Was Maricopa County audit rigged? Democrats open probe as GOP claims 'theft' and 'fraud'

Auditors claim 74,243 ballots added to the tally in county as House Democrats open an investigation into Cyber Ninjas over controversial audit

                            Was Maricopa County audit rigged? Democrats open probe as GOP claims 'theft' and 'fraud'
Supporters of President Donald Trump demonstrate in front of the Maricopa County Elections Department office on November 7, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Even over six months after the 2020 Presidential Elections, auditing and counting the ballots continue to occur. Maricopa County in Arizona is a prime example of this, where Republicans are so desperate to find proof of fraud, they have hinged their hope on firing conspiracy theories. Now, it appears Democrats have noticed and begun to question to nature of the audit. On July 14, the House Oversight and Reform Committee has launched a probe into the firm conducting the audit, as the GOP continues to cry foul.

The GOP is currently split over the 2020 elections. While a host of pro-Trump allies like Ted Cruz and Matt Gaetz continue to claim Trump won, others have slowly begun distancing themselves from the former President. In June, we reported that even the Arizona Senate President, Karen Fann, admitted Biden won. Nonetheless, the pro-Trump faction intends not just to change the 2020 results but also all future ones. At CPAC 2021 in Dallas, attendees were reportedly handed a 7-point plan to reinstate Trump.  


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The current audit is not the first of Maricopa County. Back in November 2020, the first official audit verified Biden's win, followed by a second months later. In what can only be seen as a bid to challenge the truth, the GOP requested the third audit, by a group with no experience in election auditing. So far, nothing has turned up out of the ordinary, but the GOP continues to claim fraud took place. 

The certified electoral votes for the state of Arizona are shown prior to an objection by Rep. Paul Gosar during a Joint Session of Congress on January 06, 2021, in Washington, DC (Win McNamee/Getty Images)


74,243 ballots 'not sent' say auditors

On July 15, auditors paid by the state to review Maricopa County appeared before the State Senate for a brief hearing. Testifying at the hearing was Doug Logan, CEO of auditing firm Cyber Ninjas; and Ben Cotton of digital security firm CyFIR. Cotton claimed that the voting machines used had not received any security updates, which the county shot down by saying was not standard practice. 

However, the real shocker came when it was alleged 74,243 mail-in ballots came in, but there "is no clear record of them being sent". That one line was enough to blow up social media, with Republicans claiming it was proof of fraud during the 2020 elections. In order to verify that data, the auditors requested a door-to-door canvass of voters, as well as additional hardware they said the county was withholding. The bombshell revelation is the first to come from the controversial audit since it began. 

The county itself has shot down those claims in a series of Tweets shortly after the statement was made. "The people who vote in-person use ballots provided at a Vote Center. This is not a new practice, so it's not unusual that we would have more early votes than mail-in ballots sent," they tweeted.



Despite conceding Biden won, Fann reportedly agreed with the auditors and said that the review is far from over. AZ Central reported Fann expects the request of additional data to end up in court, which will extend the audit further. Initially, it was expected to end in May, but in June, Cyber Ninjas took the data to a "lab" in Montana for further review. It's unclear if that move is related to the claim of additional ballots but is likely. In the meantime, Republicans have already swung into action. Reportedly, the claims are being used to craft legislation to prevent "fraud" from the next election. 

Supporters of President Donald Trump demonstrate in front of the Maricopa County Elections Department office on November 7, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona (Mario Tama/Getty Images)


Dems step in, to investigate Cyber Ninjas

Democrats in Arizona have stayed away from the hearing in Pheonix, protesting the audit. Meanwhile, in the US Capitol, the party has decided to get involved. On July 14, the House Oversight and Reform Committee sent a letter to Logan, informing him the company would be investigated. "We are concerned about your company’s role in this highly unusual effort, given Cyber Ninjas’ apparent lack of experience in conducting election-related audits," they wrote. 

The letter points out Cyber Ninjas' lack of auditing experience, the "sloppy and insecure audit practices", and how the audit was funded. Also under the scanner is Logan's embracing of conspiracy theories. The committee has requested Logan to hand over all documents relating to Cyber Ninjas' ownership, audit history, communications related to the Maricopa County audit, and those backing up their claims of fraud. It's unclear if Logan has responded yet to the letter. 

Contractors working for Cyber Ninjas examine and recount ballots from the 2020 general election at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 1, 2021, in Phoenix, Arizona (Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)

'Election fraud is now a fact'

News of the investigation has only further added to the chaotic debate online. Conservatives resumed their loud calls of fraud, while Democrats slammed the audit as a "power grab." Candice Owens tweeted, "It has now been proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris CHEATED in the 2020 election with mail-in ballots. The Democrats, in collusion with Big Tech and state TV, were the real insurrectionists all along."



"What it appears happened in Fulton County and Maricopa County is theft. Evidence of theft. Not just Trump but two Senators who do not belong. This is why they chant "The Big Lie" like a mantra. They do not want you to look," one conservative commentator tweeted. Another said, "NOW I get why Maricopa County and Biden admin fought tooth and nail to prevent an independent audit. 74,000 absentee ballot mail-in records missing, 25K duplicates, voter rolls a mess, bleed throughs, tens of thousands of ballots on demand, admin passwords issues. A disaster."




A Newsmax correspondent tweeted, "In Fulton County: ballots counted twice! And 7 tally sheets with 100 votes for Biden & zero votes for Trump! In Maricopa County: Thousands of duplicate ballots with no serial numbers! Election fraud is now a fact."



With the legal challenges, and the investigation into Cyber Ninjas it is unlikely the audit will die down any time soon. Maricopa isn't the only place this is happening, Fulton County is experiencing a similar situation too. With the 2022 mid-terms around the corner, expect more fraud theories to emerge as the GOP fight to win back the Senate, and the House. 

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