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Arizona Senate Republicans Hired An Auditor Who's Promoted Election Conspiracies

Senate Republicans announced they’ve hired four firms to conduct an audit to the 2020 general election in Maricopa County, including a Florida-based company whose owner has spread conspiracy theories about the election.

Cyber Ninjas owner Doug Logan has actively promoted claims that  the election was rigged against former President Donald Trump, the Arizona Mirror first reported.

Conspiracies echoed by Logan on his now-deleted Twitter account include claims of fraud specific to Maricopa County, the subject of the Senate’s audit. In December, Logan retweeted a claim that audits of the election would reveal Trump received more votes than the county previously reported — as many as 200,000 additional votes, according to the Mirror.

Multiple audits have revealed no widespread issues with election equipment or the vote counting process in Maricopa County.

Logan’s publicly held beliefs that the election was stolen raise questions about the legitimacy of the Republican senators’ audit, which has been criticized as a fishing expedition.  Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo has said Republican lawmakers are searching for problems to blow out of proportion.

“This isn’t about finding the truth,” Gallardo recently said of the Senate’s audit. “This is about undermining the will of the voters.”

Other companies participating in the audit are Wake Technology Services Inc., CyFIR LLC and Digital Discovery. The only firm with specific election-related experience, according to the Senate GOP’s press release, is Wake TSI, which conducted a review of absentee ballots in Fulton County, Pennsylvania, in 2020.

Senate Republicans’ review will examine Maricopa County’s voting systems, which have already been repeatedly audited in the five months since the election. Auditors will also re-scan ballots, review the county’s voter registration records, and conduct a full hand recount of all 2.1 million ballots cast.

The audit will cost $150,000, according to a contract with Cyber Ninjas released by the Senate. Republican leaders have not answered questions about who’s footing the bill.

Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) said in a statement she expects the audit will be conducted with the cooperation of Maricopa County. Though the Senate’s subpoena of voting records demanded county officials deliver voting records to the state Capitol, Fann and Republican leaders have since  changed course and asked to conduct their own audit at county election headquarters.

Maricopa County supervisors have expressed reservations about allowing the Senate’s auditors into the county’s vote counting facilities. In a statement late Wednesday, Chairman Jack Sellers said he’s had no discussions with Fann about the matter.

Sellers said he’s unfamiliar with any of the firms hired to audit the county’s election, but he reiterated various audits have already shown the election was conducted fairly and accurately. 

“Elections are complicated and highly regulated operations. Maricopa County hired certified experts to conduct its audit and examinations of equipment,” Sellers said in a statement. “I hope the auditors hired by the Senate will take great care with your ballots and the election equipment leased with your tax dollars.”

To parse out this iteration of the state’s election audit, The Show spoke to Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services.

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Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.