What’s wrong with Arizona’s 2020 audit?Many experts say


Phoenix (AP) — A cybersecurity company pulled out of relative ambiguity to carry out an unprecedented review of ballots in Arizona’s largest country is ready to present its findings to Republicans.

Experts say there should be little expectation of revelations from the Maricopa County audit — and whatever those revelations are, they cannot be taken seriously.

“There are too many flaws in the way this review is conducted,” said Trey Grayson, a former Republican Secretary of State in Kentucky and co-author of a treatise outlining a wide range of issues. “.

Grayson cites a range of warning signs, from prejudiced and inexperienced contractors to funders chasing conspiracies and strange and unreliable methods.

A report leading an audit by Cyber ​​Ninjas, a small cybersecurity company based in Sarasota, Florida, will be delivered on Monday, but the findings will not be released soon.

Republicans in the state legislature began reviewing county ballots in April to find fraud that could support the false allegations of former President Donald Trump’s stolen elections. Even though the ballot had already been counted and audited twice, lawmakers did. Courts in Arizona and other fierce battle states in 2020 dismissed dozens of election proceedings because judges could not find evidence to support the allegations of fraud.

A broad coalition of government and industry officials called the presidential election “the safest in American history.” “So far, we haven’t seen any scams of a scale that could have different outcomes in elections,” said Attorney General Bill Barr.

In Arizona, the number of problematic ballots was reported It was far from the Democratic Joe Biden’s 10,400-vote winning margin.

Republican Karen Fann, the chairman of the State Senate, argues that this review is only to determine if Arizona’s election law is good enough.

Still, review leaders have a history of making misleading claims about their findings, which are amplified by Trump and his allies.

Let’s take a look at what election experts cite as the biggest issue in election reviews in Maricopa County.

Biased contractor

Fans chose Cyber ​​Ninja, even though they had no election experience and never submitted formal bids. Its owner, Doug Logan, Tweet support for conspiracy theory It was illegal to claim Biden’s victory. Logan deleted his Twitter account before the Arizona deal was announced.

“I’m tired of hearing people say there was no scam,” read a tweet Logan retweeted. “It happened, it’s real, and people get smarter and faster.”

Auditors did not fulfill their promise to recruit workers from a group of Republican activists and screen them for biased social media posts. A former Republican state legislator who was in riot at the US Capitol on January 6 was found counting ballots for several days. His unsuccessful State Capitol race took place on thousands of ballots.

For some time, the official Twitter account associated with the audit leader has published an attack on Democrats and journalists covering the process. This account was later banned because it violated Twitter rules.

Jennifer Morrell, a former Utah election officer and partner for the consulting firm’s election group, said standard election reviews are bipartisan, following rigorous procedures designed to prevent damage to results due to prejudice or human error. Said it will be carried out by the team.

“They are done in an observable, independent and public way,” Morel said.


Biased funding sources

The review was funded Almost exclusively By a group led by prominent Trump supporters who are active in the movement to question the 2020 election results.

As of July, five groups had raised nearly $ 5.7 million for this effort. Among the people who lead the funding group is Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser to Trump. Sidney Powell, his lawyer who has filed numerous unfounded proceedings to challenge the election results. Former CEO of Overstock.com Patrick Byrne; and correspondent from Protrump One America News Network.

Money from the Protrump Group will reduce the $ 150,000 donated by the Arizona Senate, which hired a cyber ninja to outsource auditing. Ben Ginsberg, a prominent Republican election lawyer, said funding audits in cash from stakeholders who want to repeat efforts in other states is about the validity of the findings. He said he would raise serious questions.

“The audience is the funder,” Ginsburg said. “It is very important for external sources to focus in terms of talking about the legitimacy of the audit.”


Inaccurate claim

The findings, which have been publicly discussed so far, have collapsed under scrutiny, but not before they settled on Trump and many of his supporters who believed in his false allegations of fraud.

Auditors claimed that the database directory had been removed from the election administration server and that the data could be illegally corrupted.

However, after Maricopa County technical staff explained how to deploy the hard drive on the server, Audit’s chief digital analyst, CyFIR’s Bencotton, admitted that he had found all the files that were allegedly deleted. I did.

Logan makes various claims about the possible irregularities and states that he deserves further investigation. He claimed that there were thousands of postal ballots with no records for which votes were requested, and that paper and printer issues could cause errors in ballot counting marked with sharpies. .. Trump argued that the election results were contaminated. But they were all wrong..


Conspiracy hunting

Auditors seem to be chasing a strange conspiracy theory.

Inventor and former treasure hunter Jovan Pulitzer states that a technique called “kinematic artifact detection” was used to look for modified ballots.

Pulitzer is the author of a series of books on lost treasures, including a book entitled “How to Cut Off Your Arms and Eat a Dog”. In 2000, he developed a barcode scanner called Cuecat aimed at linking print magazine advertisements to the Internet. It was subsequently named one of the 50 worst inventions in history by Time magazine.

One audit leader, John Blakey, said he was looking for evidence of bamboo on ballots. It was clearly an attempt to test the theory that thousands of fraudulent ballots came from Asia.

For some time, the auditor had a ballot under UV light to look for the watermark. Maricopa County ballots do not contain watermarks, but some supporters of the Q-Anon theory believe in ballots that Trump secretly watermarked to catch fraud. ..

According to Arizona Miller, cyber ninja Logan said he believed that the CIA or its former employees could be involved in “disinformation” about fraudulent elections, without quoting evidence. The website reported that Logan’s comments were made on a “deep rig.” This is a conspiracy movie claiming that the election was stolen from Trump.

Logan gave filmmakers access to restricted areas of Arizona’s ballot counting operations, including a safe area where ballots were stored.