No evidence of fraud was found during the so-called “audit” in Arizona.
The Senate’s long-delayed alleged “audit” of the Maricopa County election included a slew of unfounded claims that data was destroyed,
equipment was incorrectly linked to the internet, signatures weren’t properly checked, and illegal voters may have cast votes.
According to the county, the election review team made misleading statements because they were unaware of election rules and procedures.
The “audit’s” outcome is still up in the air. In Maricopa County and Arizona, Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in a hand-recount of almost 2.1 million votes. (According to the “audit,” Biden won the race by 260 votes more than the official results indicated.)
There was nothing thrown out. Elections are a mystery to Cyber Ninjas. Twitter-Maricopa County, Ariz.
Former Arizona Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen, former Secretary of State Ken Bennett, and engineer Shiva Ayyadurai,
who promotes conspiracy theories, gave a three-hour presentation at the Senate on Friday afternoon to present the audit’s findings along with Doug Logan, the lead auditor, and CEO of the Florida-based firm Cyber Ninjas.
Draft papers detailing some of the claimed discoveries were widely distributed on Thursday evening, while the “audit” team presented their findings to Senate President Karen Fann and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen, in which they made some of their allegations public for the first time.
County officials claim that inexperience caused ‘auditors’ to draw erroneous and provocative findings.
Many of the possible issues they discovered may have innocent causes, but election review officials don’t know for sure, according to one frequent theme. For the previous six months, the “audit” team members lacked election expertise, often displaying a lack of knowledge of basic election rules and processes. There was no cooperation from the county at all; they refused to answer inquiries.
One of Cotton’s more incendiary claims was that he found that election department servers had been purged of thousands of data and that numerous pieces of election equipment had been linked to the internet.
The county’s system was allegedly cleansed of all general election results in one instance, according to Cotton. Numerous alleged deletions occurred before critical times, such as the forensic audit of Maricopa County’s tabulation equipment requested in February or the county handing over the machines to an audit team in April, according to him, he said.
“So, who was responsible for this crime?” “What motivated them to do what they did?” Cotton was the one who enquired.
When contacted by Twitter, the county responded by saying that many of Cotton’s data had not been destroyed but had instead been preserved and backed up in another location, saying that this was normal procedure.
“There was nothing thrown out. Elections are a mystery to Cyber Ninjas. EMS (Election Management System) server storage limitations prevent the county from keeping all of the results on it.
No data was erased on purpose, according to the county, and allegations that they “were deliberately overriding logs are false. This is a standard feature of Windows.”
Cotton had previously claimed in May that he’d found erased data, according to the Maricopa County attorney’s office. It was said by the county that Cotton’s assertion was incorrect and that he just did not know where to search for the information.
Aside from the tabulation machines, Cotton said that a number of other pieces of computer equipment were linked to the internet, although he mainly concentrated on them.
In an attempt to reassure the public, he stated, “I would want to sit here now and tell you I had completely ruled out any illegal access.”
Cotton’s assertions were false, according to the county, since its tabulation equipment was never linked to the internet. One of the computers Cotton mentioned was linked to the internet since it is a Recorder’s Office server, the county said in a tweet. This shouldn’t be anything we have to explain.”
Cotton said that one of the county’s claimed cybersecurity breaches was the failure to update the county elections department’s tabulation equipment with security updates after they were purchased in 2019.
There were, however, some critical facts he omitted, such as the reason why such systems are seldom upgraded. For this reason, all patches must be authorized by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, which is a far more stringent procedure than just downloading an update for periodic, automated upgrades, as is the case with traditional personal computer software.
The problem arose during Cotton’s participation in the Michigan Senate’s investigation of a sham election audit in Antrim County, Mich. Former audit officer John Brakey told the Arizona Mirror that Cotton has been informed of the problem.
With regard to the hand count and other examinations of actual balloting procedures, Logan was the presenter who addressed these topics. He acknowledged it, but he questioned a number of ballot batches, claiming that thousands of mail-in votes were cast by people who had moved to different addresses than those listed on their registrations, that some potentially dead voters had cast ballots, and that others may have voted in counties other than those listed on their registrations.
Among the audit’s findings was that 3,432 more votes were cast than the county’s file of voters showed, which was addressed on Thursday when election officials clarified that those voters’ addresses are safeguarded, according to Logan. Logan said the finding was handled. State legislation protects the privacy of some voters’ addresses, such as police enforcement officers, judges, and victims of domestic abuse.
“I have no way of knowing whether that’s true or not. There is new information, “he said.
The county countered that Logan’s conclusions were mostly due to his failure to grasp election processes, and that spot checks of several of his assertions revealed no inconsistencies.
On Thursday, a panel of election experts from the nonpartisan States United Democracy Center expressed an issue with Logan’s conclusions about the ballots as part of the draft reports. Logan’s team relied largely on change-of-address data, which is not necessarily indicative of where a person resides for voter registration reasons and may be directed to delete or stop updating, to infer that thousands of voters did not reside at their registered address.
Fans of Ayadurai, or Dr. Shiva, who is a conspiracy theorist, heard his claims about voter signatures on ballot envelopes in the first presentation. Election officials should not have authorized and validated thousands of early votes, according to Ayyadurai, since they either lacked signatures or had signatures that were little more than a “scribble.”
Election authorities utilized voter signatures to check early votes, but Ayyadurai and his “audit” crew lacked these.
There were a lot of “duplicate ballots” because voters who didn’t sign ballot envelopes or whose signatures didn’t match voter registration records had a chance to rectify the mistake up to five days after the election, which is why he focused so much on them.
Fann said: We didn’t search for signs of fraud, to be honest with you.
There are some who believe that Trump won because the election results were rigged, but Fann says there are problems in the Maricopa County election system that the legislature must fix if they are to be considered valid.
There is no way you can call anything fraud until you have proof of it,” he added. A simple audit will not be enough to demonstrate this. Fraud is a deliberate act of wrongdoing. We have no way of knowing whether these issues were the result of deliberate behavior. Fann, a Republican from Prescott, told reporters following the presentation that “all we know is that there were issues and that they need to be addressed.”
Attorney General Mark Brnovich was tasked with reviewing the results, which Fann did. Many accusations were made by the “audit” team, including Cotton’s assertion that data had been destroyed and Bennett’s claim that election workers had disregarded rules governing the chain of custody for voting materials and other legislation.
The State Senate is already hard at work on new legislation to provide an unimpeachable election process to Arizona citizens, Fann said in a letter to Brnovich. “As the Senate moves forward, your office should pay attention to certain issues in the reports.”
To quote Brnovich: “I will take any necessary measures that are backed by facts and where I have legal power. For the sake of Arizonans, their ballots must be correctly tallied and safeguarded.”
The audit team also recommended a number of changes to the state’s election laws, including tighter rules for maintaining voter rolls, the establishment of a state audit department, the release of ballot images online, and legislation making obstruction or interference with legislative investigations a crime.
Gov. Doug Ducey, according to Fann, may convene a special session to make at least some adjustments while they await the findings of Brnovich’s inquiry and an extra examination of data from the county’s routers, which Fann subpoenaed but the county refused to give over for many months. Former Congressman John Shadegg will act as a special master for the Senate and answer questions regarding the routers and related data logs, which will stay in the county’s custody, according to an agreement struck between the county and Fann last week.
When asked whether the audit’s findings would lead to revisions to the state’s laws,
Ducey said that they would have to wait until the legislature’s next regular session, beginning in January.
While the governor has mostly avoided commenting on the audit, he now says it’s time to get on with things.
“As far as the audit concerned, it’s now finished, just like the three audits that came before it. There will be no more 2020 elections in Arizona because of this.
Deputy County Chairman Jack Sellers slammed the audit team and its findings, accusing them of making irrational and unfounded allegations that wrongly implicated county leaders as well as employees in criminal activity.
This based on a misinterpretation and abuse of county data and distorted to suit a narrative that something went wrong, according to the Cyber Ninjas.
There are a variety of spurious assertions and skewed “auditors” involved.
The audit was dogged from the start by difficulties and controversy stemming from erroneous and unfounded allegations that the election was rigged against Trump in the weeks after the election.
By the end of December, Fann had subpoenaed the county’s ballots, tabulation machines.
- and other election documents even though
- there had been no indication that there had been any anomalies in the voting process. The county sued the Senate over the subpoenas, and the Senate won the case.
Upon the announcement of Fann’s audit team in March,
it became clear that the members had any relevant election expertise and were fervent Trump supporters.
Capitol Media Services quoted Fann as saying, “You can’t tell me they’ve been engaged in conspiracies.”
It was only when the Arizona Mirror discovered Logan’s deleted Twitter account.
in which he promoted bogus allegations about election fraud, that his support for conspiracy theories became clear.
- He’d taken an active part in the #StopTheSteal campaign
- and worked to overturn the election, so Logan wasn’t simply another internet fighter.
According to Logan’s “election fraud facts” report.
- which he had written for US senators who planned on protesting against the Electoral College results on Jan. 6.
- there were a number of baseless and debunked claims, including the discredited allegation that Dominion Voting Systems,
- the vendor that provides Maricopa County’s ballot tabulation machines, has ties to Venezuela’s socialist regime.
and the discredited claim that Dominion Vo
- According to The Daily Beast, Logan collaborated with Trump supporter
- and lawyer Lin Wood in his attempts to overturn the election results.
- The Arizona Republic was able to acquire text conversations that showed Logan was involved
- in the drafting of the subpoenas issued to the county in December by Fann and Petersen.
Other “audit” team members had connections to the #StopTheSteal campaign that were as troubling. A highly panned study by CyFIR and Logan in Antrim County, Michigan, claimed widespread fraud and irregularities. Fann’s initial candidate for leading the “audit” was Allied Security Operations Group’s Russell Ramsland, the report’s main contractor.
The only member of the team with any expertise in elections-related work seemed to be Wake Technology Services, Inc.,
which initially led the hand count part of Fann’s audit. The company had performed a hand count and audit of election results in Fulton County, Penn. A #StopTheSteal advocate in Pennsylvania’s Senate had asked Fulton to allow the audit. Wake had been hired by a nonprofit group led by Sidney Powell,
the former Trump campaign lawyer who had brought
the disastrous “Kraken” lawsuits against election results in Arizona and other states where Biden had prevailed in Pennsylvania’s Senate race.
In the wake of Fann’s “audit” announcement, the Senate agreed to pay Cyber Ninjas $150,000 for their services.
It was not disclosed that the audit would cost much more than that.
and that she had deliberately outsourced the majority of the financing to other organizations.
When Christina Bobb of the right-wing One America News Network revealed that a charity.
she’d established was collecting money for the election review, Cyber Ninjas refused to reveal the names of those donors.
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