Months behind schedule, Arizona election auditors extend lease again

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  tessylo  •  one month ago  •  26 comments

By:   Jane C. Timm, NBC News

Months behind schedule, Arizona election auditors extend lease again

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T




Months behind schedule, Arizona election auditors extend lease again









ef0fd520ac380d8ea242b3610cfe31e6









Jane C. Timm

Thu, July 1, 2021, 7:40 PM





Arizona Senate Republicans’ extraordinarily partisan and controversial  ballot review again extended their lease this week, adding at least two more weeks to the already delayed operation.




The contractors, led by cybersecurity firm   Cyber Ninjas,   had planned to pack up and finish their review remotely, Ken Bennett, the Arizona Senate liaison to the audit, said as recently as last week. But on Thursday he said auditors had decided to seek more time to review ballots and machinery in person.

“The hand count’s done, but in my opinion the audit is just starting,” Bennett told NBC News, noting that the reviewers had only recently obtained documents they consider critical to the count.

Arizona's election results have been audited multiple times since Nov. 3 by the state and county, and the system was found to be accurate and secure. President Joe Biden won the state by around 10,000 votes. But in December, state Senate Republicans took the unusual step of going to court to take custody of the county's ballots and voting machines. They then turned the materials over to third-party contractors with little experience in elections, launching a first-of-its-kind review that Republican leaders said would restore trust in elections and help the lawmakers write new election laws. The so-called "audit" has been slammed by experts as a bungled, amateurish effort with results that cannot be trusted.


On Thursday, Bennett said the contractors has just started reviewing documents that track duplications of ballots that were damaged or unreadable in a tabulator. The records, he said, were obtained through a public information request by AUDIT USA, a group supporting the Arizona operation.


Bennett predicted that the logs of duplicated ballots "probably will infamously be called the blue sheets," and complained that the county had not provided them along with the other subpoenaed election materials.

“Those documents are critical to understanding how many ballots were taken out of every almost every batch and sent to duplication and therefore have to be accounted for in accounting for all of the ballots," he told NBC News on Thursday, from the floor of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the state fairgrounds arena that's housed the audit for the last few months.

A spokesman for Maricopa County’s Elections Department, Megan Gilbertson, said the state Senate did not subpoena the logs, which the county had explained in detail in a 17-page technical document prepared in response to state Senate   claims   that the election materials were, among other things, missing ballots.

Asked for details on the public information requests, Gilbertson said AUDIT USA asked for materials from the county on June 11; the county fulfilled them on June 14.

Barry Burden, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor and director of the school's   Elections Research Center , said the latest extension was "yet another sign that the Cyber Ninjas are in over their heads and didn't really have the experience or qualifications to do the review that they're doing."

Burden was a co-author of a recent   report   that sharply criticized the processes of the Arizona audit.

Ballot duplication is "a regular part of the process that any poll worker or election official would know about," Burden said Thursday night, adding that it was worrisome that the audit was just considering the logs two months into the review.

The audit won't be continuing in the state fairgrounds' Veterans Memorial Coliseum arena where it has taken place for the last few months; that space is   reportedly   booked for other events in July. Instead, the contractors are moving approximately 2.1 million ballots and hundreds of election machines to another site at the fairgrounds, the Wesley Bolin Building.

That space is “not recommended for use between May through September,”   according to the venue,   but Bennett said the “swamp coolers” would keep the space cool enough.

Bennett said once the audit was operational in the new space, reviews of the log sheets and ballot signatures would continue. He said he also hoped the Senate would agree to contract another firm for an independent tabulation of ballot images.

“There’s even talk of a couple of other tasks that would give us good data points to compare to,” he said, declining to explain further.

The third extension is the latest in a review process that's been marked by procedural snafus, repeated delays, and blown deadlines. The audit was supposed to wrap up in the middle of May, but the hand recount took longer than expected and the contractors were forced to move out of the arena temporarily for prescheduled high school graduations. During the temporary break, the ballots were also housed in the Wesley Bolin Building. After that, the auditors returned to the arena and had been scheduled to pack up on Wednesday, June 30.

Burden warned that the new space poses another risk: swamp coolers act like humidifiers, he said, which may damage the ballots or make them look different from the other ballots.

"Dragging ballots back and forth between the climates is going to change the paper," he said.









Article is LOCKED by author/seeder
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Tessylo
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Tessylo    one month ago

What a FUBAR SNAFU!

Those results can surely be trusted!  jrSmiley_88_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Veronica
Junior Guide
2  Veronica    one month ago

We need more time to alter the ballots or to throw them away.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Tessylo  replied to  Veronica @2    one month ago

These ballots have been in so many hands - the facility was closed for weeks with all the ballots accessible - yet they continue this bullshit.  

 
 
 
Veronica
Junior Guide
2.1.1  Veronica  replied to  Tessylo @2.1    one month ago

I am sure they had them secure......  ~s~  or is it ~snark~?

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3  seeder  Tessylo    one month ago

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4  Trout Giggles    one month ago

Not surprised. You don't put a 10 year old in charge of surgery at your local hospital

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
5  evilgenius    one month ago

The head of Cyber Ninjas has been linked to QAnon, all the voting information has been uploaded to a server at his personal residence in Montana and most of his staff are alleged to have quit or been fired.

 
 
 
Veronica
Junior Guide
5.1  Veronica  replied to  evilgenius @5    one month ago

Why would anyone want some nutjob to have their voting information?

 
 
 
Snuffy
Junior Quiet
5.1.2  Snuffy  replied to  Veronica @5.1    one month ago

God I hate partisan politics.  This action is all by the Republican party for "ammo" for the mid-terms.  I know a "conspiracy theory" is this will be used to put Trump back into the Oval office, that ain't gonna happen.  

sigh

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
5.1.3  seeder  Tessylo  replied to  Snuffy @5.1.2    one month ago

Yet you are a trumpturd supporter/enabler

sigh

 
 
 
Veronica
Junior Guide
5.1.4  Veronica  replied to  Snuffy @5.1.2    one month ago

Have no clue what you are talking about.  I was talking about some nutjob that has people's voting information that he has claimed as his own like some porn junkie. 

 
 
 
Snuffy
Junior Quiet
5.1.5  Snuffy  replied to  Veronica @5.1.4    one month ago

The nutjob was hired by state Republicans and the purpose as near as I can tell is mostly aimed at finding ammo to use in the mid-terms.  Does that clear it up?  I was agreeing with you,  this is another example of partisan politics in action. This is from the Republicans. There is also  (please note the term also) a conspiracy theory being floated that this audit is part of what will be used to put Trump back into the Oval Office and i said that wasn't gonna happen.  

Does this clear it up for you now?

 
 
 
Veronica
Junior Guide
5.1.6  Veronica  replied to  Snuffy @5.1.5    one month ago

All I asked was WHY would anyone want a nutjob to get their voting information.  Has nothing to do with politics.  I did NOT mention politics in any way shape or form.  I asked a question that you seem reluctant to answer.  WOULD YOU WANT THIS NUTJOB TO HAVE YOUR VOTING INFORMATION?  AND IF SO WHY?

Not everything has to do with politics - a nutjob is a nutjob regardless of their party affiliation.  I wouldn't want a Democrat nutjob to have my information for his personal handjobs either.

 
 
 
Snuffy
Junior Quiet
5.1.7  Snuffy  replied to  Veronica @5.1.6    one month ago

to just answer your question,  no I don't want some fucking nutjob to have my voting information.  But he does because I live in Arizona and I did use a mail-in ballot for the last election.

And as I also said,  I believe this is being done for partisan reasons by the R's for dirt to use in the next election cycle.  Both statements are , I believe, true.  He's a fucking nutjob AND he's attempting to gain dirt for talking points for the Republicans to use in the next election.  

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
5.2  seeder  Tessylo  replied to  evilgenius @5    one month ago

Operations 'carried out largely in secret'

Greg Burton, Republic executive editor, said the news organization is taking action because the audit is directed by a group of partisans from the Senate who themselves were on the ballots.

“Despite promises by Senate leaders that its vote audit would be transparent, the operations of the recount have been carried out largely in secret by hired, not elected, parties performing the functions of elected officials,” Burton said in a court declaration.

Just as the public has a right to government documents to help discern whether elected officials are acting in the public's interest, so does the public have a right to documents from contractors like Cyber Ninjas acting on behalf of the government, especially on such an important matter, he said.

“The lack of information makes it difficult to discern the quality of this recount,” Burton said. “It will make it impossible to weigh the credibility of the work once results are announced. Information from participants, particularly Cyber Ninjas, is essential to help the public understand, let alone challenge, the process.”

Arizona's largest newspaper sues Cyber Ninjas, state senate over controversial 2020 election 'audit'

  • The partisan review ended in June, but results could still be months away.
  • Critics have complained that the process has lacked transparency.
  • President Joe Biden won Maricopa County by more than 45,000 votes..
The largest newspaper in Arizona announced Thursday that it has filed lawsuit to obtain financial records and communications from the Republican-led state Senate and Cyber Ninjas, the private firm that has overseen a highly irregular recount of the 2020 election in Maricopa County.

"Arizona law entitles the public to know how this audit is being conducted and funded," David Bodney, an attorney for The Arizona Republic,   said in a statement .

In a June 30 complaint,   filed in Maricopa County Superior Court , the newspaper argues that it is entitled to the records under the state's public records law. The lawsuit comes after the parties denied a request to hand the documents over voluntarily.

Neither Cyber Ninjas nor state Senate President Karen Fann, who led the push for the controversial review of the Maricopa County results, responded to requests for comment.

Last month, Ken Bennett, a former elected Republican who is serving as spokesperson for the "audit," said workers had finished counting the nearly 2.1 million ballots cast in the county, which President Joe Biden won by more than 45,000 votes. But he said a final report could be months away .

The partisan review, which began in late April, has been mired in controversy from the start. For one, it comes after Maricopa County's Republican-led Recorder's office already  conducted a professional review  of the 2020 vote that disproved allegations of widespread fraud.

Cyber Ninjas, by contrast, has no experience auditing election results. It also does not appear to be impartial: Before being awarded the $150,000 contract to review the vote, founder Doug Logan  promoted pro-Trump conspiracy theories on social media — and  recorded the narration  for a web documentary claiming the election was stolen. The effort has also been backed by the far-right One America News Network, and a OANN reporter raised money for the campaign and enjoyed the status of being its official media partner.

The actual process has also raised eyebrows. In a departure from norms, the Cyber Ninjas audit process allows for vote tallies to be certified even when there is disagreement among workers on the final count.

Conspiracy theories have also been a prominent feature: volunteers were observed scanning ballots with ultraviolet lights in part, organizers said, to look for signs of bamboo , believing that would show they were fraudulent votes manufactured in China. And leaders of the effort falsely accused Maricopa County's Republican-led Board of Supervisors of deleting election data they were supposed to hand over, a claim amplified by the former president  walked back  after workers discovered it on another hard drive.
 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
5.3  Ender  replied to  evilgenius @5    one month ago

What? How is that legal. I would be pissed that that nutjob had all my info at his home.

 
 
 
Veronica
Junior Guide
5.3.1  Veronica  replied to  Ender @5.3    one month ago

I know, right?  Anybody that sets his website up to attract juveniles has something wrong with him.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
6  JohnRussell    one month ago

This fiasco has lacked credibility from the start. 

Now they are trying to figure out how to lie about the results in the least laughable way possible, as if that could ever be a thing. 

 
 
 
r.t..b...
Masters Participates
6.1  r.t..b...  replied to  JohnRussell @6    one month ago

“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” ~H.L. Mencken

…and this isn’t even a complex problem, just a manufactured one. 

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
7  seeder  Tessylo    one month ago

I just noticed this:

The hand count’s done, but in my opinion the audit is just starting,” Bennett told NBC News, noting that the reviewers had only recently obtained documents they consider critical to the count.

Arizona's election results have been audited multiple times since Nov. 3 by the state and county, and the system was found to be accurate and secure. President Joe Biden won the state by around 10,000 votes. But in December, state Senate Republicans took the unusual step of going to court to take custody of the county's ballots and voting machines. They then turned the materials over to third-party contractors with little experience in elections, launching a first-of-its-kind review that Republican leaders said would restore trust in elections and help the lawmakers write new election laws. The so-called "audit" has been slammed by experts as a bungled, amateurish effort with results that cannot be trusted.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
7.1  Ender  replied to  Tessylo @7    one month ago

Imo means they didn't actually find anything so look and look some more...

 
 
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