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Secretary of State gets observers inside Maricopa County Election Audit, Cyber Ninjas has to reveal methods

Maricopa County election audit
Posted at 5:55 PM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 11:48:50-04

After a week trying to get in to watch, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs now has observers monitoring the recount of Maricopa County’s 2020 Presidential election results.

When the 2 p.m. audit team began its work Thursday, an election machine expert and two election auditing professionals were on-site watching.

“I feel comfortable that we have experts in the room who know what to look for in terms of any kind of election audit,” Secretary of State Hobbs said.

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The observers are Ryan Macias. He’s the former acting director of certification and testing for the U.S. election assistance commission. Macias certified Arizona’s voting machines. The two other observers are Jennifer Morell, a consultant with the Democracy Project and member of the leadership team of the elections group, and Liz Howard, an attorney with the Brennan Center for Justice.

Until Thursday, Secretary of State Hobbs was denied access to monitor the audit, a judge later ordered her office be allowed. Senate President Karen Fann, who is orchestrating the recount, and Hobbs worked out an arrangement before a noon deadline.

“Cyber Ninjas and their subcontractors are not auditing firms, not elections experts. They are absolutely making this up as they go along,” Hobbs said.

Cyber Ninjas complied with a court order Thursday requiring it to reveal the policies and procedures the company is using to conduct the election audit.

Cyber Ninjas tried to have its methods kept under seal claiming proprietary privilege, but the judge wouldn’t allow it.

Tom Collins, who is the executive director for the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission, believes the company probably supplied enough information to satisfy the court.

“As far as responding to specific concerns that have been identified on the record, this document does serve to try and articulate the answer to those,” Collins said.

Secretary of State Hobbs is reserving judgment about Cyber Ninjas methods. Saying only her office is reviewing what the company provided.

“I think it is incredibly unfortunate that it took a court order to provide this level of transparency that we’re just now getting,” Hobbs said.