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Delivery of full Arizona 'audit' report delayed after Cyber Ninjas test positive for Covid

A number of Republicans, Democrats and election experts have criticized the GOP-led, conspiracy-laden review of Maricopa County ballots.
Contractors working for Cyber Ninjas examine and recount ballots from the 2020 general election on May 3, 2021, in Phoenix, Ariz.
Contractors working for Cyber Ninjas examine and recount ballots from the 2020 general election in Phoenix on May 3.Courtney Pedroza / The Washington Post via Getty Images file

Arizona Republicans will get only partial findings from their partisan review of 2020 ballots Monday after three people from the private company leading the so-called audit tested positive for Covid-19, state Senate President Karen Fann said.

“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,” Fann said in a statement.

She said the Senate legal team would start reviewing the part of the report the Cyber Ninjas were able to submit on Wednesday, with plans to meet again once the full draft is delivered to “continue checking for accuracy, clarity, and proof of documentation of findings.”

The extraordinary review of millions of ballots in Maricopa County, conducted by Cyber Ninjas at the behest of state Republicans, has been repeatedly questioned by elections experts, as the process appeared to be intertwined with a number of conspiracy theories. The “audit” findings will have no bearing on the results of the election and President Joe Biden’s victory.

The episode is another hiccup for the audit, which has been underway since April. Late last month, the Republican liaison between the state Senate and Cyber Ninjas announced his intention to resign, only to walk it back after further consultation with Fann.

Democratic and Republican officials have condemned the ballot review. Pre-empting the report last week, state Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, released a report detailing her criticisms, which included a lack of transparency and what she said was a failure to follow best practices for conducting such reviews. Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican, criticized the audit and defended local officials in a letter to state Republicans last week.

The Republican-controlled state Senate authorized the review of Maricopa County ballots after Biden flipped the state blue for the first time in decades, winning Arizona by more than 10,400 votes over former President Donald Trump last fall.

Pro-Trump Republicans across the country have seized on the Arizona effort in hopes of launching similar reviews in other states — including some Trump won.

Voter fraud in U.S. elections is exceedingly rare. Trump's top cybersecurity official said the election last year was “the most secure in American history,” and then-Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department found no evidence of widespread malfeasance.

In Arizona, previous ballot reviews have affirmed Biden's win. Those who still question the vote said those counts didn’t go far enough.