Senate Republicans in Arizona will have to wait a while longer for the report from Cyber Ninjas after their audit of votes cast in November in Maricopa County, due to an outbreak of COVID-19 among staff members.
Cyber Ninjas, was hired by the Republican majority in the Arizona Senate to conduct a review of 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County in the November presidential election.
They were expected to hand over their findings on Monday but that has been pushed back since the company’s boss and two other staffers is “quite sick” with COVID.
“The team expected to have the full draft ready for the Senate today, but unfortunately Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan and two other members of the five-person audit team have tested positive for COVID-19 and are quite sick,” Arizona State Senate President Karen Fann said in a statement said.
Fann said lawmakers had received “a portion of the draft report” and that members of the Arizona Senate’s legal team would meet Wednesday to begin the process of reviewing the draft “for accuracy, clarity and proof of documentation of findings.”
Since the Donald Trump backed audit began in March, it has been dogged by controversies. Cyber Ninjas has no experience with elections, and it seems the firm was given the contract because its founder has a history of spreading pro-Trump conspiracy theories about the election.
Some state lawmakers who voted to support the audit ended up regretting that decision as more information was reported about the process.
“It makes us look like idiots,” State Sen. Peter Boyer told the New York Times. “Looking back, I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point.”
A subcontractor revealed in court documents that the process involves weighing ballots, examining them under a microscope, and examining the “thickness or feel” of individual ballots.They are also searching for traces of bamboo on the ballots that they claim may suggest the ballots were flown in from China. One stage of the process involves shining a “UV-B and UV-A source” on allegedly suspect ballots.
Democrats, including Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, have decried the Senate Republicans for embracing false conspiracy theories about a rigged election, which Trump spread frequently before and after his loss to President Joe Biden, CNBC reports.
A coalition of election experts also wrote the Justice Department asking it to send observers to monitor this quizzical audit, and one of their concerns is that “ultraviolet light causes not only paper to deteriorate, but also leads to the deterioration of marks on paper ballots,” according to Vox.
Joe Biden won the state of Arizona by about 11,000 votes in the November presidential election, becoming the first Democratic candidate for president to do so since Bill Clinton in 1992.