Two Arizona elections officials — one Republican and one Democrat — issued extensive reports Thursday blasting the private firm Cyber Ninjas' partisan "audit" of ballots in Maricopa County, which is expected to be released next week, according to Politico.
"I will keep fighting for conservatism, and there are many things I would do for the Republican candidate for President, but I won't lie about the election, and I will not unjustifiably turn my back on the employees of the Board of Supervisors, Recorder's Office, and Elections Department — my colleagues and friends," wrote Stephen Richer, the Republican recorder of Maricopa County, in an open letter to the state Senate.
"The only thing that has been consistent about this endeavor has been missed deadlines and having to walk back statements," Richer said of the so-called audit at a news conference.
Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, released an executive summary calling the Cyber Ninjas audit — commissioned by GOP leaders in the state Senate — "secretive and disorganized." Hobbs said the audit "failed to meet basic standards."
"This isn't a real audit," Hobbs said earlier this week. "We're sort of just bracing for impact."
Cyber Ninjas, which began its work in late April, is expected to turn over the the results of the long-delayed audit to the Senate on Monday, before a hearing is scheduled. The unprecedented recount was prompted by former president Donald Trump's false claims that he lost Arizona and other swing states due to widespread election fraud.
Also Thursday, an appeals court rejected the Senate's effort to keep records related to the audit secret.
"The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that the documents sought by the watchdog group American Oversight detailing how the recount and audit are being conducted are public and must be turned over," the Associated Press reported.
The Senate reportedly plans to appeal the decision to the state's high court.
"The Senate has taken radical positions to obstruct basic public access to information about its so-called audit," Austin Evers, American Oversight's executive director, said in a statement.