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The Pennsylvania-based IT company that was in charge of running the hand recount of Maricopa County, Airzona, ballots is no longer involved in the audit.

The contract with Wake TSI ended May 14, the original completion date for the hand count, and the company chose not to renew its contract, according to Randy Pullen, an audit spokesperson and former state GOP chair.

“They were done,” he said. “They didn’t want to come back.”

Wake TSI was the subcontractor that developed and oversaw the procedures for recounting the county’s nearly 2.1 million ballots, working under Cyber Ninjas, the state Senate’s main contractor performing the overall audit of the county’s general election results.

The audit was on break from May 14 until Monday, as graduations took place in the coliseum.

Pullen said that Scottsdale-based technology company StratTech Solutionstook over Monday running the hand count, using Wake’s procedures.

The company has been involved in the audit since the beginning, Pullen said, including helping set up the technology for the hand count procedures.It’s unclear whether the company, which specializes in cybersecurity and other internet technology, has any election or auditing experience.

More: 2020 ballots in Arizona’s largest county have been under scrutiny. Here’s what to know

More: Fact check: No evidence election audit in Maricopa County has found widespread election fraud

The switch in contractors is the most significant change yet in the unconventional audit, which has seen numerous changes since it began April 23.

Ryan Macias, former acting director of testing and certification at the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, who has observed the audit for the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, said Tuesday that this represents the “continuation of the mismanagement and constant change which we have been observing since the beginning.”

But Senate President Karen Fann, R-Prescott, said the company had completed the obligations under its contract and she was informed last week it would not be returning.

“They finished up with their contract, so they don’t need to be there anymore,” she said.

Of the auditors, Wake TSI had the most experience in hand counts

Senate Republicans had touted Wake TSI’s election experience when announcing an incomplete list of contractors that would conduct the audit, saying that its employees performed a 2020 election hand count in Fulton County, Pennsylvania. The Arizona Mirror reported last week that the firm conducted that audit at the request of a state senator who has been a prominent advocate of the “Stop the Steal” movement.

Cyber Ninjas’ original statement of work said that Wake TSI would be “leading all ballot hand-counting processes.”

When Doug Logan, Cyber Ninjas’ CEO, was questioned about his company’s lack of experience in election audits, he said his company was involved in election audits in Michigan and Georgia, but he also emphasized that Cyber Ninjas was just the “coordinating firm” of other companies that had experience in their areas. 

More: Fact check: False claim from Trump about Maricopa County election database

When Logan’s bias was questioned, after it was discovered that he had touted unfounded claims of election fraud on social media, he emphasized the importance of hiring Wake TSI, which he trusted to create a ballot counting process that was “beyond reproach.”

“To me,” he said in that statement, “the most important element was the hand-counting, because if that was done right and transparently, it alone could restore some confidence in our election.”

The Senate’s liaison to the audit, Ken Bennett, told a pool reporter on May 7 that the company would “probably have two to 300 people that are under their employ or volunteers.”

Many of the same people are now working under StratTech, Pullen said.

Gene Kern, the co-founder of Wake TSI who was helping manage the hand count, did not immediately return a call for comment.

Reach the reporter at jen.fifield@azcentral.com or at 602-444-8763. Follow her on Twitter @JenAFifield

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