And Stephen Richer, the Republican county recorder in Maricopa County, was released on Thursday a long report of his own, in the form of an open letter to state Republicans, challenging the credentials of reviewers and defending its own Republican bona fides.
“I continue to fight for conservatism, and there are many things I will do for the Republican candidate for President, but I will not lie about the election, and I will not reasonably turn my back on the employees of the Board of Supervisors, Record of the Recorder , and the Department of Elections – my colleagues and friends, ”he wrote.
Since late April, contractors hired by the Republican-controlled state Senate have been checking all ballots in Maricopa County, which President Joe Biden won toward the state flip, along with checking the election equipment.
The process is first should take 60 days, but stretched to the earlier past. Julie Fischer, a “deputy Senate liaison” for the effort, told POLITICO that the contractors ’report – the firm leading the effort called Cyber Ninjas – is expected to be submitted to the state Senate on Monday, and a hearing schedule is set after that
State election officials have opposed it almost every step of the way, including Richer, Hobbs and the GOP controlled by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
“The only thing that has been consistent about this effort is that it missed deadlines and had to go back to statements,” Richer said in a press statement Thursday organized by the Center for Election Innovation and Research, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works with election administrators. “Please check this out before taking anything the Cyber Ninjas did as gospel.”
The state Senate called the work of Cyber Ninjas an “audit,” a label that was nearly rejected by election officials and experts because of Arizona’s efforts to poorly defined processes and a hug of conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.
From the jump, the Arizona review was plagued by disorganization and in-fight. The owner of Cyber Ninjas is a supporter of former President Donald Trump and has been promoted conspiracy theories about elections. Officials said they were checking for bamboo fibers on ballots, a nod to a fringe theory that ballots were smuggled from Asia. It is funded of a nonprofit run by a correspondent for the right-wing One America News Network and a former tech CEO who poured millions into promoting Trump’s lies about the election.
Hobbs, who is also running for governor next year, was critical of the effort led by Cyber Ninjas in an interview this week.
“It’s not a real audit,” Hobbs said, noting that the schedule for the review in Arizona continues to shift. “We’re just kind of bracing for impact” for Cyber Ninjas conclusions.
In his introduction, his office wrote that “any‘ outcome ’or‘ conclusion ’reported” from the state Senate process should be ignored, and called on the state’s political leaders to “announce that the 2020 General Election is fair and accurate. “
Other election experts have previously been pleased with Arizona’s review as unprofessionally run, including a report from former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, a Republican, and Barry Burden, the director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
“Cyber Ninjas suffer from a variety of ailments: incompetent contracting, lack of impartiality and partisan balance, a wrong ballot review process, inconsistency in procedures, a non acceptable high levels of error established in the process, and insufficient security, ”Grayson and Burden wrote their report in June. “Because it lacks the essential elements of a bona fide post-election study, the analysis currently being conducted in Maricopa County will not produce findings that should be trusted.”
The Republican -controlled provincial board is also embroiled in a protracted battle in the state Senate. The board – and Dominion Voting Systems, the election vendor for the province – already have refused to comply with recent subpoenas from the lawmaker, who effectively dared the state Senate to find the board with contempt, along with several Republicans in the closely divided chamber saying they did not support the review led by Cyber Ninjas.
The county board said this week it wants the state Senate to pay $ 2.8 million to replace voting machines the Senate subpoenaed. The county hired new machines after Hobbs said old machines would be given determination because of chain of custody issues.
It also came amid significant pushback by the country against the audit movement after the election. At a meeting of the country’s secretaries of state last week, election officials overwhelmingly approved a set of guidelines for post-election audits.
Many of the guidelines read as implicit restrictions on the Arizona process, including defining timelines and only allowing “a federal or a recognized test lab to conduct any hardware audit or voting software. ” The Department of Justice also released guidance late last month saying some post-election audits could run federal law.
Trump and his supporters are eagerly awaiting the end of the review in Arizona, and will likely use any findings to advance his baseless claim that the election was stolen from him. During a July speech to the state, Trump said the process in the state will eventually reveal that “we won a lot,” and “this is just the beginning of the irregularities the Arizona audit is discovering.” (There is no legal process to transfer 11 state election votes to his count.)
Ben Ginsberg, a prominent Republican election lawyer who spoke about efforts to undermine faith in American democracy following the 2020 election, said he hoped the Cyber Ninjas report would come out quietly and could suppress movement. “When they can’t be backed up, then that will be an object lesson to other states, which don’t go down the dangerous path of losing your credibility,” he said at the briefing.
And Richer agreed: “Cyber Ninjas have been there in common parlance now for almost four months, and we haven’t seen it in other states,” the county election official responded, praising the work. of Arizona journalists and state election officials. “If we can tap ourselves a little bit here.”
At least one of the efforts outside of Arizona appears to be withering. The state of Pennsylvania Sen. Doug Mastriano, an ally of Trump who is considering a gubernatorial run next year, has sought to launch his own investigation.
But on Thursday, Mastriano seemed discouraged about trying a deleted livestream on Facebook, the Pennsylvania Capital-Star report. “We’re not in a very good place right now,” he said. “I put my name there so I could do it, and I’ve stopped right now.”
Although, some election security experts said it was unlikely to be the end of the questionable 2020 election review.
“It’s not quite as good about that, as I see continued effort” across the country, said Center for Election Innovation and Research David Becker. “I think we’re going to have to be constantly vigilant.”