Managers of the GOP partisan audit of the Arizona presidential vote ignored complaints about sexual harassment at the operation for weeks, a Phoenix TV station reports.
Workers were forced to endure the harassment, even after submitting written complaints, according to CBS affiliate Channel 5, citing several accounts from the women. One insider provided seven other written statements submitted to managers from “victims and witnesses” disturbed by the harassment, Channel 5 reported.
The complaints largely centered on one audit worker at the operation at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum examining 2.1 million votes in Maricopa County. The recount, which includes Phoenix, was launched months ago by state Senate Republicans and only examined races that Democrats won.
“Any time that he would come across someone he considered attractive ... he would harass them — things like trying to demand dates, things like making sexual comments,” the insider told Channel 5, referring to the man most complained about. She said the comments turned into unwanted touching and other physical advances.
The TV station has the name of the man accused of harassment but did not reveal it, nor did it divulge the identities of the women who complained.
One woman reportedly wrote that the man made “several unwarranted and unwanted comments about my appearance.”
Another wrote that “when I didn’t return a compliment or react to his flirting, he would insult me.” She also complained about unwanted touching.
Others complained that he was angry and aggressive, Channel 5 noted.
“He would seemingly randomly have angry outbursts,” wrote one witness. “This issue seemed to stem from some type of anger over women having authority over him,” another wrote.
The complaints and witness accounts were dated in early May, but the male worker remained part of the operation for another month, CBS 5 reported.
“We told upper management, and yet he was allowed to stay on the floor for weeks,” the inside source told Channel 5.
State Senate President Karen Fann (R) passed a statement along to Channel 5 from the “lead vendor” conducting the audit (who was not identified) that no written complaints about harassment were ever received, nor was the “lead vendor” aware of any other complaints.
One manager who was “cussing a lot” and “apparently” told an “inappropriate joke” was “immediately fired,” according to the statement provided by Fann’s office to Channel 5.
The reported complaints from women are only the recent issues in a cascade of serious problems with the audit, which is being referred to as the “fraudit” in the media and by a number of officials.
The Cyber Ninjas firm from Florida, which has no experience with recounts, is in charge of the audit. It’s run by Doug Logan, a promoter of the baseless “Big Lie” claim that the presidential election was rigged, and who recently appeared in a new film spouting QAnon conspiracy theories. He posted messages months ago on Twitter that a vote recount would inevitably turn up “hundred of thousands” of unreported votes for Donald Trump.
Cyber Ninjas workers have pored over the ballots seeking proof of bamboo, which they believe would reveal Chinese interference in the vote. And a subcontractor recently whisked away voting system data to a cabin 1,300 miles away in Montana.
Qualified election officials have warned that large numbers of the unsecured ballots may already have been altered or trashed, and are now completely unreliable — and that manipulation of voting machines has rendered them unusable for future elections.
The Arizona Republic earlier this week filed a special action in Maricopa County Superior Court seeking financial records and communications about the audit from the state Senate and Cyber Ninjas. Very few details about the audit are publicly known, and the newspaper’s earlier requests for information have been denied.
Cyber Ninjas “by virtue of its performing a core governmental function funded in part by state taxpayer dollars, was required to maintain these Public Records and make them available,” the Republic’s complaint reads. “Yet Cyber Ninjas has refused to do so.”
The newspaper’s attorney, David Bodney, emphasized that “Arizona law entitles the public to know how this audit is being conducted and funded. And the Arizona public records law does not permit the Senate to play ‘hide the ball’ by delegating core responsibilities to a third party like Cyber Ninjas and concealing records of government activities and public expenditures in Cyber Ninjas’ files.”
The Arizona vote was certified more than six months ago by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey after several recounts failed to find any irregularities. 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 has indicated to guests at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida that he believes votes unearthed for him by the Cyber Ninjas could be his way back to White House reinstatement.
Check out the full Channel 5 report up top.