(CNN) – A partisan review of the 2.1 million votes cast in Maricopa County in the 2020 election revealed that the number of votes was nearly identical to what the county had previously reported, a draft report detailing its findings shows.
The draft report appeared the night before for state Senate Republicans who ordered the review and Cyber Ninjas, the company that implemented it, detailing their findings through a public presentation and final report.
Maricopa County’s Republican-led Board of Supervisors noted the draft Thursday night, saying it confirmed the fact that the county held an accurate election.
“You don’t have to go through the initial version of the Arizona Senate/Cyber Ninja audit report to confirm what I already knew: the nominees approved by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, the governor, the Secretary of State, and the Republican chairman Jack Sellers,” said Chairman Jack Sellers, Republican , in a separate statement, “They actually won, the attorney general.”
“This means that the counting team counted the votes by design and the results reflect the will of the voters,” he said. This should be the end of the story. Everything else is just noise.”
Audit spokesperson Randy Boleyn confirmed the validity of the initial report submitted to KJZZ Phoenix. “This is not the final report, but it is close,” he said.
The draft report shows that a manual recount found that President Joe Biden received 99 more votes than Maricopa County reported after the November election, while former President Donald Trump received 261 fewer votes than the county reported.
Election experts who have monitored the scrutiny for months have warned that the number of Cyber Ninjas is likely to be inaccurate, noting that the company, its volunteers and its subcontractors did not follow established election audit procedures, or sometimes their own rules.
The months-long effort, which has cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, plus millions more raised privately by Cyber Ninjas, has done nothing to reinforce former President Donald Trump’s lies that widespread fraud cost him the 2020 election.
“On the plus side, there were no significant differences between the manual count of submitted ballot papers and the official county census results. This is a significant finding due to pre-audit concerns,” says the executive summary.
However, the report cast doubt on tens of thousands of ballots that Cyber Ninjas say they are unable to fully examine, such as discrepancies when voter records in Maricopa County were compared to records from a commercial data company. It includes strong warnings about these doubts, while noting that they do not necessarily mean votes were cast incorrectly, and says that the Arizona attorney general should pursue the matter with Maricopa County officials, who have stopped cooperating with the Cyber Ninjas audit, to get answers. Throughout the months-long scrutiny, county officials have repeatedly dismissed similar claims from Cyber Ninjas and its subcontractors.
“While several areas of concern have been specifically identified, the full findings of our validation review of the 2020 general election are not necessarily conclusive,” the report’s executive summary says.
Maricopa County officials, who viewed the draft report, responded Thursday night noting the results, which were not significantly different from the county’s final count, and excluding areas where Cyber Ninjas raised concerns in the draft report.
“Cyber Ninjas #azaudit’s draft report confirms that the county’s scrutiny of the 2020 general election was thorough and that the candidates certified as winners, in fact, won,” the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors said on its Twitter account.
“Unfortunately, the report is riddled with errors and misconceptions about how Maricopa County conducted the 2020 general election,” the board said. “Board members and election officials will pay close attention to what is being said in the Senate hearing scheduled for Friday and will share facts as needed.”
The report also includes a number of recommendations for state lawmakers that could make voting difficult. Among them: voter list purges associated with audits with changes to the EPA’s national address, driver’s license changes, and those who may have moved from one county to another. They are also targeting the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors with recommendations regarding criminal penalties for failing to cooperate with audits.
It is targeting Maricopa County officials who have stopped cooperating, saying their refusal to provide information hampered the vetting process.
“I suspect tomorrow we will be accused again of not cooperating, for not filling in the gaps in the knowledge of the contractor selected by the Senate. How can we cooperate with an investigation led by people who have no idea how an election is going, let alone an election in America’s second largest constituency?” The Board of Directors approved the election plan, we hired and supported our election experts, and we produced successful, well-run elections in accordance with Arizona law,” Sellers said in his statement.
These experts will eventually absorb this draft and the final report. As we did before, we will correct your mistakes and misrepresentations about operations that you do not understand. I hope those who have held on to their anger over the past 10 months will see the truth and put their energy into supporting the democratic process rather than trying to demolish it.”