The long-awaited report on the Republican-backed review of ballots cast in Arizona in the 2020 election has been delayed after the man leading the Florida firm conducting the audit and two members of his team tested positive for 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 Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, said in a statement posted on Twitter Monday.
Fann hasn’t indicated whether Logan and the other team members had gotten their COVID vaccines, notes The Washington Post.
Fann said she still expected to get a “portion” of the draft report from the controversial review, which election experts around the United States have called biased and unprofessional, and which has divided Arizona’s Republicans.
She added, in the statement, that in addition to the majority of the team falling ill, the state Senate did not get images of ballot envelopes from Maricopa County and were hoping that they would be analyzed as soon as possible to incorporate into a final report.
“The Senate legal team will meet Wednesday to start reviewing the draft report, and when the remainder of the draft is submitted, the Senate team will hold another meeting to continue checking for accuracy, clarity, and proof of documentation of findings,” Fann said in the statement. “Once that is complete, the final report will be presented to the Senate Judiciary Committee and (the) findings (will be released) to the public.”
The state senator said in late March when announcing Cyber Ninjas had been hired to lead the ballot review, that she expected a report within 60 days. However, the audit’s conclusions have been delayed several times.
The review, which was commissioned by state Senate Republicans, includes a hand recount of some 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County, the state’s largest jurisdiction.
County leaders have said the contractors, who did not have experience in auditing or administering elections, had used sloppy methods in the recount.
Meanwhile, Logan, the ill leader of Cyber Ninjas, had been making claims before the review that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen.
The review was funded by $150,000 in taxpayer dollars and another $5.7 million in private donations from supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Fann has said often that the goal of the report isn’t to overturn the election of President Joe Biden but to pinpoint weaknesses in the state’s election system, but Trump and other Republicans have suggested that the report could vindicate the former president’s claims of fraud in the 2020 election.
Trump and several GOP state lawmakers have pushed for other states, particularly Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, to conduct their own ballot reviews, but they have not followed in Arizona’s actions.