Right-wing conspiracist with sketchy past hired as an 'expert' by Arizona audit -- and other states may do the same

Republicans in Arizona's state senate have hired a twice-failed congressional candidate with a questionable past to assist in its still-ongoing "audit" of Donald Trump's election loss.

Shiva Ayyadurai baselessly claimed he lost his second U.S. Senate primary bid last year in Massachusetts due to the mass destruction of ballots, which predated Trump's own election lies by a few months, and now he's become a sought-after "expert" for GOP-led legislatures conducting bogus election audits, reported The Daily Beast.

"'The Legislature has received voluminous evidence and testimony," reads a letter signed Jan. 1 by 10 Arizona legislators to then-vice president Mike Pence. "One example is the testimony of Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, Ph.D. (M.I.T.), on Nov. 30, 2020; Dr. Ayyadurai is one of the most respected mathematicians and experts in pattern recognition in America engaged in the examination of election results in all of the contested states. He concludes that the only explanation for the actual voting results in Arizona is that 130 percent of Democrats voted for candidate Biden and a -30 percent voted for President Trump, and 100 percent of Republicans voted for President Trump, with 'no party affiliation' voters split 36 percent for Biden, 58 percent for the president. In his words, such a demographic distribution is 'highly implausible.'"

Ayyadurai has been hired twice to work on Arizona's lengthy election audit, once by the state senate and once by the the tech firm Cyber Ninjas that's conducting the review, and former Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus suggested that Wisconsin legislators in contact with Ayyadurai.

"They're indicating they're going to bring in Dr. Shiva, as well, to help on the forensic audit," Priebus told former Trump strategist Steve Bannon in a podcast.

Ayyadurai claims to have invented email in the late 1970s, and he defended the use of the N-word during his 2018 campaign as an independent against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and has associated with right-wing extremists linked to QAnon and the deadly Charlottesville rally.

He ran in the Republican Senate primary last year, when he also spread COVID-19 conspiracy theories and attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci as "deep state plant," but Arizona's state senate and Cyber Ninjas struck two $50,000 deals with his company to review ballots starting in July.

A spokesman for the audit said Ayyadurai first came to his attention at a November 2020 event hosted by former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and state Rep. Mark Finchem (R) later introduced him to individuals involved in the audit.