And a GOP county election official ripped Donald Trump on Saturday as “unhinged” for parroting false complaints about the ballots. “We can’t indulge these insane lies any longer. As a party. As a state. As a country,” Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer tweeted.
Board of Supervisors Chair Jack Sellers blasted the Cyber Ninjas company hired by the GOP-dominated state Senate to scrutinize the 2.1 million county ballots as being in “way over their heads,” reported the local Daily Independent.
Sellers attacked the company in a statement Thursday after he was informed by the state Senate that Cyber Ninjas, which has no experience in elections or vote counts, predictably expressed early concerns about “issues” with the ballots.
Sellers lashed the concerns as “false and ill-informed.”
“The contractors hired by the Senate President are not auditors and they are not certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission,” he wrote. “It’s clearer by the day: the people hired by the Senate are in way over their heads. This is not funny; this is dangerous.”
It’s the latest sign that the increasingly suspicious recount is driving a wedge between Republicans.
Suburban Phoenix GOP state Sen. Paul Boyer said earlier this week that he regretted ever backing the recount. “It makes us look like idiots,” he said. “I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point.”
Sellers launched his attack just as a crush of ballots was being loaded, unsupervised, onto trucks to be moved to storage from the recount operation at a local coliseum to make way for graduation ceremonies. (The recount was supposed to be finished Friday.) Critics of the operation fear that countless ballots may have already been altered, lost, stolen or trashed.
Cyber Ninjas is owned and operated by right-wing conspiracy theorist Doug Logan, who’s a disciple of the “big lie” that the presidential election was rigged against Donald Trump. He retweeted messages months ago that any audit of the Arizona vote would inevitably turn up hundreds of thousands of votes for Trump.
Cyber Ninjas operatives are examining ballots with ultraviolet light in a crackpot hunt for any bamboo fibers, which Logan believes would indicate that ballots have been sent from China.
Only the races won by Democrats are being audited. One of the auditors is a Trump-supporting former state legislator who was at the Capitol riot.
Early this week, state Senate President Karen Fann called on Maricopa County to respond to a mysterious allegation that a “database directory” had been deleted from election systems being subpoenaed by Senate Republicans. The tweet was pounced on by Trump in an overheated post in his own blog, which triggered the “unhinged” criticism from Richer.
Sellers called the Senate president’s tweet “outrageous, completely baseless and beneath the dignity of the Arizona Senate” and demanded an immediate retraction.
The Arizona vote was certified nearly six months ago by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey after several recounts failed to find any irregularities. Democrat Joe Biden beat Trump by 10,457 votes in the state. Biden edged out his rival by more than 2 percentage points ― about 45,000 votes ― in Maricopa County.
Trump recently indicated to guests at his Mar-a-Lago social club in Florida that sudden votes unearthed for him by the Cyber Ninjas could be his way back to White House reinstatement.