Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward Pushes for Election Audits in Each of State’s 15 Counties | Andrew Stanton/Newsweek

Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward is calling for election audits in every county in the state, even after an audit of Maricopa County upheld the results of the 2020 presidential election. Some Republicans have insisted that former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election due to widespread voter fraud in battleground states like Arizona, even though no substantive evidence has been presented to support the allegations. Audits have also been called in several other states over such unproven claims. In a new video entitled “Special Update,” Ward claims an analysis of election results in Pima County found inconsistencies. Pima is the state’s second-largest county and home to Tucson, a Democratic stronghold. Ward said there should be an audit of not only Pima County but every county in the state. “I’ve been asking for full audits of all 15 of Arizona’s counties,” she said. “We the people will not back down. We will not waver.” The push for more audits comes days after Trump also called for a review in Pima County. In a statement released October 15, the former president claimed that an analysis of mail-in ballots indicates there were “fictitious votes” cast in the county.

Full Article: Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward Pushes for Election Audits in Each of State’s 15 Counties

Arizona: Trump now claims voter fraud in Pima County; officials say he’s wrong | Sam Kmack/Arizona Daily Star

Former President Donald Trump released a statement on Friday claiming there was voter fraud in Pima County’s 2020 election, which county officials have denied. The claim follows the nearly year-long audit in Maricopa County that found President Joe Biden had won by slightly more votes than previously thought. Trump and Arizona Republicans had said for months that the taxpayer-funded audit would flip the election results in favor of Trump. Trump’s new statement points to an influx of mail-in votes that gained the lead for Biden in Pima County, which Trump asserts were fraudulent. He’s made similar claims about other states and counties since last November. Friday’s note also claims that “publicly available data” shows two Pima voting precincts had a ballot return rate greater than 100%, and says that a new election should be called or Trump should be declared the winner in Arizona’s 2020 election. County officials have outright denied the claims of voter fraud. They point out that both Republicans and Democrats were involved in counting Pima County’s ballots multiple times and the results were certified by officials representing both parties in the state.

Full Article: Trump now claims voter fraud in Pima County; officials say he’s wrong | Local news | tucson.com

Arizona audit review shows Cyber Ninjas didn’t count 312K ballots, double counted 23K | Robert Anglen/The Arizona Republic

The hand count in Maricopa County was off by hundreds of thousands of ballots, according to a review of newly released Arizona audit records. Election analysts say Cyber Ninjas’ count was off by about 312,000 and it also double counted almost 23,000 ballots in its months-long review of 2020 election results. The numbers represent the latest challenge to the Arizona Senate’s audit, which was led by Cyber Ninjas, involved more than a thousand volunteers and cost millions of dollars. A 695-page report, produced by former Arizona GOP chair and audit spokesperson Randy Pullen, was supposed to provide a snapshot of all the counts of the 2.1 million ballots cast in the county’s general election. The Arizona Senate released the report late Friday after The Arizona Republic filed a request under the state’s Public Records Law. But Cyber Ninjas didn’t tally as many as 167,000 Maricopa County ballots, according to analysts who reviewed the report for The Republic. The hand-count numbers in the report reflect a 15% error rate when compared with a separate machine count of ballots authorized by the Arizona Senate, they said.

Full Article: Arizona audit review shows Cyber Ninjas didn’t count 312K ballots

Arizona: Judge rejects Senate claim some election audit records are private | Howard Fischer/Arizona Daily Star

A judge rejected a state Senate claim that some of its records about the 2020 election audit are not subject to public disclosure. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah said Tuesday he would not accept the arguments by Kory Langhofer, the attorney for Senate President Karen Fann, that he should just accept the Senate’s assertions the documents at issue are protected by “legislative privilege.’’ “The court finds that the Senate has not carried its burden of overcoming the legal presumption favoring disclosure,’’ the judge wrote in a 13-page order Tuesday. “The record as it stands does not establish that the documents are privileged and that the Senate is entitled to withhold them from the public on that ground.’’ But Hannah offered Langhofer and the Senate an “out’’ of sorts. The judge told them they are free to give the documents to him. And then he will decide, after reviewing them privately, whether they are public. “Otherwise the Senate must disclose the documents forthwith,’’ he said.

Full Article: Judge rejects Arizona Senate’s claim some election audit records are private | Local news | tucson.com

Arizona: Maricopa County officials blast election review’s ‘spread of disinformation’ | Diannie Chavez/Cronkite News

Maricopa County supervisors told a congressional committee Thursday that the state Senate’s review of the county’s 2020 election results amounted to a “staggering refusal to follow the will of the voters.” The remarks came during a House Oversight and Reform Committee that asked whether the Arizona election probe and copycats springing up in other states are a threat to American democracy. The four-hour hearing was sometimes tedious, sometimes fiery, but it did not appear to change any minds. Democrats on the committee called the six-month, multimillion-dollar Cyber Ninjas’ “audit” of the election little more than an attempt to erode confidence in the electoral process by raising multiple conspiratorial questions. And Republicans insisted that more questions need to be asked. “We have identified there are some things we can do better in our elections in Arizona,” said Ken Bennett, the former Arizona secretary of state who was the Senate’s liaison to Cyber Ninjas. “I hope the Legislature and the governor will follow through and … introduce bills to tighten things up.” Bennett said people on both sides of the issue should “understand that there’s nothing wrong with auditing elections.”

Full Article: Maricopa officials blast election review’s ‘spread of disinformation’ – Cronkite News – Arizona PBS

Arizona Vote Review ‘Made Up the Numbers,’ Election Experts Say | Michael Wines and Nick Corasaniti/The New York Times

The circuslike review of the 2020 vote commissioned by Arizona Republicans took another wild turn on Friday when veteran election experts charged that the very foundation of its findings — the results of a hand count of 2.1 million ballots — was based on numbers so unreliable that they appear to be guesswork rather than tabulations. The organizers of the review “made up the numbers,” the headline of the experts’ report reads. The experts, a data analyst for the Arizona Republican Party and two retired executives of an election consulting firm in Boston, said in their report that workers for the investigators failed to count thousands of ballots in a pallet of 40 ballot-filled boxes delivered to them in the spring. The final report by the Republican investigators concluded that President Biden actually won 99 more votes than were reported, and that former President Donald J. Trump tallied 261 fewer votes. But given the large undercount found in just a sliver of the 2.1 million ballots, it would effectively be impossible for the Republican investigators to arrive at such precise numbers, the experts said.

 

Source: Arizona Vote Review ‘Made Up the Numbers,’ Election Experts Say – The New York Times

Arizona Audit Backers Turn on Each Other After Recount Flop | Will Sommer/The Daily Beast

Supporters of Republicans’ controversial “audit” of 2020 presidential election ballots have turned on each other after the partisan investigation failed to find proof of election malfeasance, with disaffected backers even circulating a fabricated rival report they claim shows interference by the “deep state.” The audit report landed with a thud on Friday, only proving, if anything, that Joe Biden won Arizona by more votes than previously realized. On this week’s episode of The Daily Beast’s Fever Dreams podcast, hosts Asawin Suebsaeng and Will Sommer are joined by Arizona Mirror reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy to discuss the audit’s fractious aftermath. “Some people who were involved in the report say the deep state kept the real truth out,” Sommer said on this week’s episode. “The deep state and the politically correct lawyers and RINOs of the GOP suppressed this,” said MacDonald-Evoy, summarizing right-wing critics’ complaints about the anti-climactic audit report. Among the audit report’s new detractors: Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, the controversial inventor whose supposed technology analyzing folds in ballot paper had promised, according to audit supporters, to detect some kind of voter fraud. Instead, the final audit report contained no mention of Pulitzer’s imaging technology, a change Pulitzer attributed on Twitter to “deep state” malfeasance. Asked over email who in the “deep state” supposedly sabotaged his contribution to the report, Pulitzer remained vague. “That’s the big question — is it not?” Pulitzer wrote in an email to The Daily Beast.

Full Article: Arizona Audit Backers Turn on Each Other After Recount Flop

Arizona: ‘We won’: Trump and his allies barrel ahead with election lies despite review confirming his loss | Jeremy Herb and Fredreka Schouten/CNN

The Cyber Ninjas failed to prove fraud in the Arizona 2020 election, but former President Donald Trump’s election fraud crusade is now proceeding as if they’d won — pushing for more “forensic audits” and restrictive voting in that state and elsewhere across the country. Trump’s allies are already demanding a new review of another Arizona county won by President Joe Biden. They are launching more partisan ballot reviews in other states following the Arizona playbook after passing laws making it harder to vote earlier this year. And they are calling for decertification of Arizona’s 2020 election despite the lack of fraud, as part of a larger effort to validate Trump’s “Big Lie” and undermine the 2020 election results. The lesson they’re taking from Arizona’s Maricopa County ballot review is not that they failed and should stop, but rather that they should try to avoid the negative scrutiny that hounded the Cyber Ninjas’ review and “do it better” in states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, even if there’s no evidence of fraud, said Sarah Longwell, a conservative publisher and executive director of the conservative group Defending Democracy Together. “It has nothing to do with auditing votes,” Longwell told CNN. “It has to do with creating a cloud of suspicion around the elections and keeping their fraud narrative front and center.”

Full Article: Arizona election audit: Trump and his allies barrel ahead with election lies despite review confirming his loss – CNNPolitics

Arizona Secretary of State’s Ability to Defend Election Laws Restored By Judge’s Ruling | Mary Ellen Cagnassola/Newsweek

Republican-passed laws in Arizona that ban schools form requiring masks and restrict the ability of local governments to enact COVID-19 requirements were dismantled by a judge Monday, a devastating blow to a nationwide GOP effort to limit pandemic rules. The decision by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper could create a path for Arizona cities and countries to enact mask requirements, if it withstands an impending appeal. Nearly 30 public school systems ignored the laws and required masks for students and staff. Republican Governor Doug Ducey‘s office called the ruling “clearly an example of judicial overreach.” “Arizona’s state government operates with three branches, and it’s the duty and authority of only the legislative branch to organize itself and to make laws,” C.J. Karamargin said in a statement. “Unfortunately, today’s decision is the result of a rogue judge interfering with the authority and processes of another branch of government.”

Full Article: Arizona Secretary of State’s Ability to Defend Election Laws Restored By Judge’s Ruling

Arizona Senate leaders confirm Biden win but call for further review of election procedures | Mary Jo Pitzl and Jen Fifield/Arizona Republic

The Maricopa County election review hit a crescendo Friday when its results were presented to the Arizona Senate Republicans who ordered it in the heated aftermath of last year’s presidential election. It was a major milestone — if not the end — of the nearly 10-month odyssey pushed largely by election conspiracists loyal to former President Donald Trump, who believed a thorough review would show county elections officials didn’t get it right. But any hopes for such a conclusion were dashed early by Senate President Karen Fann, R-Prescott, who confirmed in her opening remarks what draft versions of the reports leaked to journalists the day before said: The hand recount of ballots showed Joe Biden won the election in Maricopa County, cementing his win in Arizona. “That is a true statement. Truth is truth, numbers are numbers,” Fann said as a packed audience in the Senate gallery listened quietly. She added, though, that she believed there were “broken statutes” and flawed election procedures — issues that she would turn over to Attorney General Mark Brnovich to investigate.

Full Article: Arizona audit: Senate confirms Biden win, but more review to come

Arizona Republican Review of Vote Fails to Show Stolen Election | Jack Healy, Michael Wines and Nick Corasaniti/The New York Times

After months of delays and blistering criticism, a review of the 2020 election in Arizona’s largest county, ordered up and financed by Republicans, has failed to show that former President Donald J. Trump was cheated of victory, according to draft versions of the report. In fact, the draft report from the company Cyber Ninjas found just the opposite: It tallied 99 additional votes for President Biden and 261 fewer votes for Mr. Trump in Maricopa County, the fast-growing region that includes Phoenix. The full review is set to be released on Friday, but draft versions circulating through Arizona political circles were obtained by The New York Times from a Republican and a Democrat. Late on Thursday night, Maricopa County, whose Republican leaders have derided the review, got a jump on the official release by tweeting out its conclusions. “The county’s canvass of the 2020 General Election was accurate and the candidates certified as the winners did, in fact, win,” the county said on Twitter. It then criticized the review as “littered with errors and faulty conclusions.”

Full Article: Republican Review of Arizona Vote Fails to Show Stolen Election – The New York Times

Arizona ballot review undermined election security, new Center for Internet Security leaders say | Benjamin Freed/StateScoop

Two of the former statewide election officials recently hired to lead the Center for Internet Security’s election security efforts said Friday that the partisan ballot review in Maricopa County, Arizona, undermined the work that election officials have done to secure elections over the past few years. “It’s the very opposite of what election officials around the country have been working to do,” said former Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar, who started earlier this month as CIS’s new vice president of election operations and support. “There’s no need to make up stuff because we have practices that exist that dedicated officials at the state and local level have been carrying out.” Boockvar’s comments came the same day the Arizona Senate is due to hold a hearing on the results of a five-month inspection of more than 2.1 million ballots from Maricopa County, a process that was ordered up by supporters of former President Donald Trump who objected to his loss last year to Joe Biden. A draft of the report by Cyber Ninjas, the third-party company that was hired to conduct the ballot inspection — which was so fraught that Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs decertified the county’s entire inventory of voting equipment — once again confirmed President Biden’s win, though it continued to push claims about election officials’ conduct that Maricopa County officials have said are false.

Full Article: Arizona ballot review undermined election security, new EI-ISAC leaders say

The Arizona Election Audit Is Still Unraveling in Chaos | David A. Graham/The Atlantic

If you’ve forgotten about the Arizona “audit” of Maricopa County’s votes in the 2020 election, you can be forgiven. At times, it seems like the audits’ backers have forgotten about it too. Arizona state-Senate Republicans launched the process this spring as a response to false claims of election fraud spread by several of themselves, as well as former President Donald Trump. The Senate hired Cyber Ninjas, a firm run by a “Stop the Steal” backer that has repeatedly declined to offer any evidence it is qualified for the job. The process was originally expected to conclude by May 14. This was a hard deadline, because the coliseum rented for the count was due to hold another event. But the count missed that deadline, and the process resumed later in May. May turned to June, and Donald Trump was reportedly telling people that he expected to be reinstated to the presidency in August, once the audit proved that fraud had tainted the election results. (Never mind that there remains no evidence of widespread fraud, and that there’s no mechanism for a former president to be reinstated mid-term.) By July, the due date was mid-August.

Full Article: The Arizona Election Audit Is Still Unraveling in Chaos – The Atlantic

Arizona: Cyber Ninjas, flouting court order, refuse to turn over public records to the Senate | Jeremy Duda/Arizona Mirror

Cyber Ninjas won’t hand over all of the documents that Senate President Karen Fann requested from the review it conducted of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, despite an order by the Arizona Court of Appeals that all such records be made public. Attorney Jack Wilenchik, who represents the Florida-based company that led the election review that Fann ordered, argued to the Senate’s lawyer that the staffing records and internal communications are not public records, and said Cyber Ninjas will not turn them over as the Senate president requested. The company will provide “full financial statements” about the audit, either as part of the report that will become public on Sept. 24, or shortly thereafter, Wilenchik wrote in an email to Senate attorney Kory Langhofer on Friday. And it will provide its communications with the Senate, which have not been made public, and any updated policies and procedures its subcontractors have used during the audit. But staffing records, as well as internal communications and communications with subcontractors, are private records, Wilenchik wrote. For example, Wilenchik said it would not be “practical, workable, fair or legal” for the company to be forced to turn over internal company emails about staffing and Cyber Ninjas’ performance of its contract with the Senate. “If the case were otherwise, then it would set an extremely unsettling precedent for all government contractors in this state and make it impossible for the State to do business,” Wilenchik wrote. Furthermore, Wilenchik said Fann’s request for all records that have “a substantial nexus to the audit” — a phrase that the Arizona Court of Appeals used to describe documents that the Senate must obtain and publicly release under the state’s public records law — is vague and difficult to define.

Full Article: Cyber Ninjas, flouting court order, refuse to turn over public records to the Senate

Arizona Supreme Court allows release of Senate audit records | Bob Christie/Associated Press

The Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an effort by the state Senate to keep secret records of its ongoing review of the 2020 election in Maricopa County that are in the possession of the contractors conducting the recount. The high court without comment rejected the appeal filed after an appeals court and trial court both ruled the documents are public records that must be released. The court also dissolved a stay on the appeals court ruling it put in place on Aug. 24 so it could review the record and decide whether to accept the appeal. The Arizona Court of Appeals had ruled that the documents sought by the watchdog group American Oversight detailing how the recount and audit are being conducted are public and must be turned over. Republicans who control the Senate have tried for months to keep secret how their contractors are conducting the recount. They argued that because the records are maintained by Senate contractors, they were not subject to public records law and that legislative immunity applies. But the appeals court in its Aug. 19 ruling rejected that argument. The court said the main contractor, Florida company Cyber Ninjas, was subject to the records law because it was performing a core government function that the Senate farmed out.

Full Article: Arizona Supreme Court allows release of Senate audit records

Arizona: 42% of Maricopa County budget on the line as officials discuss next move on senators’ election subpoenas | Jen Fifield/Arizona Republic

Maricopa County stands to lose hundreds of millions in state funding — an estimated 42% of the money it uses to run the county’s day-to-day operations such as public safety, the court system and public health — if officials don’t act soon. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said last month that, by not fully responding to subpoenas for election information issued by a few state Senate leaders, the county had violated state law and would lose state money, amounting to about $676 million of the $1.6 billion in general fund revenue the county expects this fiscal year. Key among the Senate’s demands: access to the county’s routers. Brnovich gave the county 30 days to respond, with a deadline of Sept. 27. The supervisors are considering how to move forward. They met in a closed-door session to discuss the issue on Thursday, but didn’t come to any decision. Supervisors were not immediately available for comment. “Productive talks today,” county spokesperson Jason Berry said. “We’ll act before the deadline.” Among the various options, he said, are further responding to the subpoenas, attempting to negotiate with the Senate or filing a lawsuit. The fight continues to pit county Republicans — four of five supervisors and Recorder Stephen Richer are Republican — against state Republicans, including Brnovich and the two senators who issued the subpoenas, Senate President Karen Fann and Senate Judiciary Chairman Warren Petersen.

Full Article: Maricopa County supervisors debate compliance with Senate subpoenas

Arizona canvass report draws nonsensical conclusions | Ali Swenson/Associated Press

A report released this week in Arizona’s largest county falsely claims to have uncovered some 173,000 “lost” votes and 96,000 “ghost votes” in a private door-to-door canvassing effort, supposedly rendering the 2020 election in Maricopa County “uncertifiable.” But its conclusions aren’t supported by any evidence, according to county election officials and outside election experts, who called the report’s methods “quasi-science” and its findings inaccurate. Still, the 11-page document ⁠— which is separate from an ongoing partisan audit in the county ⁠— has been shared widely in conservative media and by Republican politicians, including state Rep. Mark Finchem, who is campaigning to be Arizona’s secretary of state — the state’s top election official. Report author Liz Harris, an unsuccessful Republican legislative candidate and a real estate agent in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, declined to respond to specific questions but said a more comprehensive version of the report would be released soon. Here’s a closer look at the facts.

CLAIM: An estimated 173,104 “missing or lost” votes and an estimated 96,389 “ghost” votes cast by people who didn’t appear to live at their voter registration addresses indicate that the 2020 election in Maricopa County included irregularities and is “uncertifiable.”

THE FACTS: The report doesn’t provide evidence for these far-fetched claims, and the county’s election results have been certified for months.

Source: FACT FOCUS: AZ canvass report draws nonsensical conclusions

Arizona Senate releases more records of 2020 election review | Bob Christie/Associated Press

Lawyers representing the Republican-controlled Arizona Senate in a review of 2020 election results in the state’s most populous county released a slew of communications between GOP lawmakers, their audit liasions and others under a court order obtained by a watchdog group that is fighting for transparency in the election recount. Among the communications were text messages from a top campaign official of former President Donald Trump to Senate liaison Randy Pullen asking where to send $175,000 to help pay for the partisan recount. Former Trump campaign chief operating officer and ex-Arizona state Treasurer Jeff DeWit also asked Pullen if another group raising funds for the audit was legitimate, saying “Trump asking.” The Senate records were not complete. Senate attorney Kory Langhofer told a judge Wednesday that it withheld nearly 3,000 records because they contained legislative or attorney-client communications he says are privileged. Other records sought by American Oversight remain the subject of a court battle. A judge had also ordered the Senate’s contractor, including the Florida company that is overseeing the audit, to produce its records.

Full Article: Arizona Senate releases more records of 2020 election review

Arizona Attorney General: County must comply with 2020 election subpoena | Bob Christie/Associated Press

An Arizona county that has resisted parts of a subpoena issued by the state Senate as it reviews how it handled the 2020 election must turn over everything the Senate wants or lose all its state funding, the state attorney general said Thursday. Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued the decision after a Republican senator asked him if Maricopa County’s refusal to hand over routers, passwords and other items the Senate says it needs to complete the unprecedented partisan review violated state law. The county has turned over its vote-counting machines, servers and huge amounts of data but balked at handing over routers it uses county-wide and passwords it says it does not control. But the county board of supervisors has said the routers were never connected to election tabulation equipment but were used by every county department, including the sheriff’s office, and that turning them over would compromise sensitive law enforcement information. Brnovich, also a Republican, said that refusal to comply with the Senate’s subpoena violates state law and triggers another law that penalizes counties, cities or towns that have policies in conflict with laws enacted by the Legislature. The county has until Sept. 27 to comply or it will lose all the revenue it gets from the state — about 25% of its budget, which was $2.8 billion in 2020.

Full Article: Arizona AG: County must comply with 2020 election subpoena

Arizona: Covid Outbreak Delays Report on G.O.P.’s Election Review | Michael Wines/The New York Times

A draft report on a much-ridiculed review of the 2020 election results in Arizona’s largest county has been delayed by a Covid-19 outbreak on the team preparing the analysis, the Republican president of the Arizona State Senate said on Monday. The president, Senator Karen Fann, said in a statement that three people on the five-member team were “quite sick,” including Doug Logan, the chief executive of the Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, that is in charge of the review. A portion of the draft was still set to be delivered to Ms. Fann on Monday, but the remainder will await the recovery of the three team members. Lawyers for the State Senate will begin reviewing the partial draft on Wednesday, Ms. Fann said, and more meetings will be required before the findings of the review are made public. The statement offered no hint of the contents of the partial draft. Mr. Logan and others involved in the review have previously claimed to have found irregularities in the official results of the November balloting, only to see those allegations debunked by election officials. Mr. Logan’s company began reviewing 2.1 million ballots and election equipment from Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, in April on orders of the Republican majority in the State Senate. Ms. Fann has said that the review was conducted to address claims of voter fraud by supporters of former President Donald J. Trump, though no evidence of widespread fraud exists. She has also said that President Biden’s narrow victories in both the county and the state would remain official regardless of the findings.

Full Article: Covid Outbreak Delays Report on Arizona G.O.P.’s Election Review – The New York Times

Arizona’s sham election ‘audit’ report delayed after Cyber Ninjas CEO and others test positive for Covid-19 | Eric Bradner and Stephanie Becker/CNN

The report detailing the findings of contractors who conducted Arizona’s sham “audit” of last year’s election results — which had been expected Monday — will be late because three of the five members of the auditing team have tested positive for coronavirus, the state’s Republican Senate leader says. Cyber Ninjas Chief Executive Officer Doug Logan, whose firm was hired by the Republican-led Arizona Senate to audit the 2.1 million votes cast in Maricopa County in 2020’s presidential race, and two other members of the five-person audit team tested positive “and are quite sick,” Senate President Karen Fann said in a statement. Logan and other members of his team were often seen during the recount process without masks. It is not clear whether those who tested positive had been vaccinated. CNN reached out to Cyber Ninjas requesting comment. Elections experts in both parties have said for months that results of the “audit” — pushed for by Republican lawmakers and conducted by the Florida-based company, which had no experience auditing election results and whose chief executive, Logan, has repeated wild conspiracy theories about election fraud — will not be credible.

Full Article: Arizona’s sham election ‘audit’ report delayed after Cyber Ninjas CEO and others test positive for Covid-19 – CNNPolitics

Arizona elections officials rip audit ahead of Cyber Ninjas report | Jen Fifield Ryan Randazzo/Arizona Republic

Two agencies that oversee Arizona elections went on the offensive Thursday to debunk and discredit the soon-to-be released results of the Senate’s unconventional and partisan review of Maricopa County’s 2020 general election. Two reports released by Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican, and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, highlighted the erroneous and insecure nature of the audit conducted by Senate contractors. They also reiterated the ways that the county and state verified the election was sound. The bipartisan effort to discredit the results from lead contractor Cyber Ninjas before they are released was not coordinated, Richer said. But both were seemingly aimed at the same purpose — getting ahead of misinformation or inaccuracies that may be in the Cyber Ninjas report. The Senate contractors are expected to deliver a final report to the Senate soon, with a spokesperson indicating that it could be as soon as Monday. Their review wrapped up last month, after starting in April. Richer said he suspected he and the Secretary of State released their reports on the same day because “we both heard over the weekend that ninjas would deliver on Friday and then figured, ‘Well shit, better hurry up,'” he said in a text message. Senate President Karen Fann did not have immediate comment on the reports. Representatives for Cyber Ninjas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Full Article: 2 Arizona elections officials rip audit ahead of Cyber Ninjas report

Arizona judge gives Senate 2 weeks to release records | Ryan Randazzo/Arizona Republic

A judge on Wednesday ordered the Arizona Senate to turn over thousands of outstanding documents related to the Maricopa County election review by Aug. 31, even as the legal battle over some records held by the private contractor running the effort lingers. The Senate’s attorney, Kory Langhofer, said the Senate is preparing about 10,000 documents, including emails about the audit, to release in an online reading room where records from the audit are posted. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Kemp ordered their release in two weeks. A nonprofit group called American Oversight sued the Senate for records from the audit, as did The Arizona Republic. Both cases are ongoing. The Senate has said it will produce records that are in its possession, but not records held by its contractor, Cyber Ninjas. American Oversight was founded in part by former Obama administration officials to investigate the Trump administration. The group first requested, then sued for, a variety of records, including communications between the Senate and Cyber Ninjas.

Full Article: Arizona audit: County judge gives Senate 2 weeks to release records

Arizona: Cyber Ninjas leader ignored records contradicting his false claim | Jeremy Duda and Garrett Archer/Arizona Mirror

Speaking before several thousand supporters at a “Rally to Protect Our Elections” in downtown Phoenix, former President Donald Trump recited a litany of alleged findings from the Arizona Senate’s self-styled election audit, including a debunked claim that 74,000 mail-in ballots were counted despite no record of them being sent to voters. “There’s no record of them being sent, but they were counted. So, nobody knows where the hell are they?” Trump told the crowd at Arizona Federal Theatre on July 24. The former president didn’t realize it, but Trump personally found a voter who had cast one of those ballots. Later in his speech, he asked each of the Republican gubernatorial candidates who had spoken earlier in the day to stand up and be recognized. Among those candidates was state Treasurer Kimberly Yee, who was one of the 74,000 voters. She was, in fact, very real, and had cast a perfectly legal ballot. According to Maricopa County’s files, Yee cast her ballot in-person at an early voting center on Oct. 28. Trump’s claim stemmed from a statement made by Doug Logan, the leader of the election review team, that 74,243 mail-in ballots were counted that had “no clear record of them being sent.” Right-wing pundits and supporters of the so-called audit, including those funding it, seized on the number and dubbed those people “phantom voters” who stole the election from Trump.

 

Source: Cyber Ninjas leader ignored records contradicting his false claim

Arizona: ‘Botched’ GOP ballot count ends, troubles persist | Jonathan J. Cooper/Associated Press

Arizona Republicans’ partisan review of the 2020 election results got off to a rocky start when their contractors broke rules for counting ballots and election experts warned the work was dangerous for democracy. When the auditors stopped the counting and returned the ballots this week, it hadn’t gotten better. In the last week alone, the only audit leader with substantial election experience was locked out of the building, went on the radio to say he was quitting, then reversed course hours later. The review’s Twitter accounts were suspended for breaking the rules. A conservative Republican senator withdrew her support, calling the process “botched.” And the lead auditor confirmed what was long suspected: that his work was almost entirely paid for by supporters of Donald Trump who were active in the former president’s movement to spread false narratives of fraud. All this came nearly 100 days into a process that was supposed to take “about 60 days,” according to the Senate Republicans who launched it. And it’s not over yet. Contractors are now producing a report on the findings that could take weeks or more to write. The turmoil casts even more doubt on the conclusions of what backers describe as a “forensic audit” but what experts and critics say is a deeply flawed, partisan process. “Not even a shred of being salvaged at this point,” said Sen. Paul Boyer, the first Republican state senator to publicly come out against the audit in May. “They’ve botched it at so many points along the way that it’s irrecoverable.”

 

Full Article: ‘Botched’: Arizona GOP’s ballot count ends, troubles persist

Arizona: In recount fight, Maricopa County and Dominion Voting Systems defy new subpoenas by state Senate | Jen Fifield and Mary Jo Pitzl/Arizona Republic

Maricopa County supervisors and Dominion Voting Systems refused to produce additional election material on Monday in response to new subpoenas filed by the Arizona Senate. The subpoenas, issued July 26 by Republican Senate leaders, demanded that representatives for the county Board of Supervisors and Dominion appear and produce the materials by 1 p.m. Monday at the state Capitol. Instead, county officials and a Dominion attorney sent Senate President Karen Fann a letter outlining why they will not comply. However, county officials said they will work with the Senate to provide some documents sought via a public-records request. Fann, in a released statement, said she saw some progress in the Senate’s efforts to get county cooperation, but took a wait-and-see stance on the refusal to produce subpoenaed materials. “It is unfortunate the noncompliance by the County and Dominion continues to delay the results and breeds distrust,” she said. The subpoenas demanded routers, machine passwords and voter registration records from the county, and the same machine passwords from Dominion. Instead of complying, attorneys for Dominion and the supervisors sent letters to the Senate. The supervisors said they have given what they are legally and responsibly able to provide, and Dominion said that they don’t legally have to provide anything, given they are a public company.

Full Article: Arizona audit: Maricopa County, Dominion won’t comply with subpoenas

Arizona: Republican-led ballot review grinds to rocky conclusion, with results expected next month | Rosalind S. Helderman/The Washington Post

The Arizona Senate returned nearly 2.1 million ballots to the control of the state’s largest county Thursday as the GOP-led recount of votes cast in the 2020 presidential election drew to a rocky close, marked by upheaval that is likely to further undermine public confidence in its conclusions, set to be announced next month. A key audit official resigned Wednesday after voicing concerns about a lack of transparency by private contractors hired to lead the effort to scrutinize the ballots cast in Maricopa County — and then, hours later, took back his resignation, telling local reporters that he had negotiated better access to the process. Meanwhile, Twitter on Tuesday suspended a string of accounts that had been promoting the ballot review, including one that had been billed as the audit’s official handle, saying that they violated company policies on “platform manipulation and spam.” Also this week, a previously supportive Republican state senator announced that she believed the audit has been “botched” — the third member of a 16-member caucus to express reservations over a process that was ordered up by the chamber’s GOP leadership. The tumult provided a dramatic capstone to a widely criticized review of the 2020 election that has been decried by election experts and Maricopa County officials and has deeply divided Arizona Republicans.

 

Full Article: Republican-led Arizona ballot review grinds to rocky conclusion, with results expected next month – The Washington Post

Arizona: Why the Election Audit Circus Just Won’t End | Ed Kilgore/New York Magazine

Former President Donald Trump railed against the news media earlier this month for dismissing the “massive number of voter irregularities and fraud” that ostensibly took place during the 2020 election in Arizona. He was responding to an AP report that found fewer than 200 cases of potential voter fraud out of 3 million ballots cast in the state. As the outlet notes, this “align[s] with previous studies showing voter fraud is rare.” But Trump and his allies in Arizona have not been dissuaded by such independent findings, or their own failure to turn up any convincing evidence that Joe Biden only won the state through nefarious means. Since April, private parties answering to a faction of Republicans in the state Senate have been conducting an “audit” of Maricopa County’s 2020 election results. The effort has been derided as incompetent and unwarranted by outside experts, the Justice Department, and even other local Republicans — yet the audit chugs on in self-induced darkness. While the tabulation of votes is supposedly complete, this week top Republicans in the Arizona Senate issued subpoenas demanding even more election materials from the county.

 

Full Article: Why the Arizona Election Audit Circus Just Won’t End

Arizona: Trump supporters raise $5.7M for election audit | Jonathan J. Cooper/Associated Press

Groups connected to prominent supporters of former President Donald Trump’s movement to cast doubt on the 2020 election results have raised $5.7 million for Arizona Republicans’ election audit. Doug Logan, CEO of Cyber Ninjas, the little-known firm hired to lead the audit, ended months of silence about who was paying for it and how much it cost Wednesday night. The money from pro-Trump groups dwarfs the $150,000 contributed by the Arizona Senate, which commissioned the audit and hired Cyber Ninjas. Among those leading the fundraising groups are Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor; Sydney Powell, his attorney who filed a number of baseless lawsuits challenging election results; Patrick Byrne, a former chief executive of Overstock.com; and correspondents from the pro-Trump One America News Network. The confirmation that the audit is being overwhelmingly funded by groups promoting false narratives about the election will raise further questions about the validity of the final report. The audit has already been widely discredited by election experts who say Cyber Ninjas and other contractors are biased and using unusual procedures that won’t produce reliable results. “When the sources of the money, and the activity that’s being paid for, and the people being paid are all putting forth falsehoods … it’s incredibly troubling and problematic,” said Tammy Patrick, a senior adviser at the Democracy Fund and a former Maricopa County elections official.

 

Full Article: Trump supporters raise $5.7M for Arizona election audit

GOP liaison to Arizona audit says he is resigning, won’t be ‘rubber stamp’ on final report | Allan Smith and Jane C. Timm/NBC

The Republican serving as liaison between the Arizona state Senate and the private company conducting a partisan ballot review said Wednesday he intends to resign, citing his inability to back the final product. Ken Bennett, a former Arizona secretary of state, said he made the decision after it became clear he would not regain access to the Phoenix fairgrounds where the private company, Cyber Ninjas, continues its examination of millions of ballots cast last November in Maricopa County. “Right now I’m the liaison in name only,” he told conservative radio host James Harris Wednesday. “I don’t know if that makes me a LINO or what.” Bennett, who has been the public face of the review, was first barred from entering the audit site Friday after he shared some results with outside election experts, according to The Arizona Republic. Those experts told the paper that what they reviewed indicated the auditors’ vote tally was in line with the results reported by the county. “I’ve always tried to act as a man of integrity and honesty and I’m sure I don’t accomplish that all the time, but I cannot put a rubber stamp on a product I am being locked out of its development,” he said Wednesday. “I’m going to step down today. I’ll issue a statement later for the press later this morning.” Arizona state Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, said in a statement to NBC News on Wednesday that a liaison is no longer needed on-site because the tabulation of votes is complete and ballots will be returned to Maricopa County on Thursday.

 

Full Article: GOP liaison to Arizona audit says he is resigning, won’t be ‘rubber stamp’ on final report