PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Arizona Sec. of State Katie Hobbs (D) has released her 122-page report on the Arizona Senate's audit of the 2020 election. She says the audit was filled with "security lapses, delays, disorganization, and lack of transparency." It comes just one day after Maricopa County announced it will seek reimbursement for new voting machines.
Hobbs' executive summary noted that Cyber Ninjas, the Florida-based contractor, "failed to meet industry standards for an audit, much less an election audit." The secretary of state claims the contractor clearly did not understand "election processes and procedures" at a state and county level, adding that the audit was more accurately described as a "partisan review" of the ballots.
Republican Senate President Karen Fann - who is spearheading the audit - has said her goal for this audit was not to overturn the 2020 election but to determine whether changes to state law would be needed going forward.
Lack of Security, Transparency
Hobbs says there was a lack of security at the audit site. No chain of custody procedures were demonstrated either, she said. Each computer at the audit site had a single login, shared passwords, and no multi-factor authentication.
The secretary of state cited a lack of transparency as another reason why she thinks the audit isn't credible. Hobbs says that no observers were allowed to watch a review of the voting system. She alleges that when the voting software and ballot data were sent to Montana, it compromised the integrity of the data. Hobbs says Cyber Ninjas never explained how the data was being secured or handled after it was shipped off.
No Clear Policies or Procedures
Hobbs' report details that there were no clear policies, practices, and procedures during the audit. And when documentation was made available following a court order, observers said they saw discrepancies and were often informed that such practices had changed, according to Hobbs.
The report also claims there was lack of compliance with federal law, as auditors failed to retain election materials for safekeeping. Other claims detail that if and when official observers were near Cyber Ninja auditors, they were to use "code words" to warn others.
Sec. Hobbs says considering the potential impact, her officer is recommending decertification of the subpoenaed equipment.
County launches 'Just the Facts'
Last month, Maricopa County launched a website to address what it called misinformation about the election audit. It came amid a claim from Cyber Ninjas that more early ballots were counted than were requested by voters.
“We have 74,243 mail-in ballots where there is no clear record of them being sent,” Cyber Ninja's CEO Doug Logan said at a meeting at Arizona’s Capitol on July 15. “That could be something where documentation wasn’t done right. There’s a clerical issue. There’s not proper things there, but I think when we’ve got 74,000, it merits knocking on a door and validating some of this information.”
The Maricopa County Recorder refuted those claims, saying that 2.3 million early ballots were requested while only 1.9 million were returned. In a July 16 tweet, election officials said that "EV32" and "EV33" files are not proper files to account for all early ballots that were sent and received.
Former President Donald Trump lost Arizona by 10,457 votes.
Senate awaits Cyber Ninja's report
Next week, the state Senate is expected to receive Cyber Ninja's final report into the county's election results.