ARIZONA NEWS

Firm drops out of Arizona Senate’s audit of Maricopa County election

May 25, 2021, 5:00 PM

(KTAR News Photo/Peter Samore)...

(KTAR News Photo/Peter Samore)

(KTAR News Photo/Peter Samore)

PHOENIX (AP) — A subcontractor working on a Republican-led audit of the 2020 election results in Arizona’s largest county has dropped out of the project.

Wake Technology Solutions Inc. was leading the hand-recount part of the audit but decided not to renew its contract, audit officials said Tuesday. The recount is now being led by StratTech Solutions of Scottsdale, an information technology consulting firm that does not list election or auditing experience on its website.

Wake was originally contracted to lead the hand count through May 14, but the process has gone considerably slower than expected with only about a quarter of the 2.1 million ballots counted by then. The company chose not to renew the contract, said Ken Bennett, who is serving as a liaison for Senate Republicans overseeing the audit.

StratTech has been working on the audit from the beginning, including recruiting, training and checking backgrounds, Bennett said. The firm’s involvement had not previously been disclosed.

“They were very familiar with the processes that were under Wake’s direction, and so most of the Wake contract employees will move underneath StratTech’s supervision and we will continue right on forward,” Bennett said.

The hand count is just one part of an audit that also includes a review of voting machines and election data. It’s being led by Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based cybersecurity consultancy whose owner has shared conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.

The audit is being conducted on behalf of Republicans in the state Senate, who issued subpoenas to take control of ballots, equipment and data after former President Donald Trump baselessly claimed his loss was marred by fraud.

Election experts and national security officials say the 2020 election was secure, but Trump and many of his supporters have aggressively promoted baseless theories that the election was stolen from Trump. The audit in Arizona will not change the outcome. Senate President Karen Fann says it’s intended to find any weak points that the Legislature can improve, which Democrats worry will lead to legislation that suppresses votes.

Wake officials did not respond to a request for comment. StratTech referred questions to Rod Thomson, a public relations consultant working for Cyber Ninjas. He did not respond to a request for information on StratTech’s involvement and qualifications.

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