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The long-awaited farce of an Arizona election audit is ending in tragedy.
The Republican-controlled Arizona Senate was finally supposed to receive the report on its sham of an election fraud audit on Monday. But state Republicans announced that the report hadn’t been submitted—because the majority of the leaders of the conspiracy-minded Cyber Ninjas team that ran the so-called “audit” have caught COVID-19.
“The team expected to have the full draft ready for the Senate today, but unfortunately Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan and two other members of the five-person audit team have tested positive for COVID-19 and are quite sick,” Arizona’s Republican senate president, Karen Fann, said in a statement Monday afternoon.
Fann said the senate had received “a portion of the draft report,” and will meet Wednesday to begin reviewing what they had received.
The report won’t be made public until Senate Republicans decide to release it after reviewing and finalizing its findings, a process that will now slip even further into the future.
Cyber Ninjas, a firm that had never conducted an electoral audit before, was given carte blanche to investigate whether widespread fraud stole the election from President Trump. Since then, it’s been chaos.
The company, whose owner had publicly floated false conspiracy theories that the election had been rigged against Trump even before it was hired, failed to follow basic auditing procedures, and spent nearly $6 million in outside funding from conservative backers on the monthslong slog of a process. The audit even banned its own monitor from observing the process, kicking former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett out of the building for leaking data.
The audit’s official account was banned from Twitter for spreading lies and misinformation about the 2020 election. Logan recently appeared in a conspiracy theory-driven “documentary” about how the election was stolen from Trump. Cyber Ninjas refused to comply with a U.S. House probe of its investigation. The Department of Justice is investigating whether the audit has violated federal law.
But the audit has become a focal point for Trump and conspiracy theorists to argue the election was indeed stolen from him—and has inspired similar efforts in other states.
Now, the audit’s results will be delayed even longer.