Arizona, Donald-Trump, 2020-Campaign, Voting

Arizona, Donald-Trump

One of the Leaders of the Arizona Audit Says Cyber Ninjas Might Be Cooking the Books

Bennett’s turnaround is indeed noteworthy given that he was one of the drivers of this clown car of lies.

7/27/2021 3:21:00 AM

Ken Bennett has been nominally in charge of the Arizona audit. Also, he’s been denied basic information and permanently kicked out of the audit site.

Bennett’s turnaround is indeed noteworthy given that he was one of the drivers of this clown car of lies.

that appears poised to claim the same.Trump’s visit, though, came as the audit itself was beginning to unravel in spectacular fashion. It started before Trump’s remarks, when on Friday the Arizona Senate point-person for the audit, former Republican Secretary of State Senate Ken Bennett, was barred from his own audit site. It continued through the weekend, as previous supporters of the audit

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and Bennett himself considered whether to quit.AdvertisementNominally, the audit of Maricopa County—Arizona’s largest county and one that contributed heavily to Joe Biden’s slim margin of victory in the state—is happening on behalf of Senate President Karen Fann, who initiated the process in the spring and pushed for it to continue for months over the objections of local Republican officials and even some of the members of her own legislative conference. (This after the results in the state had been certified by the state’s Republican governor and previous partial audits had matched the original count precisely.) The audit itself, though, is being conducted by an unaccredited outside group called “Cyber Ninjas,” run by a Florida man who had espoused 2020 election conspiracies named Doug Logan, and

by other “Stop the Steal” conspiracy theorists.AdvertisementAdvertisementAdvertisementFann selected Bennett to oversee this operation for the Senate. On Friday, though, he was not even allowed into the building by the audit team. By Monday, he was spilling tea about the many areas of the audit that had been kept secret from him by Logan and Cyber Ninjas, threatening to quit his job, and all but confirming that Logan’s audit had cooked up a fake result. (On Monday, it was

that assistant audit liaison Randy Pullen was continuing to ban him from the facility.)It’s best to start on Friday, when the Arizona Republic published antitled “The Arizona Republic Senate liaison Ken Bennett blocked from entering Arizona election audit as tension with contractors boils over.”

AdvertisementThe Republic reported that Bennett “was not allowed into the building at the state fairgrounds where the audit is taking place, a day after he shared data with outside critics from an ongoing ballot count.” Those critics were a pair of outside data analysts.

As the Republic reported:The data Bennett provided to the outside analysts, Larry Moore and Benny White, showed the results of the ongoing machine count of the ballots tracks very closely with the county’s tally.If that trend continues, it may call into question the results of Cyber Ninjas’ count, because Fann has said that the Cyber Ninjas’ count did not match the county’s.

Advertisementappearancewith local conservative talk show host James T. Harris on Monday, Bennett confirmed that he had given the data to Moore and White, that he had been banned from the site, that it wasn’t the first time he had been blocked from information about the audit, and that he had been ready to tender his resignation to Fann before she talked him into staying on the job.

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Advertisement“The reason that I am that close to stepping down as the liaison is that I cannot be a part of a process that I am kept out of critical aspects along the way that make the audit legitimate and have integrity when we produce the final report,” Bennett said, “and unfortunately there have been too many of those situations.”

“The tip of the iceberg,” he continued, “came out last Friday when I was denied access to the audit itself.”Bennett went onto say that, though nominally in charge, he had been excluded from the actual adding up of the numbers and been denied information about how the audit was planning to validate its findings, if at all.

“I’m the liaison and I think when people hear that word they think, ‘OK, he’s in charge of it,” Bennett said. “But that has not been the case and let me just share some examples of why I’m standing here on the precipice.”AdvertisementAdvertisementBennett went on to give detailed descriptions of times he was kept out of the loop on critical audit procedures, which—given the

convoluted, bizarre, and unprecedented nature of the audit practices—require some explanation.In one such instance, Cyber Ninjas refused to give Bennett information about their ability to reconcile ballots that had to be duplicated—such as spoiled ballots or ballots from overseas military voters—and the duplicates themselves.

“I asked the auditors, ‘when we’re done with the duplicates, please give me a comprehensive reconciliation of were we able to identify one of these for every one of those’ and that has not been forthcoming now for two months,” Bennett said.In another case, the audit’s complex process for tallying votes—which involved three counters speed-reading ballots from a lazy susan, marking their totals, and sending them across the room to be reconciled and entered on a spreadsheet—led to confusion for Bennett.

Advertisement“There were serious issues in the aggregation spreadsheet when the tally sheets would be carried over to the end of the room and entered into the spreadsheet,” Bennett said. “For the first several weeks of the audit, huge issues with that.”

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Bennett said he was told that the unnamed problems with the lazy susan-spreadsheet dance had been resolved and he apparently took the Cyber Ninjas’ word for it for a time, but told the auditors he wanted it explained to him eventually. “I said, ‘well when we get to the point where you can show me, I want to look into that spreadsheet and make sure that we can show the public that every one of these tally sheets is correctly reflected somewhere else where it can be added up and come up with our totals,’” Bennett continued. “And a week or two later I’m told that those folks were told by auditors, ‘don’t share anything with Secretary Bennett.’”

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