The Republican-led Arizona Senate held a hearing on Thursday in which witnesses involved with the Maricopa County 2020 election audit stressed the need for additional materials or else they risk presenting an “incomplete” review.
Members of the auditing team contracted by Senate President Karen Fann, which includes Cyber Ninjas and cybersecurity group CyFir, said they need wireless routers and voting machine tokens to finish their work — access so far denied by the county which includes Phoenix. Also mentioned was the need for a door-to-door canvass, which previously drew a warning from the U.S. Justice Department that it could violate federal laws that bar voter intimidation.
“If we don’t get them it will be an incomplete report, it will be an incomplete audit, and that’s what the findings will reflect,” said Doug Logan, CEO of Cyber Ninjas, a private firm based in Florida that has been criticized for its lack of prior audit experience.
Efforts to obtain more election-related materials will likely mean more subpoenas and a new litigation battle, the witnesses and Fann indicated on Thursday, as officials with the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors have criticized and resisted the Senate’s audit efforts. The audit only got underway in April after a judge ruled in February the Arizona Senate’s subpoenas at the time were “legal and enforceable.”
CyFir founder Ben Cotton stated it is “critically important” to obtain routers owned by the county, saying they would help clarify specific vulnerabilities he claimed were existent in Maricopa’s digital election system. Cotton also claimed the antivirus software on the county’s election management system had not been updated since “August of 2019.”
“We cannot update our systems through security patches. That is why we maintained an air gapped system. Installing security patches would be changing the system that was certified,” the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office tweeted on Thursday, citing U.S. Election Assistance Commission policies.
Logan encouraged the Arizona Senate to resume door-to-door canvassing plans, saying, “it’s the one way to know for sure whether the data we’re seeing are real problems.” Fann said in a May letter that the legislature tabled its plans to send canvassers to homes to inquire about voter participation in the 2020 general election after the Justice Department said the efforts might constitute voter intimidation.
Logan also claimed the county did not deliver all external hard drives that he said contain “election definitions, election results, backups, or similar data,” noting the audit team only received “one of them.”
Logan said the team was in need of “any portable media or external drives that have not been given prior subpoenas associated with election specifically.”
The mostly-Republican Maricopa Board of Supervisors has contended with the concerns raised by Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, mainly that the review is not being conducted by certified contractors, and this week approved a plan to spend $2.8 million to replaced subpoenaed election equipment it deemed disqualified for reuse.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers said Thursday’s hearing “represents an alternate reality that has veered out of control” and called on Senate leaders to “stop accusing us of not cooperating when we have given you everything qualified auditors would need to do this job.”
“Senate leadership should be ashamed they broadcast the half-baked theories of the ‘Deep Rig’ crowd to the world today,” Sellers said. “Finish your audit, release the report, and be prepared to defend it in Court.”
Democrats in the Arizona Senate refused to attend the hearing they viewed as a sham, partly because of the format. “If you’re going to hold an actual hearing and allow us to ask questions and answer the questions, we’re all in,” Rebecca Rios, the minority leader, told the Arizona Capitol Times.
Officials affiliated with the audit, including Arizona Senate Liaison Ken Bennett, who also spoke at the hearing Thursday, have said a comprehensive review of the recount will be made available by the end of the summer. However, Thursday’s hearing suggests a much more drawn out affair, especially if it goes to court again.
The hearing followed Fann saying in a Tuesday interview on KTAR that an audit tally of ballots differed from the count by Maricopa County officials but did not provide evidence or a size discrepancy, noting that the auditors “haven’t released a number yet.”
President Joe Biden won Arizona by more than 10,000 votes out of more than 3.3 million that were cast across the state. His lead of roughly 2 percentage points was due partly to his advantage in Maricopa County, where the Democrat scored nearly 45,000 more votes than former President Donald Trump. Critics of the audit say that the results from two previous election machine audits conducted for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors showed no irregularities in the county’s 2020 election
Trump, who insists the 2020 election was stolen from him, issued a statement following the hearing honing in on Logan’s saying the auditor found “74,243 mail-in ballots, where there is no clear record of them being sent.”
“The irregularities revealed at the hearing today amount to hundreds of thousands of votes or, many times what is necessary for us to have won,” Trump claimed.
Fann, who presided over the hearing alongside Senate Judiciary Chairman Warren Peterson, restated on Thursday that the audit is “not about Trump” and will provide information that can be used to create new election-focused legislation.
“This is not about overturning the election. This has never been about anything other than election integrity,” Fann added.
Original Author: Kaelan Deese