Florida consulting firm Cyber Ninjas at center of Arizona election audit controversy

click to enlarge Florida consulting firm Cyber Ninjas at center of Arizona election audit controversy
Screenshot via Cyber Ninjas

It would be fair to say that the GOP has pushed back on credentialism in the last few years. Far from the machine politics days when every politician was expected to make their bones as they moved up the ranks, recent Republican offerings have viewed experience as baggage, culminating in the election of TV game show host Donald Trump as president.

As Arizona Republicans rail against the election they lost in November with another audit, it's at least consistent with some sort of ideology that they would hire a firm with zero experience handling elections. The Arizona GOP tagged Sarasota-based cybersecurity consultants Cyber Ninjas to run a recount of Maricopa County's votes in the presidential election, in spite of the fact that Cyber Ninjas have never handled anything close to an election audit.

Their lack of experience has shown through in reports around the process. The company is keeping much about its vote-counting procedures private, including who is doing the counting and footing the bill. However, the recount is live-streaming on Trump-friendly news channel One America News Network. Cyber Ninjas owner Doug Logan was ordered by a court to make his procedures public by Monday, notably several days after the recount actually started.

Reports from Arizona newspapers reveal that the auditors were finalizing rules about the process on Friday morning, as the audit began. Several last-minute changes included barring the use blue and black pens in its counting operation, after questioning from a journalist. Because the machines that count the votes read blue and black ink, any marks made on a ballot by an auditor in those colors could muddle the count.

Beyond the seat-of-the-pants style evident in the recount, there are glaring questions of objectivity. Logan is a fervent supporter of Donald Trump and is particularly partial to the former president’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen by use of fraud. Prior to deleting his Twitter account, the head of the company now tasked with auditing Maricopa County’s votes shared Stop the Steal content and other missives in support of Trump’s unfounded claim that the 2020 election was rigged. Logan is also the author of an election fraud "fact" sheet that was shared by Republican politicians in the months after the election.

Where the audit was held is significant. Maricopa County is home to Phoenix, and nearly two-thirds of the state’s ballots were cast there. Casting doubt on the state’s population center throws all results into doubt. However, it’s unclear that the people tasked with questioning the voting process have any standing to do so.

“My concern grows deeper by the hour,” Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told the New York Times. “It is clear that no one involved in this process knows what they are doing, and they are making it up as they go along.”

Orlando Weekly has reached out to Cyber Ninjas and Logan. We will update this story should they respond.

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