Arizona GOP picks firm run by election conspiracy theorist to audit 2020 results

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Even Republicans in the state have said a third audit is unnecessary.

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann on Wednesday announced she hired Cyber Ninjas, a firm led by a Donald Trump supporter who was active in pushing "Stop the Steal" conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election, to conduct an audit of the state's election results.

This is the third audit to be conducted in the state as Republicans continue to push the lie that the election was stolen from Trump due to mass voter fraud — a lie that's been debunked multiple times by the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and two previous audits of Arizona's ballots.

Fann said the third audit will consist of a full hand recount of 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County, the most populous county in the state and formerly a Republican stronghold.

Fann had first announced that Allied Security Operations, a firm with a history of pursuing false claims of election fraud, would do the audit, but later said she hadn't decided.

Now she's officially announced that Cyber Ninjas will lead the audit, to be conducted along with three other firms.

The Arizona Mirror reported on the long history of statements on social media posted by Cyber Ninjas owner Doug Logan pushing pro-Trump conspiracy theories about election fraud.

According to the report, posts on Logan's now-deleted Twitter account included claims that Venezuela rigged voting machines in the United States to steal the election from Trump and hashtags like "#StopTheSteal," the motto of the rally that preceded the attack by supporters of Trump on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

A joint report issued by the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security officially debunked the claim that voting machines were rigged in March, and lawyers and officials tied to Trump, as well as right-wing cable networks, are now being sued by voting machine companies for promoting the lie.

What's more, a previous audit Fann ordered found "no hacking or vote switching occurred in the 2020 election."

Democrats responded angrily to Fann's announcement of the firms that will conduct the recount.

"What are we doing other than just undermining the past election and voter confidence?" state Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios told USA Today.

Even Republicans in the state had previously said the audit is unnecessary.

"It's really not a necessary process. So, it's not something I believe that needs to be done or that it should be done," former Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell said last month, adding that a hand recount is prone to human error.

Ultimately, it's unclear what Arizona Republicans want to accomplish with the audit. The election is over; Joe Biden won and is serving as president of the United States.

In addition to challenging the 2020 election results, GOP lawmakers in Arizona are introducing voter suppression laws based on the same false claims of fraud.

Nearly two dozen Republican bills are aimed at making it harder to vote by mail, tightening voter ID requirements, and even giving the state Legislature the ability to ignore the will of the voters and choose presidential electors for the Electoral College.

Arizona Republican state Rep. John Kavanagh defended the bills in March, saying, "There's a fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats value as many people as possible voting, and they're willing to risk fraud. Republicans are more concerned about fraud, so we don't mind putting security measures in that won't let everybody vote — but everybody shouldn't be voting."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.