Arizona 'audit' contractor goes off on Cyber Ninja 'grifters' after botched election investigation
Shiva Ayyadurai gave a presentation on an analysis he did of Maricopa County early ballot envelopes as part of the Arizona Senate’s so-called election “audit.” In it, he made a series of misleading statements about supposed “anomalies” he found, all of which are easily explained and stem from his ignorance of elections administration. (Screenshot via Arizona Senate)

Shiva Ayyadurai, the subcontractor who conducted a botched analysis of Maricopa County’s ballot affidavits as part of the Senate’s review of the 2020 election, slammed the “audit” leaders as “self-serving grifters” in a new report.

Ayyadurai completed an analysis of the digital images of nearly 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County during the last general election. But before he explained his findings in the report he issued on Thursday, Ayyadurai took “audit” team leader Cyber Ninjas to task for alleged problems with the review, airing issues with the election review and disparaging those he accused of enriching themselves while ignoring critical issues.

The Senate hired Ayyadurai’s company, EchoMail, to examine digital images of the affidavits that voters must sign on the envelopes they use to vote with early ballots. His subsequent report and presentation to the Senate in November was riddled with inaccuracies, largely stemming from a misunderstanding of many of the policies and procedures used for signature verification, and demonstrably false claims.

In one instance, he told Senate President Karen Fann and Sen. Warren Petersen that some ballots were counted despite the affidavits not being signed by the voter, even as portions of signatures were visible on the envelope images he used as examples.

Prior to being hired for the envelope analysis, Ayyadurai wrote in his report that he and Cyber Ninjas agreed on a $50,000 contract in August for him to analyze digital images of the ballots. But he said at least 70% of the files containing those images were corrupted. Cyber Ninjas denied that there was a problem with the images and hadn’t yet made any payments on the contract, Ayyadurai said, so he terminated the agreement.

Ayyadurai said the “audit” team should have conducted an analysis of the ballot images before moving forward on other aspects of the review, such as the hand count of the county’s paper ballots, because it would have been a more cost-effective way to discover discrepancies or other problems.

“Millions of dollars were spent focused on the paper ballot counting (which revealed the numbers were the same) while self-serving grifters raised money for themselves and misdirected attention from real issues such as Chain of Custody and Signature Verification,” Ayyadurai wrote.

Former Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan raised at least $5.7 million from outside sources for his review, but has said the entire election review — which went months longer than expected — cost at least $9 million. However, Logan has refused a court order to turn over records related to the review, including documentation showing how that money was spent.

Even after he presented his findings to the Senate in September, Ayyadurai was concerned about the ballot images. He wrote that he explained to Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in November that Cyber Ninjas never provided him with the ballot images. Trump, he wrote, asked, “What are ballot images?” Ayyadurai said he explained the issue to the former president

Ayyadurai wrote that he eventually obtained uncorrupted ballot images through Randy Pullen, a top official with the “audit,” and Ben Cotton, the CEO of subcontractor CyFIR, and conducted an analysis, the results of which he described in his report. Because of Ayyadurai’s history of false claims and inaccurate findings related to the 2020 election, the Arizona Mirror is not describing those findings without independent examination of them.

Though he wrote that he terminated his agreement with Cyber Ninjas to conduct an analysis of the ballot images, Ayyadurai noted in his report that the $50,000 for his work “has yet to be paid.”

Ken Bennett, who served as the Senate’s “audit” liaison, said he wasn’t aware of any agreements at the time between Cyber Ninjas and EchoMail to examine the ballot images, and is unaware of any agreement for Ayyadurai to conduct the examination he released this week. But he said that could have been arranged by Pullen without his knowledge. Pullen could not be reached for comment.

Arizona Mirror is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arizona Mirror maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jim Small for questions: Follow Arizona Mirror on Facebook and Twitter.

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