Arizona Senate Will Conduct Audit At State Fairgrounds

By Jill Ryan
Associated Press
Published: Thursday, April 15, 2021 - 7:25am
Updated: Thursday, April 15, 2021 - 7:27am

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Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez/KJZZ
The Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix.

The Arizona Senate is renting the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the state fairgrounds for its audit of Maricopa County’s election results.

The Senate will use the former Phoenix Suns arena to store election equipment and 2.1 million 2020 ballots.

Republican Senate President Karen Fann has hired Florida-based Cyber Ninjas, a firm led by a backer of unfounded election fraud theories, to oversee the audit, including a hand recount of ballots.

The Senate will pay only for electricity and personnel at the Coliseum, which it is renting for four weeks beginning on Monday. It also must provide its security.

Supporters of President Donald Trump have cast doubt on the Maricopa County election results since Joe Biden's narrow win last year. But there has been no evidence of widespread fraud. Judges rejected several lawsuits alleging irregularities in the count.

→ Ken Bennett: 'I Hope' Voters Know Who's Paying For Senate Audit Of Maricopa County Ballots

Last month, the county released the results of two new audits of their equipment that showed no malicious software or incorrect counting equipment and that none of the computers or equipment were connected to the internet.

Fann had hoped to conduct the audit at the county's election warehouse, but county officials declined.

Election administration and security experts said in a letter to Fann this week that they were “deeply disturbed” by the decision to hire Cyber Ninjas for the audit. The election was conducted securely, and the audit could undermine confidence in U.S. elections, they said.

“At this point, additional audits will have little value other than to stoke conspiracy theories and partisan gamesmanship — or worse,” wrote officials from the Brennan Center of Justice, Verified Voting and RSM Election Technologies.

Cyber Ninjas chief Doug Logan has said his personal views are irrelevant because he intends to conduct a transparent audit.