Maricopa County officials on Wednesday refuted nearly every claim in an error-riddled report commissioned by Arizona Senate Republicans on the 2020 election that cast doubt on the validity of ballots.
The officials issued a 93-page rebuttal to Cyber Ninjas, the company hired by state Senate Republicans to conduct the election review, and its subcontractors.
“The truth is that the Maricopa County 2020 election was not stolen from Donald Trump,” County Recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican elected in 2020 who has defended the integrity of an elections office overseen by the Democrat he defeated, said.
County elections officials told the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in a four-hour meeting Wednesday that 76 of the 77 claims made in the Cyber Ninjas report were false or misleading.
They confirmed one of the errors discovered by Cyber Ninjas: Fifty ballots had been counted twice. According to Scott Jarrett, the county’s co-director of elections, they were scanned and tabulated twice by a temporary employee who was one of many hired to assist with the election. He claimed that the double-counted ballots had no effect on the outcome of any election.
County officials said they had identified 37 additional ballots that should be investigated further and had forwarded them to the Arizona attorney general.
“We went out and researched every single voter.” “And if there was anything that was potentially illegal, it was referred to the attorney general,” Richer explained.
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, who commissioned the Cyber Ninjas review, had not yet seen the Maricopa County officials’ presentation and had no comment, according to communications director Kim Quintero.
The chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Bill Gates, said he hopes Arizona lawmakers disregard the Cyber Ninjas report as they consider overhauling election laws.
“It has been debunked, and it was written by people who are not experts in the field,” Gates explained. “We’re finished. The 2020 election has come to an end. We addressed the issues and debunked them.”.
The Cyber Ninjas’ report, presented in September 2021, revealed that their hand count of ballots nearly matched what the county reported. However, the report called into question over 53,000 ballots out of 2.1 million cast in Maricopa County, the state’s largest county, where President Joe Biden defeated Trump by 10,457 votes.
The Cyber Ninjas report was based on a review of tactics that election experts from both parties had predicted for months would produce inaccurate results. Many of its conclusions were disproven in real time by county officials, journalists, and election experts.
Nonetheless, Trump and his supporters seized on those aspects of the report, citing them to support the former President’s lies that voter fraud was to blame for his 2020 defeat.
The largest batch of ballots challenged by Cyber Ninjas and its subcontractors were 23,344 mail-in ballots they claimed came from people who had moved. They arrived at that conclusion after analyzing names and birth years using a third-party commercial database.
County officials said those methods were flawed, in part because they ignored the fact that some people with the same name will be born in the same year in Arizona’s most populous county.
County officials used more data when reviewing Cyber Ninjas’ data, such as full names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, state-issued IDs, presidential election voting histories, signatures, and, in some cases, parents’ last names and voters’ occupations.
“The County reviewed voters from these seven data sets and discovered that the methodologies and claims were incorrect,” according to the rebuttal. “Cyber Ninjas’ analysis was based on the use of a third-party commercial database. The combination of this commercial database and soft matching techniques is most likely one of the reasons Cyber Ninjas reached incorrect conclusions.”
The report also goes into gruesome detail about the tactics employed by Shiva Ayyadurai, an elections conspiracy theorist hired by Cyber Ninjas to review mail-in ballot envelopes. His false claims, based on a lack of understanding of Arizona’s early-voting laws and how ballot envelopes had been scanned, had already been widely debunked, but they have been cited by Trump and his allies in order to cast doubt on tens of thousands more ballots.