Arizona "audit" report delayed by Cyber Ninjas COVID outbreak

Republicans announce that the Cyber Ninjas CEO and two other members of the five-person audit team tested positive

By Jon Skolnik
Published August 23, 2021 6:23PM (EDT)
Contractors working for Cyber Ninjas, who was hired by the Arizona State Senate, examine and recount ballots from the 2020 general election at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 1, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Maricopa County ballot recount comes after two election audits found no evidence of widespread fraud. (Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)
Contractors working for Cyber Ninjas, who was hired by the Arizona State Senate, examine and recount ballots from the 2020 general election at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 1, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Maricopa County ballot recount comes after two election audits found no evidence of widespread fraud. (Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)

The GOP-led Arizona state Senate will receive just a partial report on Arizona's 2020 election audit due to a recent COVID-10 outbreak that has left several employees of Cyber Ninjas, Arizona's auditor, "quite sick."

The development came in a Monday statement by Republican Senate President Karen Fann, who said that her team is "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 delay is just the latest in a never-ending string of operational holdups, which have rendered the audit almost wholly dysfunctional throughout the last several months. The recount was launched back in April of this year and was originally expected to last 60 days, but has been routinely sidetracked by procedural changes, conspiracy theories, and political pushback.

The forthcoming report was commissioned by Senate Republicans and has been by and large bankrolled by numerous allies of Donald Trump who baselessly allege that President Biden won the 2020 election by virtue of systemic voter fraud coordinated throughout all fifty states, including Arizona. Two Republican senators are expected to review the report before it is made available to the public. "We want to see their proof, their documentation, everything to make sure that the report that goes out is fully accurate," Fann said. According to The Arizona Republic, a separate review of voter signatures is being conducted for mail-in-ballots. Fann said the state Senate received the necessary voter records from Maricopa County last Thursday.

Election experts, Arizona Democrats, and even some state Republicans have been largely critical of the state's recount, not only citing its empirical baselessness but Cyber Ninjas' lack of expertise and professionalism. Last week, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors filed a claim against the Arizona Senate, alleging that the 2020 election equipment in custody of Cyber Ninjas – worth a total of $3 million – had been rendered unusable due to improper conduct. 

Cyber Ninjas is currently headed by QAnon proponent and "Stop the Steal" advocate Doug Logan, an ardent Trump supporter. Prior to the Arizona audit, Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based tech company, had no apparent experience in election auditing. Cyber Ninjas has meanwhile repeatedly rebuffed state attempts for transparency into the company's recount procedures. 

The Senate's legal team is expected to convene on Wednesday to review the report.


Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a staff writer at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, AlterNet, and The New York Daily News.

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Arizona Audit Brief Coronavirus Covid Cyber Ninjas Delay Gop Infections Recount Sick