Ballots returned to Maricopa County after final count in controversial Arizona election audit was completed

On July 29, elections materials, including ballots and machines that were a part of the audit, were transported back to the Maricopa County Elections Office. This came about after a third and final count was completed on July 28.

In all, 2.1 million ballots and machines were packed up at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Downtown Phoenix, and shipped back to the elections office.

Audit marked by controversy

The audit started back in April, and is conducted by Cyber Ninjas. Reports by the Associated Press described the firm as ‘untested’ and 'llittle-known," with a CEO who had tweeted support for conspiracy theories claiming Republican Donald Trump, and not Democrat Joe Biden, had won Maricopa County and Arizona.

Related: Experts or ‘grifters’? Little-known firm runs Arizona's controversial election audit

Doug Logan, 42, in December had tweeted and retweeted references to the conspiracy theory that voting machines were hacked to switch votes from Trump. "The parallels between the statistical analysis of Venezuela and this year’s election are astonishing," Logan tweeted, with a #StoptheSteal hashtag that referenced the pro-Trump movement seeking to overturn the election.

At one point, auditors were checking for bamboo fibers to test a theory that tens of thousands of fake ballots were shipped from Asia. A onetime treasure hunter who claims to have invented a new method to automatically spot ballot fraud says his technology is being used in the review.

Republican Senate President Karen Fann says the audit is only meant to see whether improvements are needed to state election laws, but the audit has long been associated with the so-called "Stop The Steal" movement, and Trump has predicted it will uncover evidence to support his discredited theories of fraud.

Ken Bennett, the former Arizona Secretary of State who is overseeing the audit, says he wants assurances that the audit is going to be handled properly, and if not, he could be walking away.

Audit's funding source comes to light

On July 29, some new developments have come to light, in terms of how much money has been poured into the process.

The AP has reported that Pro-Trump groups have raised more than $5.7 million, which is much more than the $150,000 contributed by the Arizona State Senate, which commissioned the audit to take place.

Related: Trump supporters raise $5.7M for Arizona election audit

Logan, according to the AP, ended months of silence about who was paying for it and how much it cost. Among those leading the fundraising groups are Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor; Sydney Powell, his attorney who filed a number of baseless lawsuits challenging election results; Patrick Byrne, a former chief executive of; and correspondents from the pro-Trump One America News Network.

More subpoenas issued

Meanwhile, Cyber Ninjas has issued a subpoena for more election information.

"People should understand that 99% of the stuff that has been requested has been produced, and has been produced promptly when these subpoena’s came out in January," said Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer. "I have every bit of confidence if a seasoned elections auditing company had been enlisted to this, they could have completed this work in less than a month. They would have affirmed the results of the 2020 election."

Maricopa County Supervisors are currently weighing their options on how to respond to the subpoenas.

Wait for report continues

As the audit process continues, Richer has spoken out on the process. He says they expected a report from the audit at the end of May, but it later changed to the beginning of July, and now, they are still waiting on one to come through from the company conducting the audit.

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