An Arizona state senator who initially backed the controversial recount of November votes in Maricopa County now says he regrets his support of the “ridiculous” operation.
“It makes us look like idiots,” state Sen. Paul Boyer of suburban Phoenix advised The New York Times in an article revealed Sunday. “I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point.”
Boyer has joined a rising military of Arizonans appalled by the Republican-dominated state Senate’s recount operation that targets solely races gained by Democrats within the county that features Phoenix. The non-public firm employed by the Senate, Cyber Ninjas, has no expertise with ballots or elections, and is owned and operated by right-wing conspiracy theorist Doug Logan, who subscribes to the “big lie” that the presidential election was rigged in opposition to former Republican President Donald Trump.
Critics of the audit worry that ballots could have already been altered, misplaced, stolen or trashed within the unsupervised partisan operation.
“I have no confidence as an election official that any of those ballots are legitimate now. None,” stated Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, who stated he has been deeply disturbed by the operation.
She advised The Arizona Republic in an article Sunday that the Cyber Ninjas’ procedures don’t come near the requirements of election directors. “Pretty much anything from today forward is just a crapshoot, and the only point of it is to undermine confidence in the results. That is the only endgame here,” she added.
Last week, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, obtained loss of life threats when she charged that the audit was being carried out with uncertified tools and poll auditing procedures which can be “a significant departure from standard best practices.”
So far, the Cyber Ninjas agency has managed to recount solely about 250,000 of the 2.1 million votes cast in the 2020 election in Maricopa County and can possible nonetheless be tallying no less than till August. Journalists have reported an apparently haphazard audit course of. A reporter for The Arizona Republic witnessed auditors utilizing pens with black and blue ink, that are presupposed to be forbidden in any recount as a result of they can be utilized to change ballots.
Cyber Ninjas staff have additionally been utilizing ultraviolet gentle to look at ballots in an effort to detect traces of bamboo that organizers are satisfied would reveal interference by China.
To add extra chaos to the state of affairs, the ballots will quickly should be packed up and saved in an unsupervised operation to make manner for commencement ceremonies at Phoenix’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where the recount is happening.
Now the state Senate and Cyber Ninjas are in search of entry to county authorities routers and passwords as a part of the audit. It’s a technique Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone has referred to as “mindlessly reckless” as a result of it will threaten the safety of delicate legislation enforcement work. It would additionally danger exposing non-public residents’ knowledge to a non-public firm with a partisan agenda.
Last week, the Senate agreed to “defer” its canvassing of voters by Cyber Ninjas operatives who had been knocking on doorways and interrogating residents about their voting histories. The operation was no less than quickly halted after the U.S. Department of Justice warned that such exercise might illegally intimidate voters and violate civil rights.
The Arizona vote was licensed almost six months in the past by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey after several recounts failed to search out any irregularities. Democrat Joe Biden beat Trump by 10,457 votes within the state. Biden edged out his rival by more than 2 percentage points ― about 45,000 votes ― in Maricopa County.
Trump not too long ago indicated to company at his Mar-a-Lago social membership in Florida that sudden votes unearthed for him by the Cyber Ninjas might be his manner again to White House reinstatement.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up for membership to change into a founding member and assist form HuffPost’s subsequent chapter