On Tuesday, American Oversight launched an investigation into the Arizona Senate’s partisan audit of the 2020 presidential election ballots cast in Maricopa County, filing 19 public records requests for key documents related to the audit, including contracts and communications with the cybersecurity company Cyber Ninjas.
The investigation follows Arizona Senate President Karen Fann’s announcement last week that the audit team would be led by Cyber Ninjas, whose founder, Doug Logan, has repeatedly circulated lies that the 2020 election was rigged and vocally supported the “Stop the Steal” movement. Moreover, Fann announced the audit would be conducted with no oversight by members of the Senate, and the statement of work signed by Cyber Ninjas indicates the companies plans to engage in direct contact with Arizona voters, the subject of a legal challenge from the group Protect Democracy. Correspondence between the State Senate and Maricopa County suggest that the firm has little background in Arizona law or Arizona election administration.
“This audit fits into the months-long effort to undermine faith in our elections and provide bogus evidence to justify new restrictions on voting,” said Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight. “The Arizona Senate’s actions are of a piece with Donald Trump’s ill-fated commission on voter fraud. The public urgently needs transparency to determine if the audit has any chance of returning legitimate results, or whether it is a partisan waste of taxpayer money to bolster the Big Lie about the 2020 election.”
There has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud or other election issues that could have affected the outcome of the election in Maricopa County or elsewhere. Tests and audits released by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors showed that the ballots cast in the 2020 election had been tabulated accurately and that there were no irregularities with the election equipment or software. Concerns have been raised that the audit could result in voter intimidation.
After the 2020 election, Senate President Karen Fann and then-Arizona Sen. Eddie Farnsworth issued subpoenas to Maricopa County for the 2.1 million ballots as well as election machines and other materials. Those subpoenas were re-upped in January by Fann and state Sen. Warren Petersen, who replaced Farnsworth as chair of the Judiciary Committee. In late February, a judge ruled that the county must turn over the ballots, leading to confusion when the Senate did not have a place lined up to safely store them.
American Oversight has filed public records requests for the related communications of Fann, Petersen, Farnsworth, and state Rep. Mark Finchem — including communications with former President Trump’s attorneys, Maricopa elections officials, and external parties like Cyber Ninjas. The watchdog also requested copies of any contracts with Cyber Ninjas or other companies hired to provide services relevant to the audit.
American Oversight has been investigating efforts in Arizona and across the country to undermine the 2020 election and cast doubt on the democratic process. We previously uncovered copies of the phony electoral certificates sent to Congress by Trump supporters in Arizona and six other states as part of the attempt to overturn the election results. Separately, American Oversight has obtained records shedding light on efforts by the Trump White House to pressure officials in Georgia to reverse that state’s election results.
Part of Investigation: