifetime, Gates is among the most outspoken GOP critics.
Tammy Patrick, senior electoral adviser at the Democracy Fund, a non-aligned organization aimed at strengthening the US democratic system, said she had been a long-time advocate for post-election research. But he hesitates to call what is happening in Arizona and what is considered elsewhere as a "book review."
"We are certainly in the dark," he said, calling these efforts more than six months after the 2020 election "impossible" for U.S. democracy.
Part of the GOP's political stance is a widely held belief among Republican voters that the victory of President Joe Biden was illegal. Last week, a University of Quinnipiac poll found that while 64 percent of Americans said Biden's victory was legitimate, two-thirds of GOP voters felt it was wrong. Meanwhile, Trump himself is "still in the thick of it" with the vote review, reports The Washington Post on Wednesday Banned on social media, coming out with a statement after a statement about Arizona's audit and repeated allegations that the election was stolen from him.
"This is not going to end," Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist, said in a recent interview. His podcast "War Room: Pandemic" has highlighted the Maricopa County vote review and other similar efforts that have pushed across the country.
"The November 3 bid will reach a white summit in the summer," he predicted, adding that he thought no Republican would be able to win a primary election next year unless they pushed hard to reconsider the same votes.
"You've seen it in Pennsylvania, you've seen it happen in Michigan, Wisconsin," he said. "It will be built with energy and heat in August and then in autumn. It will be a major issue."
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, said a review of voter turnout in his province created a roadmap for Republicans elsewhere to undermine the election results they did not like.
"They actually wrote a playbook here in Arizona to bring this genre, I don't want to call it an audit, but in other states," Hobbs said. "And it is dangerous. It continues to tarnish the image of our election. It is now more than six months since the 2020 election. We know that it was safe and that the results reflected the will of the electorate accurately."
Hobbs, who announced a third state application on Wednesday, said those who "fired the gun" in the Arizona review "knew they would do nothing to change the election."
"But they have a lot of followers and believers who believe differently," he continued. "Look at what happened on January 6. And this just encourages other situations like this. It's very dangerous."
Voter fraud in the US election is not uncommon. Trump's top security official called the 2020 election "the safest in American history," while Attorney General William Barr at the time said the Department of Justice had found no evidence of anything wrong.
In Arizona, Michigan, Georgia and other presidential contests, a post-election test or report - in some cases, many such reviews - confirmed Biden's victory. But those who are still questioning the final vote say those numbers did not go far enough.
A group of plaintiffs in Georgia who have had limited access to documents in Fulton County, for example, said a previous review did nothing to alleviate their concerns. In some cases, Republics have enacted legislation or attempted to pass legislation related to auditing.