As reported by UncoverDC on Apr. 7, the forensic audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County has hit some roadblocks. It is now expected to proceed with a secure venue on Apr. 22. UncoverDC touched base with House Rep. Mark Finchem on Sunday about the audit and some new election integrity bills underway in the State House and Senate.
*In an April 14 update to this report, Fann signed a contract to house the ballots and equipment for the audit. She spoke on the Jeff Oravits Show on Tuesday. She discussed her mission to ensure that the chain of custody is secure during the transfer as well as during the storage of the ballots and voting machines. She explained that the process has been “long and arduous” with “roadblocks” at every turn from the Board of Supervisors (BOS), including a lawsuit which they won. According to Fann, training for staff will begin on Apr. 19 and they expect to start the forensic examination on the 22nd. There will be three to four weeks of physical audit follow by two to three weeks of analysis from the team of experts and then a report. Her statement from the appearance about the audit and its location can be found below:
“It took weeks for us—you can’t just open up a yellow pages and pick a forensic auditor for elections…it took two months of research…and for the facility, we want someplace that is big enough, that it will be fully live-screened the entire time. Everybody can see what’s going on. Those ballots are under 24-hour live streaming as well as physical guard. I don’t want anybody having any questions about chain of custody or that there is anything nefarious going on. That is one of the reasons we wanted a big place. We don’t want anything being stacked up or anything. We want you to see everything.”
Independent auditors were chosen on Apr. 1, but the venue for the audit had not yet been decided because of resistance from the Maricopa Board of Supervisors (BOS). Information relayed to UncoverDC by Finchem from the Senate leadership indicates that they have now “secured 20,000+ square footage known as the Coliseum at our state fairgrounds to perform the audit; arrangements for 24-hour physical and live streaming security and the audit teams are assembling and transporting the equipment and personnel to Arizona with an expected start date of the laborious task of ballot-by-ballot inspection and tabulation on April 22nd.” An Apr. 7 Arizona Mirror article seems to confirm the choice of location.
The Maricopa Board of Supervisors have been in an ongoing battle with Senate leadership and Senate President Karen Fann—seemingly every step of the way—over the possibility of a forensic audit of the General Election. Despite what seem to be earnest efforts to choose an independent, expert team of auditors, Fann and her colleagues in the House and Senate have been told that their chosen team led by Cyber Ninjas is, according to Dominion Voting Systems (DVS) and others, “beyond biased,” and are conspiracy theorists who spread rumors of a stolen election.
1. Violation of Statute 16-624(A) by the Board of Supervisors
2. The audit must be conducted in the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center…
3. Where is the court order to preserve all Irregular Ballots in all counties in AZ before they can…. pic.twitter.com/G7MYpHCoqt
— Humanist2019 (@happyjuergen) April 11, 2021
Cyber Ninjas was also one of the witnesses used in the Antrim County election fraud investigation. However, the lead team was Allied Security Operations Group (ASOG). Matthew DePerno filed a response for relief to protect from quashing or limiting the scope of his ongoing lawsuit there. The Antrim County lawsuit is the only one in the country that has seen a forensic audit of the machines and ballots from the 2020 election thus far. According to DePerno, the evidence surfaced in the audit is damning.
Doug Logan, CEO of Cyber Ninjas, issued a statement on Apr. 6 to address the claims of bias. He also commented on the firm’s expertise and its Maricopa Audit plan.
Cyber Ninjas, the company the AZ Senate hired to oversee audit, just responded to ?s about biases of its CEO.
"The big question should not be, ‘Am I biased,’ but ‘Will this audit be transparent, truthful and accurate?’ The answer to the latter question is a resounding ‘Yes.’” pic.twitter.com/nLUH1NREVC
— Jen Fifield (@JenAFifield) April 6, 2021
The Maricopa Board of Supervisors was so concerned about the auditors that they called an emergency meeting on Apr. 1 with their lawyers. Reportedly, part of their concern may have been due to the statements released by Dominion Voting Systems on Mar. 31, the day before the emergency meeting.
AT THE SAME TIME Maricopa County Board calls 'emergency meeting' for 10 a.m. Thursday after AZ Senate GOP's announcement of audit contractor. Lead contractor promoted baseless election fraud claims, per @ArizonaMirror. pic.twitter.com/p3AtVnCNRg
— Brahm Resnik (@brahmresnik) April 1, 2021
Protect Democracy also piled on over their concern over the choice of auditors in a letter to the four firms chosen to perform the audit. Finchem stated in his weekly newsletter that “attorneys for the non-profit voting-rights group Protect Democracy and three Phoenix firms warn that the auditors’ plan to knock on doors to search for voters likely violates state and federal law. The lawyers say lawsuits could follow if the audit proceeds as planned.”
On Apr. 11, DVS doubled down to “set the record straight” with the following statement:
In a statement relayed by Finchem to UncoverDC, Senate President Fann said the following:
“The Arizona Senate and the auditors have no “expectations” of findings. We are performing the full forensic audit to either dispel our voter’s concerns, or if a problem is uncovered, we must fix the problems before the next election. We have never accused anyone of fraud or misconduct, whether it be the hardware, software, or actions of personnel. We hope there is no intentional illegal tampering but, if found, we will turn the information over to the state and federal attorney generals for their further legal action, and we will proceed to make the appropriate corrections. Based on affidavits signed from constituents, it appears we do have some problems with a large amount of mail-in ballots that should not have been sent to residents who have moved from the known address or have passed away. We hope this audit will help us understand how to correct those errors.”
Finchem’s weekly Frontline Legislative Journal newsletter on Apr. 11 announced progress on a number of election integrity-oriented legislative bills. Below are the bills discussed by Finchem in the newsletter:
Finchem also discussed recent legislation to counter fraud on ballots using new holographic technology. The technology uses RFID-like features that are used to help to identify and validate authentic ballots. Finchem states in his missive that the $1-Million annual appropriation will reimburse the counties for the increased cost of ballot printing. Representative Finchem says, “Arizona is leading the nation on building a more trustworthy elections system. Ballot fraud countermeasures like these will likely become the Gold Standard.”
To receive Finchem’s weekly Journal, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Journal” written in the subject line.
*This article has been corrected to more accurately reflect Cyber Ninjas’ role in the Antrim Audit. In fact, ASOG was the lead in the Antrim case.
*For more information on how to actively participate in holding your elected officials accountable, local initiatives, and election integrity, please see some of the following suggestions:
The Precinct Project, Look Ahead America, Engage the Right, True the Vote, The Leadership Institute, Heritage Action Sentinels, Scott Presler, Sidney Powell’s Defending The Republic, The Freedom Foundation, America’s Future