Observers of the Arizona audit say they were mocked over shirt color and witnessed software malfunctions, security violations, and personnel issues with the controversial GOP-led ballot count

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Observers of the Arizona audit say they were mocked over shirt color and witnessed software malfunctions, security violations, and personnel issues with the controversial GOP-led ballot count
Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. The audit, ordered by the Arizona Senate, has the U.S. Department of Justice saying it is concerned about ballot security and potential voter intimidation arising from the unprecedented private recount of the 2020 presidential election results.Matt York/AP
  • Observers of the ongoing Arizona election audit have alleged several security and equipment concerns.
  • Secretary of State Katie Hobbs shared a summary of incidents witnesses have noted in the past week.
  • Witnesses said they saw three nonresidents rifling through thousands of ballots last week.

Observers of the ongoing audit of the 2020 election results in Maricopa County, Arizona, alleged several problematic incidents last week during the controversial recount.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs published a summary of "new and ongoing" incidents noted by observers during the audit beginning on May 24. Among the observations are concerns over security, equipment, and communication, as well as policy or process changes.

On Tuesday, she tweeted a link to the summary, saying: "Since the start of the Senate's so-called audit, my office has had concerns over the lack of transparency and even took legal action to ensure we had election experts on the ground."

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Earlier this year, the state's GOP-controlled Senate chose Cyber Ninjas, a private firm, to carry out another count of the 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County, where President Joe Biden beat former President Donald Trump by more than 45,000 votes.

Since the start of the audit, Hobbs, who is a Democrat, has positioned herself as an outspoken critic of the recount, citing concerns over a lack of transparency and even taking legal action to ensure elections experts are on the ground during the process.

Last week, those experts said they witnessed security gates left open and unattended, confidential materials being left in the open, prohibited pens near the ballots multiple times, unauthorized cellphones on the counting floor, and confirmation that concealed firearms are allowed on the counting floor.

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Observers noted Cyber Ninjas software malfunctions that forced the company to roll back an update in the middle of the day. Witnesses also said the Arizona Senate liaison Ken Bennett confirmed that copies of the voting-system data were sent to an unspecified lab in Montana, with no mention of what they intend to do with copies of the data or for how long they will keep the data.

Bennett did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

One observer said the audit cochair Randy Pullen told one observer that the pink shirt he was required to wear on the floor "made him look like a transgender." Witnesses said audit organizers refer to them as "pinkies" or "pinkos," implying they are sympathetic to communists.

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Pullen did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Throughout the week, witnesses said they noted "general confusion" among organizers and a lack of quality-control practices in place meant to ensure data is entered correctly.

On Thursday, witnesses said, they saw at least three people who are not Maricopa County residents "rifling through" thousands of military and overseas ballots.

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Cyber Ninjas has no previous election experience and is spearheaded by a Trump supporter who promoted false conspiracy claims last fall. The recount decision was made in spite of the county's Republican-controlled board of supervisors objecting to it, saying the election had already been audited more than once by credible firms.

Cyber Ninjas did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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