Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai Defends His Maricopa County Ballot Audit Findings After Media Attack

Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, who authored the portion of the Maricopa County ballot audit addressing the signatures on the return envelopes of mail-in ballots, is furious with an article by an Arizona journalist in a left-leaning publication. Ayyadurai believes the Maricopa County Supervisors got Arizona Mirror reporter Jeremy Duda to write a “hit job” on him. He wrote a 67-page letter to Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich about the article, asking them to conduct an investigation, and to allow him to hold a public meeting where he can address his concerns with the supervisors. Brnovich is currently investigating the results of the audit, and has instructed Maricopa County to freeze all 2020 election materials in a litigation hold.

Specifically, Ayyadurai wants to “Expose how the Arizona Mirror has nothing to do with ‘Independent Journalism,’ but is part of an organized network of local and decentralized media funded by Arabella Advisors, what the The New York Times and Politico term as ‘dark money’ aimed to manufacture narratives to meet partisan objectives.”

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Arizona Senate President Warns State Could Take Control of Maricopa Election After Audit Red Flags

Following the release of explosive findings by an independent forensic audit of the 2020 election in Arizona’s Maricopa County, the state may step in to assume direct control of election administration there before the next election, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann hinted Friday.

The long-awaited results of an outside audit of the county’s 2020 election process were announced Sept. 24. While confirming the rough accuracy of county vote tabulation giving Joe Biden a razor-thin victory in Arizona, the auditors flagged more than 50,000 suspect ballots for further investigation of issues ranging from people voting from addresses from which they had already moved to residents voting twice.

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Maricopa County Audit Results Reveal Someone Was Caught on Video Illegally Deleting Hundreds of Thousands of Election Files the Day Before the Audit Started

Arizona Senate Republicans issued the results of the independent ballot audit they conducted of the 2020 presidential and U.S. Senate election in Maricopa County on September 24 during a presentation, revealing findings that numerous election laws were broken and security measures breached. 

The most startling finding came from Ben Cotton, the founder of CyFIR. He said hundreds of thousands of election files — which the Maricopa County Supervisors refused to allow the auditors to examine — were deleted the day before the audit began, a violation of federal law which requires federal election records to be retained for 22 months. Although the name of the account that deleted them was not tied to a specific election worker, Cotton said there is video of the person who accessed those servers at that time. 

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Threatens Maricopa County Supervisors with Loss of Funding If They Refuse to Comply with Election Subpoena

Following an investigation of the Maricopa County Supervisors refusing to comply with an election audit from the Arizona Senate, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich determined that the supervisors violated the law and intends to tell the Arizona Treasurer to withhold their state-shared funds if they don’t comply. Senate Republicans are winding down an independent audit they ordered into the 2020 election investigating the results of Joe Biden defeating Donald Trump in the presidential race and Mark Kelly defeating Martha McSally in the U.S. Senate race. The supervisors have fought the audit for months.

“We are notifying the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors that it must fully comply with the Senate’s subpoena as required by the law,” said Brnovich. “Our courts have spoken. The rule of law must be followed.” Brnovich said the supervisors’ “only response was that the Arizona Senate is not currently in session, so MCBOS could not be held in contempt.” The county could lose more than $700 million a year, over a quarter of its $2.7 million budget. 

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Report on Arizona’s Maricopa County Ballots in 2020 Election Delayed, Auditors Have COVID, Report

The report of ballots cast in the 2020 presidential election in Arizona’s Maricopa County has been delayed because the chief executive and two other employees of the audit team reportedly have COVID-19 and are “quite sick.”

A draft report of the findings was expected to be delivered Monday to Republicans in the state Senate, who hired the Florida-based firm Cyber Ninjas to conduct the audit.

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Senate Liaison for Arizona Audit Announces He May Step Down

Ken Bennett

On Wednesday, the Arizona Senate’s audit liaison Ken Bennett announced he will step down from the audit. Bennett issued the announcement on Wednesday morning in a radio interview.

Bennett said it was “impossible” to function as liaison, and revealed that volunteer consultant Randy Pullen would be assuming his duties. He said he would be a liaison in name only. Bennett refused to approve any final report on the audit, since he wasn’t allowed inside any longer.

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Twitter Bans Official Arizona Audit Account and Other Audit Accounts

Twitter permanently suspended the account of the official account of the Arizona Legislature’s audit of Maricopa County ballots, along with several other audit accounts on Tuesday. The official account, @ArizonaAudit, is offline, with a message stating it is suspended, as is a second account that appears affiliated with the audit, @AuditWarRoom. 

Four more accounts associated with audits taking place in Wisconsin, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Georgia were suspended, along with some accounts that were fundraising for the audit. One was run by One America News Network’s Christina Bobb. Voices & Votes raised $150,000 for the audit. Bobb tweeted, “They are blocking the release of audit information on Twitter.”

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State Senator Paul Boyer Withholds Vote to Enforce Subpoena Against Maricopa County, Arizona Election Officials, Says Auditors Are ‘Inexperienced, Partisan’

State Senator Paul Boyer (R-Glendale) won’t hold Maricopa County election officials in contempt for noncompliance with the Senate’s subpoena for election equipment and materials needed to complete the audit. This was revealed by Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) after Senate Liaison Ken Bennett shared that one of sixteen Republican senators wouldn’t hold the county accountable. 

The auditing company, Cyber Ninjas, explained in a hearing last week that they still lack the splunk logs, chain of custody documents, portable media and external drives, router configuration files or data, network diagram, backups of election management data, digital copies of all election policies and procedures utilized, files transmitted for duplicating or spoiling ballots, records of all paper distributed to vote centers, information and guidelines on adjudication of ballots, total count of all ballots sent to eligible voters on the state’s voter information portal (UOCAVA), and a full backup copy of database of voter rolls. 

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Karen Fann: Audit Numbers Don’t Match Maricopa County’s Numbers

Karen Fann Election Portrait

The audit of Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 election ordered by the Arizona Legislature finished last month, and State Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) said Tuesday the ballot totals don’t match the county’s official results. She told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show, “They haven’t released a number yet, if you will, however we do know that those numbers do not match with Maricopa County at this point.”

When asked about the degree of the discrepancy in the audit versus the official county tallies, Fann said, “I do not know. They have not told me the number;” adding that the auditors are “finishing up.”

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The Arizona Republic Sues State Senate, Cyber Ninjas for Election Audit Records

One of Arizona’s largest newspapers is suing the state Senate and the contracted company running the audit, Cyber Ninjas, for access to their election audit records and financial records. The Arizona Republic, part of the Gannett mass media company, filed a special action on Wednesday in the Maricopa County Superior Court – case number LC2021-000180. Reportedly, the Senate denied the paper’s request for access to the audit and financial records, saying they weren’t public record. The specific information they hope to obtain includes the process for the audit, businesses involved, funding sources, and all communications of those involved.

The plaintiffs in the case are Phoenix Newspapers and Kathy Tulumello, news director for The Arizona Republic. Including the state Senate and Cyber Ninjas, the other defendants named are Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott), Senate Majority Leader Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert), and the secretary for the Senate, Susan Aceves. 

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Arizona Legislature Wraps up Session for the Year

The Arizona Legislature wrapped up this year on Wednesday with a nearly record-long session, reaching 171 days. Lawmakers came to an agreement on most of the budget last Friday that contained historic tax cuts. Governor Doug Ducey signed that bill, HB 2900, also on Wednesday.

During the last few hours, the legislature approved the education budget bill, HB 2898, which included an expansion of the school voucher program. It reduces the length of time children must attend a public school before they are eligible for vouchers to use at a private school. Low-income children who live near poorly-rated schools will be eligible immediately, and others will only have to spend 45 days in the school, down from 100 days.

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Arizona House Passes Sentencing Reform Bill, But Passage in the Senate Remains Uncertain

The Arizona House of Representatives passed a sentencing reform bill on Monday, but due to a Senate committee chair failing to bring a similar bill up for a vote in the Senate earlier this year, SB 1064, it’s not clear whether it will make it through the Senate. SB 1064 would relax sentencing laws, which are some of the strictest in the nation. According to Arizona Prison & Sentencing Reform, the state has the fourth highest incarceration rate. Inmates are currently required to serve 85% of their sentences, but the bill would reduce that to as little as one third of their sentences. Inmates who complete self-improvement programs such as substance abuse treatment and maintain good behavior while in prison can receive time off their sentences.

The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support in the House, with legislators voting 50-8 in favor. The previous version of the bill, HB 2173, didn’t get very far in the Senate, since Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) declined to hear the legislation in his committee. The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Walt Blackman (R-Snowfake), decided to get around Petersen with the new legislation by using a strike-everything amendment. He amended a bill that had already passed out of the Senate, so it can go straight to the Senate floor for a vote. However, it is up to Sen. President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) to bring it up for a vote. There is little time left, since the legislative session will likely end this week, according to the AZ Mirror. 

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Status Update: The Maricopa County Ballot Audit

The ballot audit in Maricopa County is winding down, and as details leak out from the counting and analysis, it is becoming clear what many of the problems are that will need addressing. Some could be honest mistakes, such as voters marking their ballots incorrectly, but others could be far more serious.

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) listed off several discrepancies in a letter to the Maricopa County Supervisors on May 12, such as different numbers of ballots in the boxes than the numbers listed on the pink sheets inside the boxes. She cited several examples, including one box that contained an alarming 35 fewer ballots than the number on the pink slip.

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