The final draft of the pro-Trump Arizona election “audit” commissioned by the state’s Republican Party was supposed to arrive on Monday. Unfortunately, the firm hired to conduct the so-called review of Maricopa County’s election results had to call in sick with COVID-19.
“Today we are receiving a portion of the draft report from the election audit analysis team,” Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, said in a Monday statement. “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 also claimed that outside of the conspiracy-peddling Logan and others becoming ill with coronavirus, the Senate didn’t receive “images of the ballot envelopes from Maricopa Country” until this past Thursday, further blaming that on the delay of the final report long-promised for Monday.
The GOP Senate leader went on to say that the Senate legal team will meet on Wednesday to review its report and, once the Cyber Ninjas submit the remainder of its draft, the chamber will hold another meeting to check for “accuracy, clarity, and proof of documentation.” Fann has previously boasted that she’s been in contact with Trump and Rudy Giuliani about the audit and had their support.
Right-wing media and former President Donald Trump himself have hyped this audit for months, promising that the review of Maricopa County, which President Joe Biden won by 45,000 votes, would finally prove widespread election fraud in the 2020 election.
Trump lost the state by roughly 10,000 ballots, but he and other MAGA personalities have suggested the audit could flip the state back to him and lead to GOP-led audits in other states reinstating him in the White House.
Despite county officials finding no irregularities in multiple audits after the 2020 presidential election, Arizona Senate Republicans hired Cyber Ninjas and two other firms to conduct another audit of Maricopa County in March.
The company, however, had no prior election auditing experience before Fann tapped them to lead the process. Furthermore, Logan had publicly embraced Trump’s baseless conspiracies that the election was rigged for Biden and millions of votes were stolen from the ex-president. Additionally, multiple pro-Trump dark money groups have funded the $6 million audit, including a non-profit founded by two hosts for far-right network One America News, which has frequently peddled election lies on its airwaves.
Election experts across the political spectrum have decried the audit as a sham, saying there are “too many flaws in the way this review was conducted to trust it” and citing a series of red flags, such as the auditors chasing down “bizarre conspiracy theories.”