Menu

Protecting Arizona Voters from Unlawful Intimidation

Overview

Following the certification of the 2020 election results, Republican State Senators in Arizona pursued yet another so-called “audit” of election results in Maricopa County which promotes baseless and dangerous claims that the 2020 election was somehow “stolen” from Donald Trump. This comes after multiple lawsuits were unable to provide any evidence of fraud and two expert audits found that the election was safe and secure. Alarmingly, the company actually conducting the “audit,” Cyber Ninjas, is not only unqualified to audit election results but its CEO, Douglas Logan, is a “Stop the Steal” advocate and conspiracy theorist who has repeatedly spread false claims about the election in Arizona and other states.

In response, Protect Democracy sent a demand letter to Cyber Ninjas and its subcontractors who are running the so-called election “audit” in Maricopa County which highlights the various federal and state laws that the companies would likely violate if they move forward with the proposed audit.

Separately, as a follow up, Protect Democracy also sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice requesting the deployment of federal election monitors to the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum where Cyber Ninjas is conducting the first part of its “audit.”

Following our letter, the Department of Justice sent its own letter to the Arizona Senate outlining many of the same concerns with the so-called audit, including concerns that Cyber Ninja’s plan to interrogate voters would constitute unlawful voter intimidation.

In response, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann notified the Department of Justice that the plans to interrogate voters has been “indefinitely defer[red].”

Background on Cyber Ninjas

Cyber Ninjas CEO, Douglas Logan, has gone to lengths to shield the audit from public view, making the audit policies and procedures public only after a court ordered the company to do so, and allowing observers (including the press) only after being threatened with additional legal action.

Multiple professional audits, including hand recounts and forensic audits, by accredited auditing firms have already confirmed the accuracy, integrity, and outcome of the Maricopa County election — a conclusion with which both Republicans and Democrats agree. Indeed, following those professional audits, the Republican-led Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously certified the election results, and the Republican Chairman of the Board publicly affirmed that the “election was administered with integrity, transparency, and — most importantly — in accordance with Arizona state laws.”

Nonetheless, the Arizona Senate and Cyber Ninjas are pressing forward with an “audit” funded and conducted by people who continue to push the Big Lie, including individuals present at the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. Not surprisingly, the process thus far has been characterized by conspiracy theories, security breaches, and a troubling lack of professionalism. Cyber Ninjas does not even pretend to follow accepted auditing practices. Making matters worse, Cyber Ninjas has made public its intention to interrogate Maricopa County voters about their voting activities as part of the audit — something any reasonable voter would find intimidating under the circumstances.

The Cyber Ninjas audit is therefore not only entirely unnecessary and unreliable, but their plan to interrogate Maricopa County voters is precisely the kind of conduct that federal voter intimidation laws were intended to prohibit and punish.

Letter to Cyber Ninjas Warning of Voter Intimidation

On April 6, 2021, Protect Democracy — along with Coppersmith Brockelman PLC, Perkins Coie LLP, and Barton Mendez Soto PLLC — sent a demand letter to Cyber Ninjas and its subcontractors who are running the so-called election “audit” in Maricopa County.

The letter highlights the various federal and state laws that the companies would likely violate if they move forward with the proposed audit. In particular, the letter explains that their plan to interrogate voters likely constitutes unlawful intimidation in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Klu Klux Klan Act, Arizona privacy laws, and various criminal laws.

To view the letter, click here.

Letter to DOJ Requesting Federal Monitors

On April 29, 2021, Protect Democracy — along with the Brennan Center and The Leadership Conference — sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) requesting the deployment of federal election monitors to the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum where Cyber Ninjas is conducting the first part of its “audit.”

The letter details our concerns that the auditors are violating various federal voting and election laws. For example, we are concerned that the Arizona Senate and Cyber Ninjas are violating their duty under federal law to retain and preserve ballots cast in a federal election, which are in danger of being stolen, defaced, or irretrievably damaged. In addition, as we previously explained, we are concerned that the phase of the audit that involves interrogating voters will constitute unlawful voter intimidation in violation of the Voting Rights Act and other federal laws.

Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, the U.S. Department of Justice has regularly monitored elections on-site around the country in the interest of protecting voting rights. As detailed in the letter, the Department of Justice has authority to monitor this audit as well. 

Department of Justice to Arizona Senate President Karen Fann

Following our letter, the Department of Justice sent its own letter to the Arizona Senate outlining many of the same concerns with the so-called audit, including concerns that Cyber Ninja’s plan to interrogate voters would constitute unlawful voter intimidation.

In response, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann notified the Department of Justice that the plans to interrogate voters has been “indefinitely defer[red]”.

Investigating Disinformation Spreaders

In conjunction with the Maricopa County so-called “audit,” two Twitter accounts, @ArizonaAudit and @AuditWarRoom, have spread baseless claims of illegal conduct by Maricopa County election administrators and other disinformation. One of the accounts claims to be the “official” account for the so-called “audit,” while the other claims to be a source for “breaking audit updates.” 

To ensure accountability for the spread of this incredibly damaging and anti-democratic disinformation, Protect Democracy filed a public records request pursuant to Arizona state law. The request asks the state Senate and its contractors for information regarding the use of these Twitter accounts and who has access to their login information.

Together, these accounts have over 100,000 followers and have recklessly shared false and misleading information with the public. Despite the bold allegations of misconduct levied by these accounts, those associated with the “audit” have not been forthcoming about who is responsible for the statements made through these accounts. 

 

Help Protect Democracy

History has shown that the best way to protect democracy is by standing united in its defense. Donate to help us to scale up our efforts to educate, advocate, organize, and litigate on behalf of the values we all hold dear.

Donate

Be an informed American.

An engaged and informed public is at the heart of American democracy. Sign up to receive updates that will keep us all informed about the threats we face and how we can fight to protect our democracy together.