Entrepreneurs say they need more files for voting auditing



PHOENIX – Contractors hired by Arizona Senate Republicans to oversee a partisan review of the 2020 election said Thursday they did not have enough information to complete their report and urged lawmakers to assign more records and polling voters at home.

GOP audit officials described a wide variety of reasons why their review is taking months longer than the 60 days originally planned, including confusion over damaged ballots and lack of access to some data. . They described the delays in a meeting broadcast live Thursday on Capitol Hill watched by thousands of people.

As the audit drags on, some Republicans fear the spectacle of largely discredited operations could scare voters away in next year’s election. Yet, as long as he continues, he is providing fodder for former President Donald Trump and other Republicans making bogus fraud claims and vague allegations about voting issues.

A manual count of a statistical sample of ballots matched the count of the machines, and two post-election audits did not reveal any tampering with the machines. Trump lost Arizona by 10,457 votes. Trump released a statement after the hearing highlighting several misleading claims.

Senate Speaker Karen Fann told reporters after the meeting that she is still considering new procedures in the audit, which focuses on the vote count in Maricopa County, the most populous county. from Arizona.

Senate Republicans had planned to poll homes and ask people about their voting habits, but in May they dropped the idea under pressure from the U.S. Department of Justice, which warned the effort could violate laws against voter intimidation. Fann said Thursday she would consult lawyers before deciding whether or not to prosecute.

Fann and Judicial Committee Chairman Warren Petersen used the Senate subpoena power to take control of Maricopa County voting machines and ballots after Trump claimed the 2020 election was rigged against him in Arizona and other battlefield states.

The Senate hired Cyber ​​Ninjas to oversee an audit. The small cybersecurity consulting firm is run by a Trump supporter who has been spreading conspiracy theories supporting Trump’s fraud claims.

The review calls for the manual counting of 2.1 million ballots and forensic evaluation of voting machines, servers and other data. The company had no electoral experience, and election administration experts say it does not follow reliable procedures.

Listeners began the hearing trying to rehabilitate their image after election experts pointed out a litany of procedural flaws and security breaches. They showed a highly produced video describing their security and documentation processes and explained in detail the work to preserve data integrity.

Cyber ​​Ninjas CEO Doug Logan and two others – Ben Cotton, head of data analytics firm CyFIR and former Republican Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who serves as a liaison between the Senate and the auditors – raised a number of issues, many of them misleading or erroneous, which they believed could be resolved with more data or the cooperation of Maricopa County.

The Republican-controlled county supervisory board called auditors incompetent and refused to cooperate.

“One of the hardest things about this audit is not having that feedback loop,” Logan said.

Jack Sellers, the Republican chairman of the Maricopa County Supervisory Board, said in a statement that auditors “portray as suspicious what is actually normal and well known to people who work in elections.”

“What we heard today represents an alternate reality that has spiraled out of control since the November general election,” Sellers wrote.

Fann has repeatedly stated that no audit results will be released until a full report is completed. But Logan and Cotton made several claims in their plea for more information.

Among the documents they seek are images of postal ballot envelopes, security keys for administrator-level access to voting machines, copies of Internet routers, a diagram of the county network and a copy. county voter registration database.


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