Arizona Partisan Election Review ‘Findings’ Presented at No-Questions-Asked ‘Hearing’

Statements from Common Cause, Common Cause Pennsylvania, Common Cause Texas and Common Cause Wisconsin

Today, Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan and others presented “findings” in a partisan review of 2020 elections results, more than four months after the review was initially expected to conclude.

The Cyber Ninjas report, itself, showed that Joe Biden won the presidential election in Maricopa County; that determination came after a chaotic hand-count of more than 2 million paper ballots, and closely paralleled official election results. But the central result was cloaked in other allegations intended to create new doubts about the 2020 election. 

(More background below.)


Statement by Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn

It’s been five months and millions of dollars since this partisan review was started. Yet despite today’s presentation, the lies about the 2020 presidential election continue.

Like the rest of this process, today’s ‘hearing’ was intended to create confusion, inflame suspicion, and keep Trump supporters’ hopes alive. The truth is clear – Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election. But some politicians and fundraising groups have benefited from sowing disbelief and chasing conspiracy theories.

Millions of dollars have been raised from people across America who were sold the idea that this Arizona review would somehow reveal something. And like political performance art, this thing has leapt from one outlandish theory to the next: theories about cheese dust, secret watermarks, bamboo fibers, ‘kinematic artifacts’ and ‘Chicken-gate.’ Ballot images were driven to a remote Montana mountain. Voting machines were compromised. Ballots were left unattended and unsecured. Deadlines came and went. The cast of characters changed. The only thing that stayed the same was the hook: the idea that some big discovery was right around the corner.

And today’s presentation was just more of the same. It did not bring closure to Arizona’s partisan election review. It was carefully designed to hide the basic result: despite all its problems, the Cyber Ninjas hand-count agreed that Joe Biden won in Maricopa County. 

What’s missing from this spectacle is the basic understanding that our elected officials are supposed to work for ‘We the People’ — not for partisan or special interests. Right now, our families are facing huge challenges – the COVID epidemic; extreme weather events; an urgent need for greater and more equitable economic opportunity; the list goes on – and this partisan election review solves none of those problems. Instead, it has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars and distracted legislative attention that should have been focused on real people’s needs.

It’s time to end this shell game — not just in Arizona, but nationwide. 

Today’s presentation was just the latest attempt to undermine the decision made by a majority of American voters last November. We’re seeing similar partisan reviews in other states, particularly after personal intervention by former President Trump. And none of this is helpful to ‘We the People.’ Conspiracy theories are dividing our country rather than unifying it. Manufactured doubt about the 2020 election doesn’t solve the all-too-real problems that so many Americans face. 

It’s time for partisan legislative leaders around the country to stop spending taxpayer money chasing will-o’-the-wisps about the 2020 presidential election, and refocus on what will actually benefit their constituents.


Statement by Common Cause Pennsylvania Executive Director Khalif Ali

This is so much deja vu. Last December, there was a partisan third-party review of election results in Pennsylvania, with a report concluding “the election was well-run, followed all Commonwealth and Federal guidelines, and was conducted in a diligent and effective manner.” That basic finding was then wrapped in manufactured concerns about other things that might have gone wrong — even though those things were outside the scope of the review and there was no evidence indicating any problems.

When the Pennsylvania review results came back clean, the report was changed to obscure that fact — just like today’s no-questions-allowed presentation in Arizona obscures the fact that the Cyber Ninjas hand-count closely agrees with the official results.

None of these reviews are slowing the effort to sow doubt about the 2020 presidential election. Pennsylvanians are now facing another partisan election review, this time affecting every registered voter in the Commonwealth. Senate Republican leaders are trying to subpoena personal information about all voters, information that is usually shielded from disclosure because it would be a gold mine for identity thieves. And they haven’t given any coherent explanation about why the information is needed or how it will be used or who will have access to it.

This newest partisan review came after former President Trump personally spoke with Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman. Details about the review have been announced on Steve Bannon’s podcast, rather than through usual official channels. Like what has been happening in Arizona, there is no substance here, just shifting goalposts, a changing cast of characters, and vague allegations that something went wrong that will be uncovered somehow.

Meanwhile, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Thousands of our children have been diagnosed with COVID since the start of the school year. Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians are unemployed and looking for work, while another hundred thousand have just dropped out of the workforce. We’re feeling the effects of climate change, cleaning up after this summer’s storms, and looking ahead to even more extreme rainfall and worse flooding by 2050 if things continue on their present course — yet Pennsylvania continues to be the fourth-highest emitter of carbon-dioxide, of all the United States. 

And in the middle of all these emergencies, a faction of our legislative leadership wants to focus on relitigating the 2020 elections, rather than helping Pennsylvanians. And they want to spend an undetermined amount of taxpayer money to do this.

It’s a waste of taxpayers’ time. A waste of taxpayers’ money. It’s simply unconscionable. And it needs to stop.


Statement by Common Cause Texas Executive Director Anthony Gutierrez 

The Abbott administration, in a move clearly intended to placate a President who lost an election nearly a year ago, has announced an inquiry that is clearly part-and-parcel of the sham election review process that has been spreading across the country. 

This is a purely partisan effort with no clear intent other than to further undermine faith in our democracy. 

Despite having no clear statutory authority to do so, the Secretary of State’s office issued a vague announcement for what sounds like a sham review, designed to do little more than cast doubt on an election that the previous Secretary of State declared very well-run.  

This decision to inject partisan politics into our elections will only sow doubts in our democracy, distract and divide us, and stick taxpayers with the bill.  

It’s time our leaders stop chasing election conspiracies and start governing.


Statement by Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck

Wisconsinites are facing not one, but two sham election reviews — which will cost state taxpayers at least $680,000, and still not change the fact that Joe Biden is President. 

General Assembly Speaker Robin Vos didn’t buy into all this until former President Trump took him on a plane ride. Next thing we knew, Reince Priebus was telling Steve Bannon that Wisconsin taxpayers were on the hook to spend at least $680,000 on a partisan election review — and then Republican state lawmakers gave it all the go-ahead.

That ‘free trip’ for Speaker Vos turned out to be very expensive for the rest of us. 

In Wisconsin, that kind of money could be spent on a lot of other things. It would pay for the entire cost of the new “dairy processor grant” program to grow our dairy industry. It would pay for a year’s monitoring of “forever chemicals” in our water supply, statewide. It would pay for a year of grant funding to counties, nonprofit organizations and tribes for innovative practices to reduce child abuse and neglect.

Instead, Wisconsin taxpayers are going to see their money spent to produce slick YouTube videos and threats to subpoena election officials who aren’t eager to send confidential election information to a Gmail address.

It’s so bizarre, it wouldn’t even pass muster as a movie plot. Yet Wisconsinites are now going to be dealing with this distraction for months.

None of this is going to change what American voters decided last November: Biden was elected President. 

Election officials and clerks who run elections have proven time and again that the Wisconsin elections were run fairly, transparently, and safely. The entire process was publicly reviewed by Sen. Kathleen Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) earlier this month, to prove to her legislative colleagues who insist on spreading election lies that Wisconsin election administration can be trusted.

Wisconsinites deserve better than to be dragged into this nationwide effort to massage Trump’s ego by attacking our election systems and our freedom to vote.


Additional Background

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann reportedly started this partisan effort with no expectation of finding wrongdoing. She told participants in a closed-door meeting, “I have said from the get go I am relatively sure weren’t going to find anything of any magnitude that would imply that any intentional wrongdoing was going on.”   

The Trump administration’s Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council reported that “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history” and “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

Last fall, then-Attorney General William Barr directed US Attorneys across the country to investigate allegations of voting irregularities. In December, Barr stated that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents did not find “fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

Earlier this year, a survey of Maricopa County ballot images showed that almost 60,000 voters supported most other Republicans on the ballot, but did not back Donald Trump for president. According to the analysis, Republican-leaning voters in wealthier areas were more likely to reject Trump in the 2020 election, contributing to the former president’s loss in Arizona.

Today’s presentation, scheduled for the end of the week’s news cycle, did not allow any opportunity for questions.