OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
The GOP-controlled Arizona Senate has hired four cyber firms to conduct an audit on all 2.1 million ballots cast during the 2020 election in Maricopa County amid lingering concerns of voting irregularities.
“After months of interviewing various forensic auditors, the Arizona Senate has found a qualified team consisting of Wake Technology Services, Inc., CyFIR, LLC, Digital Discovery, and Cyber Ninjas, Inc. to conduct the audit,” a press release from the state Senate Republican Caucus said.
That press release further notes:
The audit will validate every area of the voting process to ensure the integrity of the vote. The scope of work will include, but is not limited to, scanning all the ballots, a full manual recount, auditing the registration and votes cast, the vote counts, and the electronic voting system. At the conclusion of the audit, the auditor will issue a report detailing all findings discovered during the assessment.
Senate leadership expects this audit to be done in a transparent manner with the cooperation of Maricopa County.
“Our people need to be assured that the Senate and Maricopa County can work together on this audit, to bring integrity to the election process,” said Senate President Karen Fann. “As Board Chair Sellers and County Recorder Richer wrote in the Arizona Republic ‘a democracy cannot survive if its people do not believe elections are free and fair.’ They also acknowledge a significant number of voters want the additional assurance that a full forensic audit might bring. I look forward to continued cooperation.”
Reports note that the audit is expected to take about 60 days and that GOP Senate leaders are taking a hands-off approach to ensure transparency and integrity.
Democrats are decrying the effort as a “dangerous fishing expedition,” while separate reports have noted that the lead cybersecurity firm, Cyber Ninjas, is owned by a “Stop The Steal” advocate, Doug Logan.
In late December he retweeted a post from a now-deleted account that said, “I’m tired of hearing people say there was no fraud. It happened, it’s real, and people better get wise fast.”
Also, he wrote on his own Twitter account, which he deleted in January, “The parallels between the statistical analysis of Venezuela and this year’s election are astonishing. I’m ashamed about how few Republicans are talking about it.”
Still, state GOP leaders feel certain that voting irregularities occurred in November and want to get to the bottom of it once and for all — if nothing else, to assure residents that Joe Biden’s victory was indeed legitimate.
That said, even the GOP-led Maricopa County Board of Supervisors pushed back on Senate Republican efforts to gain access to the ballots so they could have an audit performed. But a state judge ruled in favor of Senate Republicans.
Fann has said she wants the recount effort to be bipartisan so that the outcome can be trusted. But state Democratic leaders have essentially laughed her off.
“We never wanted anything to do with that,” Sen. Lupe Contreras, the assistant minority leader, told the Arizona Republic. “I guess you could say we worked in a bipartisan way since we backed the Board of Supervisors, which is all Republican but one.”
In January, the county’s board of supervisors approved a forensic audit of the Dominion Voting Systems machines voters used on Election Day.
That decision followed a state Supreme Court ruling earlier in the month upholding a lower court’s decision to toss a challenge to the outcome showing Biden as the winner.