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Alaska lawmaker visits site of partisan Arizona audit

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska lawmaker said he plans to use his legislative office account to pay for a trip to Arizona to visit a partisan audit of the 2020 election.

Rep. David Eastman, a Wasilla Republican, told the Anchorage Daily News the trip was on behalf of his constituents and said he wasn’t aware of any other Alaska legislators attending. Some legislators from other states, including Pennsylvania, have recently attended.

The Alaska Legislature is in a special session, though floor and committee action has been limited as negotiators try to reach a budget deal.

Arizona Republican Senate President Karen Fann used legislative subpoena powers to take control of 2.1 million ballots, counting machines and hard drives of data from Maricopa County after former President Donald Trump complained without evidence that his loss in Arizona was marred by fraud. The GOP-controlled county Board of Supervisors has called the audit a “sham” and said Fann’s auditors are incompetent.

Experts in election administration have been critical of the auditors, saying they are not using reliable or consistent procedures.

Eastman, via text message, said regardless of the audit’s outcome, “Arizonans will have confidence in their process. Alaskans deserve to have that same level of confidence.”

Alaska Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, who oversees elections in Alaska, said he was disappointed by Eastman’s trip. Meyer, a former state legislator, said legislators should be in Juneau.

After the 2020 election in Alaska, Meyer said he would seek an audit of a hotly contested ballot measure to help put to rest questions some had raised about the validity of election results tied to the vote tabulation equipment the state uses.

The audit affirmed the measure’s passage, and the director of the Alaska Division of Elections said the audit showed “what the division knew it would, that our equipment worked properly, and the 2020 general election was administered accurately and fairly in the state of Alaska.”

Trump carried Alaska.

Alaska House members receive up to $12,000 a year for an office account. Alaska lawmakers have not been eligible for a separate, daily allowance since the special session started May 20 because a budget has not yet passed.

The Associated Press