The partisan Arizona audit of 2020 presidential election ballots has been harshly criticized again by Democratic and Republican leaders amid yet another delay — this time triggered by a COVID-19 outbreak at the recount firm Cyber Ninjas.
A report on the recount of Maricopa County’s 2.1 million votes by the inexperienced Cyber Ninjas company hired by Republicans in the state Senate was supposed to be released in mid-May.
The long-overdue report on the November election was expected Monday but was delayed again after Cyber Ninjas CEO and QAnon acolyte Doug Logan and at least two other workers contracted COVID-19, according to a statement by state Senate President Karen Fann.
All three are “very ill,” and one of them, not Logan, has been hospitalized, Fann told Forbes.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), meanwhile, blasted the operation as a sham and said whatever results the Cyber Ninjas finally comes up with won’t be “worth the paper they’re printed on,” she said in a conference call Monday with journalists, Business Insider reported.
“This was a partisan, political review, and not a postelection ‘audit,’” said Hobbs, who noted in a report last week that the operation failed to “meet industry standards for any credible audit, much less for an election audit.”
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer wrote in an open letter to fellow Republicans last week: “Nobody stole Maricopa County’s elections. Elections in Maricopa County aren’t rigged.”
He added: “I believe in the court system. I believe in facts and logic … I believe in the simple, straight-forward, data-backed explanation that Donald Trump lost many Republican voters in affluent areas,” Richer wrote. “Accordingly, I know Joe Biden won Maricopa County.”
Democrats on the U.S. House Oversight Committee launched an investigation into the audit last month. But the committee said Monday that Cyber Ninjas still hadn’t fully complied with its requests and gave the company until Friday to provide the required documents.
The audit has been hugely controversial. The head of the company predicted months before it began that “hundreds of thousand of votes” would inevitably be found for Trump.
Ballots have been examined for traces of bamboo in a bid to prove the Chinese hacked the votes. And truckloads of voter data were spirited away to a cabin in the Montana woods, 1,300 miles from where those votes were cast.
The Arizona vote was certified nearly nine months ago by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey after several official recounts failed to find any irregularities. Biden beat Trump by 10,457 votes in the state, edging out Trump by more than 2 percentage points ― about 45,000 votes ― in Maricopa County.
An Arizona appeals court last week ordered that all records hoarded by the Cyber Ninjas in its recount operation are “public” and “must be disclosed.”
The Arizona Senate is appealing the decision.
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