Why ask for counts from the “forensic audit” being done in Maricopa County?

August 12, 2021

Benny White

I recently submitted a Public Records Request to the Arizona Senate custodian of records. It is essential that someone gets access to the counts of ballots and the votes on the ballots that the CyberNinjas and then the Senate (aka CyberNinjas, disguised as independent contractors) produced during their “forensic audit” of the Maricopa County (AZ) 2020 General Election.

The reason it is essential for someone to get these counts is to have some ability to see if anything the CyberNinjas and the Arizona Senate reports has any credibility at all. If we don’t get these public records then no one will have any ability to challenge anything that comes out of the “forensic audit.” We will just have to take their word for it.

We think that is a real problem. Senator Karen Fann has already told the world that the count by the CyberNinjas does not match the official results. She didn’t tell us how much they differed but it was enough for her to authorize an additional count of the ballots to see how many ballots were really in those boxes. Her liaison, Ken Bennett, didn’t trust the new counts he was seeing so he asked us to check on a few boxes and he gave us the machine counts he had. We found one box that was off by 18 ballots and several that were off by 1 or 2. Close, but in this situation, you have to be exactly correct, 100% accurate. Close is not good enough.

When we get the counts we will compare on a box by box, batch by batch, precinct by precinct or whatever is required to see if the Ninjas got the right ballot count and whether the Senate machine count of ballots can be trusted. If you don’t get the count of ballots correct there is no way the count of votes could be correct. We expect the Senate machine count to be pretty close on most counts except for the problems you have when you are relying on people to write down numbers correctly on several different sheets of paper before they are entered into a computer.

If needed we will be able to compare the results on a ballot by ballot basis by looking at the ballot and comparing that to the ballot image. That assumes the ballots are back in the boxes in the same order they were initially in which is actually a pretty shaky assumption after watching what the Ninjas have done with the ballots.

Right now the courts are deciding whether or not we can get access to these records. Judge Kemp in Maricopa Superior Court issued a decision in a case called American Oversight v Fann et. al to indicate the Senate had to produce these records related to the audit and that they had to produce records generated by their agents and contractors for work they did in the audit. That decision is on appeal and we expect a decision sometime in the next few weeks. We expect a favorable decision and when we get the counts we intend to allow the public to see for themselves whether the audit has produced any useful information. We suspect everyone will see that the official results announced last November were correct after all.

Author: Benny White

J.D., Republican, Data Analyst for the Arizona Republican Party, Represent Pima County Administrator as member of Pima County Election Integrity Commission, 25 years of political activity, 14 years experience with election law, procedures and administration.