According to an observer report for Secretary of State Katie Hobbs
' (D) office, auditors at the Republican presidential ballot recount
were reportedly allowed to bring guns
to the operation — as long as the weapons remained concealed.
A court order allowed nonpartisan observers to observe the operation at the Veterans Memorial
Coliseum, where the audit of 2.1 million votes
in Maricopa County
, including Phoenix
, was taking place.
The discovery of weapons on site, first reported by the Arizona Mirror, was among several "security
concerns." Others included unattended ballots, material labeled "confidential" and left in unsupervised areas, and the use of black
pens. Pens with black and blue ink, which can be read by voting
machines, were prohibited from recount operations in the state to ensure the pens could not be read by voting machines.
UPDATED: Secretary of State observers confirm additional security concerns in the partisan ballot review occurring at the Coliseum, which can be found here: https://t.co/75kgFQNR76
pic.twitter.com/WE5Fe5a52f — Secretary Katie Hobbs (@SecretaryHobbs) June 22, 2021
According to the observers' report, Ken Bennett, the state Senate
's own liaison, was spotted on the floor with a cell phone, which was also not permitted at recount operations as a security precaution because phones could be used to photograph ballots, confidential information, and voters
' personal data.
Earlier this month, copies of voting system data were whisked away to a secret hideout in Montana
, which Bennett referred to as a "super lab," but it was actually the home address of a subcontractor for the Cyber Ninjas
, the firm conducting the audit. Bennett confirmed that the data could include "sensitive" private voter information.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” said Hobbs, who is running for governor
of Arizona. “If it wasn’t happening right in front of our eyes, we wouldn’t believe it was happening.”
I am deeply concerned that the Cyber Ninjas have moved Maricopa County election data to a residence in Montana – over 1,300 miles away from Phoenix – for no discernible reason. This #fraudit madness must end. https://t.co/3Ncqsjkph0
— Katie Hobbs (@katiehobbs) June 17, 2021
The audit was requested by Arizona Senate Republicans
, but only for Democratic-won races.
Cyber Ninjas, which has no experience auditing elections
, is led by conspiracy
theorist Doug Logan, a proponent of the “Big Lie
” that the 2020 election
was rigged, who has previously posted messages claiming that “hundreds of thousands” of new votes would inevitably be discovered for Donald Trump
A reporter for the Arizona Republic pointed out the violation — and danger
— of having blue pens at the recount to Logan several months ago. He told the journalist
that only black pens were prohibited, but now black pens have been spotted.
Doug is in charge of this audit, and he told me that his understanding was that blue ink was fine
- that the ballots only read black ink. Then he came back and said, actually, it appears I am correct, but he still seemed unsure, and he said they would work
on it. — Jen Fifield (@JenAFifield) April
Election officials have warned that a large number of unsecured ballots may have already been altered or trashed, rendering them untrustworthy, and that voting machines have been tampered with, rendering them unusable for future elections.
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey certified the Arizona vote more than six months ago, after Joe Biden
won the state by 10,457 votes and several recounts revealed no irregularities.
Despite the fact that Biden defeated Trump by more than 2 percentage points in Maricopa County (about 45,000 votes), Trump claims the results of the recount will return him to the White House