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A report detailing the results of the much-maligned and partisan audit of 2020 election results in Arizona has been delayed after members of the Florida-based company hired to conduct it contracted COVID-19.
Karen Fann, the Republican president of the Arizona state Senate, announced the news on Monday afternoon.
“Today we are receiving a portion of the draft report from the election audit analysis team,” said Fann. “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.”
The audit, which began in May, has sparked a feud between Republicans who believe former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen and officials in Maricopa, the county where most Arizonans reside, who have repeatedly verified that the 2020 results were accurate.
The unofficial review cannot overturn the results of the election and has been referred to as an “adventure in never-never land” by Jack Sellers, the Republican chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
“If you haven’t figured out that the election in Maricopa County was free, fair and accurate yet, I’m not sure you ever will. ... There was no fraud, there wasn’t an injection of ballots from Asia nor was there a satellite that beamed votes in our election equipment,” Sellers wrote in an Aug. 2 letter.
Logan, who was hired to conduct the audit by the GOP-controlled state Senate, has been pushing false claims of fraud in the 2020 election. According to reporting by Politico, Cyber Ninjas was unknown even among seasoned Florida GOP operatives, and has had no prior experience conducting election audits. Funding for the operation has come almost exclusively from supporters of Trump who believe the election was stolen.
The counting began on April 23 and Logan expected it to take 16 days, but it has instead been ongoing all summer. Cyber Ninja contractors have, among other things, inspected the ballots for traces of bamboo, which supporters of the audit say would prove they were smuggled from China.
“There’s accusations that 40,000 ballots were flown into Arizona and it was stuffed into the box, OK?” said John Brakey, who is helping oversee the audit, in an interview with a local CBS affiliate earlier this year. “And it came from the southeast part of the world, Asia, OK? And what they’re doing is to find out if there’s bamboo in the paper.”
Joe Biden narrowly won Arizona in November, becoming the first Democrat to do so since Bill Clinton took the state in 1996.
Polls indicate that most Republicans believe Trump’s claims about the 2020 election, despite an absence of evidence. A Yahoo News/YouGov survey released earlier this month found that 66 percent of Republicans continue to insist that “the election was rigged and stolen from Trump,” while just 18 percent believe “Joe Biden won fair and square.”
In the weeks following the election, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, which is controlled by Republicans, validated that the machine count was accurate. Courts in the state, meanwhile, dismissed a lawsuit calling the election results into question.
On Nov. 30, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, certified the results of the presidential election after receiving approval from county officials and state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who is also a Republican. In January, the Maricopa County supervisors authorized an audit of the election equipment, and no irregularities were found.
Fann, the state Senate president, said the full report would go to the Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee before being released to the public.
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