Maricopa County Arizona Election Audit Is Pure Folly

Election employees count tallies at the Maricopa County Inventory and Election Center in Phoenix, Ariz., November 6, 2020. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

The election leads to Arizona’s biggest county have actually been licensed and verified numerous times. This audit effort has actually been pure recklessness.

I’m a libertarian-minded Republican politician. I dislike taxes. Specifically the earnings tax. However I pay all needed taxes.

I believe you likewise pay your taxes. And like many Americans, you most likely don’t cheat or lie.

Because of that, although an Internal Revenue Service audit may irritate you and trigger you some tension, you’d ultimately recognize that you have absolutely nothing to fear as long as the audit is done relatively and correctly.

However you’d likely feel in a different way if the Internal Revenue Service contracted out the audit to somebody who:

  • Had no suitable expert qualifications
  • Had never ever formerly run a tax audit
  • Thought that Hugo Chavez had actually nefariously managed your tax-auditing software application
  • Had actually openly specified prior to analyzing your taxes that you’d definitely devoted tax scams

That is what is taking place to elections in Maricopa County, Ariz. — the house of nearly two-thirds of Arizona’s voting population.

In the instant after-effects of the November 3, 2020, election, Maricopa County managed a hand-count audit of over 47,000 votes, a statistically substantial tasting as figured out by numerous expert statisticians. The acknowledged political celebrations — Republican, Democrat, and Libertarian — administered the hand count in groups of 3 volunteers designated by celebration management. Those hand-counted outcomes matched the machine-tabulated outcomes with one hundred percent precision. Perfect precision. This was the 3rd hand count carried out by the political celebrations in 2020 that validated the precision of Maricopa County’s inventory devices.

The very same holds true of the pre-election and post-election tests done of the inventory devices — one hundred percent precision. The devices are state and federally licensed, and the county has actually utilized devices owned by the very same moms and dad business (Rule) given that 1998 without issues or disparities.

Nevertheless, in February, the county got 2 expert, qualified elections-equipment business to examine the oft-voiced issues concerning the Rule inventory software application and hardware. The county asked the 2 election business to do whatever essential to:

  • Examine hacking vulnerabilities of both the inventory software and hardware
  • Validate that no malware had actually been set up to the tabulators
  • Identify if the tabulators had actually linked to the Web at any point previously, throughout, or after the election
  • Evaluate if any vote changing happened as an outcome of the tabulators

Both business utilized methods developed throughout numerous previous evaluations. Neither business discovered issues with the tabulators. Their reports are offered online.

We likewise had the advantage of the 8 lawsuit challenging Maricopa County’s election administration. None of those 8 cases discovered any prevalent error, scams, or misdeed. Just 2 were dismissed for absence of standing.

Armed with these realities and expert evaluations, I made the only affordable conclusion I might make: Maricopa County properly arranged the November 3 tallies. I state this with no predisposition or skin in the video game. The paradox of all of this is that I was simply a prospect in November. In reality, I beat the incumbent Democrat who was formerly the leading elections authorities for the county. (I guess he forgot to rig his own election? Or was it a clever ruse?)

But the Arizona Senate didn’t feel comfortable with that conclusion and is now conducting its own audit. For an unknown reason, Maricopa County is the only county of Arizona’s 15 counties being audited, and only the top two contests on the ballot — the presidential, in which Joe Biden (D) beat incumbent Donald Trump (R), and the Senate race, in which Mark Kelly (D) defeated incumbent Martha McSally (R) — are being audited. Down-ballot, Republicans held the state legislature and won five of the six countywide seats.

At least one professional, widely known, certified elections company (Clear Ballot) applied to do the Senate’s audit. The Senate rejected that official bid.

The Senate has not provided any details on its selection process and ultimately chose a company that did not formally apply. That company is Cyber Ninjas — a tiny cybersecurity company from Sarasota, Fla. This is the first election audit ever run by Cyber Ninjas. You did not read that wrong: Before being handed the lead position in maybe the most consequential post-election audit ever, Cyber Ninjas had run zero election audits. Understandably, nobody in the elections community had ever heard of Cyber Ninjas. Neither Christian Ziegler, vice chairman of the Republican Party of Florida — where the Cyber Ninjas are from — nor Representative Vern Buchanan, whose election in 2006 caused changes to Florida election law, had formerly heard of, or worked with, Cyber Ninjas. That’s right: The state that gave America the hanging chad had never heard of Cyber Ninjas.

Even more troubling than the lack of any election-audit experience are the publicly stated beliefs of Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan.

Logan has indulged the wildest election conspiracy theories, including the one that deceased Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez somehow had a hand in rigging America’s elections. Perhaps because of the malignant influence of Chavez, Logan had already concluded, prior to even starting the audit, that the nation’s elections were fraudulent (“I’m tired of hearing people say there was no fraud. It happened, it’s real, and people better get wise fast,” read a tweet he once retweeted). He also authored a report called “Election Fraud Facts & Details” for conspiracy-theorist-in-chief Sidney Powell, who has started singing a very different tune since getting sued by Dominion for defamation.

The resulting audit is about what you’d expect. The auditors spent days using UV lights looking for watermarks as a result of a popular QAnon theory about the election (Maricopa County’s ballots don’t have watermarks), and they’re still examining the paper ballots for traces of bamboo fibers to prove that the ballots were fraudulently flown in from China (our ballots are printed in none other than Arizona). The volunteer workers of the audit are recruited mostly from Republican Party sources, including a former Arizona Republican Party chairman and a former Republican state legislator who was on the November 3 ballot and also at the January 6 rally at the Capitol. Just how Republican-heavy the workforce is has not been disclosed. There is no documented process for vetting audit workers, but that component is now being managed by Patrick Byrne, another election conspiracy theorist and friend of Sidney Powell.

The methodology is no better. It’s a slipshod process that would never be used by professional election auditors and which has earned the widespread ridicule of election officials. Cyber Ninjas even committed the rookie mistake of having a blue pen (which can be used to mark ballots) in the ballot-counting area. The company only learned of this faux-pas when an on-site journalist expressed concern (and journalists have not been allowed at all parts of the audit). The subcontractor who set up the recount process recently decided to walk off the job after having only completed one-fourth of the ballots. The hand count was originally set to finish in mid May, but despite having tables that rotate ballots at a whiplash speed and likely faster than volunteers can count, the count is still ongoing.

As for the funding of this multi-month endeavor, it’s dripping with irony. The same people who have thrown fits that Mark Zuckerberg very publicly, transparently, and lawfully provided grant funding to help election officials during coronavirus are now shaking the can for private, undisclosed donations to this audit. They’ve already raised millions of dollars and have benefited from the munificence of far-from-impartial sources such as One America News Network and pro-Trump conspiracy theorist lawyer Lin Wood.

That’s your audit. Are you still comfortable? If you are, do you think your Democrat friends are?

Perhaps I could have celebrated another confidence-boosting audit if it had been run by a professional elections firm like Clear Ballot. Or else a leading-notch auditor like Deloitte.

However Cyber Ninjas? I’m not going to believe a darn thing they say. And I’m a Republican politician who voted for Trump.

Stephen Richer is the Maricopa County recorder. He was elected, as a Republican politician, in November 2020, and took workplace in January.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.