Arizona Election Auditors Include Those Who Touted Voting Fraud.
Here Are The Key Players
Jen Fifield and Andrew Oxford
Published 5:28 p.m. MT May 4, 2021
More is emerging by the day about who has access to Maricopa County voters' ballots and private information as Arizona Senate contractors attempt to audit the November presidential election.
Arizona Senate Republicans got the ballots, voting machines and voter information from the county through a court order to do the audit, but handed it all over to private contractors who have declined to name or have failed to be specific about everyone who has access to the information and materials and who is paying for the work.
Arizona journalists have asked Cyber Ninjas, the Senate's main contractor, for more information about the people counting the ballots, and have scoured the company's publicly released documents for details about who has access to the voting machines and voter data, but have been unable to confirm the identity of everyone involved.
The Arizona Republic has sought to piece together the main players involved or who have claimed some level of involvement in the audit, including a handful who have connections to the Stop the Steal movement or who echoed claims of election fraud.
This article may update as we learn more.
Senate President Karen Fann
Senate President Karen Fann and Senate Republicans issued subpoenas to obtain the county's general election ballots, voter information and voting machines, but they've left carrying out the audit to private contractors.
Still, the Senate has liability for renting the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum and for the voter information and machines it obtained in a court order.
Fann appointed Ken Bennett to serve as the Senate’s liaison to the contractors. Fann told The Republic early on in the audit that Bennett was in charge of monitoring the audit, as she continues to work at the state Capitol as lawmakers finalize the state budget.
Fann has said the audit is not meant to attempt to overturn the general election results, but to find areas where the state can improve its voting process.
Fann said last week that she remains confident in the audit despite concerns raised about the auditors’ processes and transparency, including a lawsuit brought by the Arizona Democratic Party and Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo.
She said the auditors will have to prove their case if they find "irregularities."
Some Republican senators have made up their minds that there was fraud in the Nov. 3 election. A website to donate to the campaign of state Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Flagstaff, blares an "expose the election fraud” message and features a photo of the recount. Rogers refers to President Joe Biden as “Fraudulent Joe Biden" in fundraising emails to supporters.
Ken Bennett
Ken Bennett, a familiar figure in the state's Republican political circles, has been at the coliseum daily since the recount began on April 23 as the liaison between the Senate and the contractors conducting the audit.
The Arizona native served as Senate president in the early 2000s and later as secretary of state.
Bennett has overseen numerous state elections, and is no stranger to conspiracy theories. As secretary of state in 2012, he threatened to keep Barack Obama off the ballot unless Hawaii verified he was born in the United States. He explained the move at the time as trying to quell a concern brought by a constituent.
He has used similar logic during the audit, saying auditors’ search for watermarks on the ballots could help dispel conspiracy theories that have sprouted around that debunked claim.
Bennett said he tried to make the audit more bipartisan by asking the state Democratic Party to offer up someone to serve alongside him. The party refused, he said.
Bennett has been asking questions of the private contractors since before the audit began. He said he knew from the start that the $150,000 the Senate committed for the audit was not enough to cover costs.
On the first day of the audit, as contractors rushed to finalize processes, Bennett was there, asking how they would provide proper chain of custody to keep ballots secure, and other questions.
While Bennett can question the auditors, he has been clear from the start that he is not in charge.
Doug Logan
Doug Logan runs Cyber Ninjas, the small Florida-based cybersecurity company hired by the Senate to run the audit and hire subcontractors.
Logan plays a key role in how the audit is carried out, as he appeared to make rule and procedural changes on the first day of the hand count. When The Republic raised concerns about blue pens on the counting floor before the counting of actual ballots got underway that first day, Logan checked into it and had the pens replaced with green ones.
Cyber Ninjas does not have any known experience running election audits. Asked about its experience, company officials said in a statement last week that it is the coordinating firm of four companies conducting components of the audit, and each company has election experience in the area it is working.
The company statement also said Cyber Ninjas was involved in an election audit in Georgia. It did not provide specifics.
How Logan wound up leading Arizona's audit is unclear. He didn’t submit a formal offer to Fann, according to the Arizona Capitol Times, and Fann passed up an experienced auditing company when selecting Logan.
Fann had said she spent months looking for the best people to run the audit. Knowing that the people in charge had to have knowledge of topics such as election auditing, voting machines and cybersecurity, Fann said she thought it would be best for a main contractor to assemble a team of subcontractors.
The company’s ninja-themed website says it specializes in "all areas of application security, ranging from your traditional web application to mobile or thick client applications.” That includes ethical hacking, training and general consulting.
In a short biography for a cybersecurity conference, Logan said that he has worked in technology for more than 15 years “including roles in development, product management, application penetration testing, consulting and training.”
Logan had posted a litany of unsubstantiated allegations about fraud in the general election to a Twitter account, which is now deleted.
"I’m tired of hearing people say there was no fraud. It happened, it’s real, and people better get wise fast," said one post he shared from another Twitter user in late 2020.
Logan was involved in efforts to try to prove there was election fraud in Antrim County, Michigan, according to an Antrim County court document. He was part of a team that examined the county’s voting machines and claimed in a report that they found errors designed to create fraud. State and county officials there said the report was biased and identified a slew of problems with the team's analysis.
John Brakey
John Brakey, an election transparency activist from Tucson who sued state and Maricopa County election officials in 2016 with claims of election fraud, is among the volunteer observers at the coliseum.
Brakey lost his court fight with Republican Helen Purcell, who was the county recorder in charge of the presidential preference election in 2016, when some voters waited in lines at polling places for five hours or more.
Brakey runs Audit USA, a nonprofit focused on election fairness. He refers to himself as a progressive Democrat and says that he works with both sides of the aisle to advocate for fair and transparent elections.
Brakey said he is volunteering every day of the audit for multiple shifts, attempting to oversee the procedures and provide advice.
Brakey has stood at Bennett’s side during two news conferences, and said he has pushed for more transparency and media access to the audit.
As the audit got underway, on the first day of the hand count at least, Bennett and Logan both consulted with Brakey on proper election audit protocol.
Brakey told The Republic he advocates for governments to save and publish scanned ballot images to provide more election transparency.
He said this is an opportunity to improve election procedures and to advocate for ballot images, which cannot be connected back to voters, to be published online so the public can do its own review.
He said on Monday that he became involved because he understands the importance of this audit and "you can't make change unless you are sitting at the table."
Brakey told The Republic he has threatened to leave a few times as he has been unhappy with the procedures. But he said he is getting results, and that he will stick around as long as he can do that.
Bryan Blehm
Numerous attorneys are involved in defending the audit, but outside the courtroom, attorney Bryan Blehm often has been seen wandering the coliseum floor during the hand recount and talking to the contractors.
He is with Phoenix-based Blehm Law, a general practice law firm, and represents Cyber Ninjas in the lawsuit that the state Democratic Party filed to try to stop the audit.
Gene Kern
Gene Kern is the co-founder and executive vice president of Wake Technology Inc., a Pennsylvania-based IT company that Cyber Ninjas hired to run the hand count.
On the first day of the hand count, Kern appeared to have the most say and knowledge about the procedures that the auditors were using to count ballots.
Kern's LinkedIn page says he has nearly 40 years of experience and he provides services in project management, IT consulting, computer networking, network support, cybersecurity and other fields.
Wake TSI’s website does not list elections or audits among the services it provides. The site does list help desk and IT service management, managed IT, interim and virtual executives, productivity and cybersecurity.
The Senate has said Wake employees performed hand-count audits in Fulton County, Pennsylvania, and in New Mexico, and have assisted in election fraud investigations since the 1990s. The Republic was able to confirm that the company performed a hand count in Fulton County, but was unable to confirm that it did a hand count in New Mexico.
Anthony Kern
Gene Kern's firm is responsible for hiring people to recount the ballots. Most of the people doing this task are not public figures, although one stands out: former state Rep. Anthony Kern.
The two men are unrelated, Anthony Kern said.
Anthony Kern, a Stop the Steal backer, has been spotted on several days counting ballots. It is unclear if he is being paid and how many shifts he is working.
“Very exciting to be involved in Arizona's massive and historic election audit which begins today. All of us should want fair and honest elections in our great State! The nation is watching Arizona!” he tweeted.
Then-state lawmaker Kern, a Glendale Republican, and state Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, were near the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Kern lost his reelection bid for the Arizona House of Representatives in November and his term expired on Jan. 10.
The pair both signed a "joint resolution" with many Republican lawmakers at the state Capitol arguing that Congress should not accept Arizona's electoral college votes, and their trip to Washington, D.C., appeared to be an extension of that campaign.
Finchem and Kern both have said they were outside the Capitol when rioters disrupted the certification of the presidential election. And both have denied any wrongdoing.
Kern declined to comment when asked why he got involved in the recount and what his experience was like on the first day of counting.
Arizona Rangers
The Arizona Rangers are the most visible security patrols at the coliseum.
The uniformed law enforcement auxiliary nonprofit organization assists law enforcement agencies with tasks such as event security and personal security for government officials.
The Rangers are assisting "law enforcement agencies that are on site" at the coliseum and providing supplemental security, but are not involved in the ballot recount itself, according to Col. Mike Droll, Arizona Rangers' state commander.
The Rangers launched a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe on April 23. The campaign does not say that funds raised will go toward the support of the audit. As of Monday, the campaign had raised more than $170,000.
"We were surprised by the volume of organic public donations we recently received," said Bill Nordbrock, a spokesperson for the organization. "Any donations we receive allow us to better serve the communities, and youth initiatives in Arizona."
The rangers are unpaid volunteers who cover most of their own expenses for training, equipment and travel, Nordbrock said.
There are nearly 500 rangers in 22 companies throughout the state, according to the GoFundMe account.
While the Arizona Department of Public Safety said at first it was not involved with security for the audit, a couple of troopers have been seen in the coliseum.
Liz Harris
Beyond recounting ballots, the audit seeks to verify voter information and votes, and may be relying on Liz Harris for that.
Harris is a former Republican state legislative candidate who started a grassroots effort months ago in an attempt to collect evidence of widespread voter fraud.
Harris has told The Republic that more than 4,400 people have signed up to participate in her effort to find abnormalities in voting in Arizona, and she said her group has been knocking on voters' doors around the state for nearly four months.
People have signed up for Harris' effort through a website called Harris has shared updates about the effort on YouTube and Facebook, and most recently has begun sharing updates about the audit itself.
Harris initially told The Republic that her group was helping with the Senate’s audit, but she couldn’t say on what part because of a nondisclosure agreement. Harris later said she doesn’t know what her involvement may or may not be.
A Cyber Ninjas report, laying out the scope of the audit, is not specific about what company or who is verifying voter information. The report says the effort will be done by a “registration and votes cast team,” that has been doing “non-partisan canvassing” in the state to “statistically identify voter registrations that did not make sense, and then knock on doors to confirm if valid voters actually lived at the stated address.”
n a live video on Monday, Harris said that she wanted to remind people that the audit was not about left versus right, but "good versus evil."
She held up a sign that said, "May Arizona be the first domino to fall," referring to the effort to prove voter fraud across the country.
She told The Republic that Republicans, Democrats and independents are involved in her group. The effort "has nothing to do with 'Stop the Steal,'" she said.
Harris in her live video on Monday said that she has been talking to a man named Bobby Piton since December.
Bobby Piton
Bobby Piton's role or influence on the audit remains murky.
The financial adviser from Illinois has made claims of election fraud in Arizona's general election and has said he's talked with the CEO of Cyber Ninjas in the past. Piton has said he's not actively involved in the audit, but that he'd be sharing his analysis of voter data with Logan.
“If the team wants to use it, great,” Piton said on social media. He said if they want to use it they can, but if they don’t, he will release his results separately.
"I don't know anything about a Bobby Piton," Bennett told The Republic, although he said he would check.
The Republic also reached out to Cyber Ninjas and Piton for clarification.
Piton is the founder of investment consulting firm PreActive Investments in Illinois. He has been talking about what he sees as irregularities in Arizona voter data since at least November.
He joined Rudy Giuliani and others to present election concerns to a handful of Republican Arizona lawmakers at a downtown Phoenix hotel in late November. Piton, at that meeting, said that his opinion, from reviewing Arizona voter data, was that between 120,000 and 306,000 ballots were cast by “fake people.”
His method for coming to that conclusion involved creating an algorithm that separated Arizona voters into “five types of voters” based on gender and age and performing correlation tests.
“It was absolutely mind-boggling what popped out,” he said during the November meeting.
Mix of fears, rumors: Social media 'monitors' track Arizona election audit
He has said in the last month on social media that he is again investigating Arizona voter data. It’s unclear where he got the data for his analysis.
Piton has said he knows Cyber Ninjas' CEO. In an April 23 YouTube video talking about the audit, he said, “I know Doug. I was working with Doug in December on some things.”
In the video, he comments on an Arizona Mirror article that mentions his name and involvement. He doesn’t back down on his claim about fake voters, although he said he called them “phantom voters.”
“What I’m going to tell you is — let’s wait and see,” he said. “I’m pretty optimistic about my research.”
In another video posted April 26, Piton said he is not formally involved in the Arizona audit because he told Logan that he wouldn't sign a nondisclosure agreement.
While in December he was claiming his analysis already had found fraud, in recent posts, Piton appears to backpedal about the election results, saying that he isn’t making any claims of fraud just yet. He says in the April 23 video that the audit team isn’t “contesting anything.”
“We are just looking at the process for how it can be better on a going forward basis,” he said.
A Daily Beast reporter called Piton recently to ask him whether he was involved in the QAnon movement, according to his April 26 YouTube video. In that video, Piton says the reporter asked him if he knows Ron Watkins, a conspiracy theorist who posts on social media. Piton said he reached out to Watkins in December when he was first getting involved in looking at voter records.
Piton apparently is not doing his work in Arizona. He said in the April 26 YouTube video that he was in Illinois, but posted on Twitter two days before and two days after that he was working on the data.
“I just completed 12 hours working on AZ Data today,” Piton posted on Twitter on April 24. “I had a dream back in December that AZ changed the course of American History and that I assisted in this process. Time will tell if either is True.”
Piton has attempted to raise money for his efforts several times, on GoFundMe and GiveSaveGo, but his accounts have been disabled.
Ben Cotton and 'a number of additional analysts'
A third aspect of the audit is examining the county's voting machines. Ben Cotton is the founder of CyFIR, a Virginia-based digital security company that Cyber Ninjas hired for that work.
Cyber Ninjas said in its original scope of work that the machine analysis would be done by Cyber Ninjas, CyFIR and “a number of additional analysts, the identities and qualifications of whom shall be made available to (the Senate) upon request.”
Bennett said that, after getting the voting machines from the county, the analysts have gotten the data they need from the machines and are doing the analysis off-site.
Cotton's biography indicates he spent 21 years in the U.S. Army Special Forces, and previously served as a board member at Brigham Young University.
The company’s chief executive is Andrew Ward, who spent 26 years as a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, according to his biography.
The company declined a request for an interview about its qualifications to conduct the Arizona audit.
“By contractual agreement, we are unable to speak with the press regarding this topic until the audits are complete,” CyFIR Chief Product Officer John Irvine said.
The company was involved in discovering and investigating a high-profile cyberattack on the U.S. government several years ago.
In 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported Cotton’s affiliated company, CyTech Services, discovered that a federal database was breached while it was performing a demonstration for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, or OPM, which maintains employee records and background checks for the government. It was performing the demonstration with its software, CyFIR Enterprise.
Cotton told the Journal that the company was running a diagnostic on the OPM network and discovered malware, which OPM later said it had previously discovered on its own.
CyFIR, upon the federal government’s request, began “providing significant incident response and forensic support to OPM related to the 2015 incident,” according to a subsequent report on the events from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
CyFIR has continued to work with the federal government since then.
Patrick Byrne
Also outside the coliseum, numerous groups are fundraising around the audit. Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of who has written a book purporting to show how the election was rigged, is among them.
Byrne launched a nonprofit advocacy organization called The America Project that is raising money for the audit, according to his posts on a web app called Telegram.
Byrne said on Telegram he donated $1 million to The America Project to go toward the audit.
The nonprofit's website says that it was founded to "advance freedom and preserve the American way of life," but Byrne said on Telegram that "every penny you give goes to fund this Maricopa audit."
The America Project did not return The Republic's call for comment.
Christina Bobb
Also raising funds is Christina Bobb, who hosts the Weekly Briefing on One America News Network, a right-wing cable media outlet.
Bobb, who worked in former President Donald Trump's administration, announced on Twitter on April 9 that she launched a nonprofit advocacy organization called Voices and Votes to raise money for the audit, saying that the audit "is crucial to know the truth about 2020."
She announced later that day that she had met her original goal of raising $150,000 for the audit, and on April 15 announced that the organization was making a second pledge.
Bobb told The Republic that OAN is "not affiliated in any way" with her effort to raise the money, although the network has allowed her to mention her fundraising efforts on air. She said she launched her effort because she knew that the $150,000 the Senate agreed to pay Cyber Ninjas would not cover the costs of the audit.
"I'm curious to know the truth about our elections," she said. "All the weirdness that has surrounded the elections, particularly in AZ, gives me concerns that someone is hiding something."
Bobb said that the money she raises will go "to the audit, not the Senate." She would not share how much the nonprofit has raised.
Asked whether she considers herself a journalist or an advocate, Bobb said she considers herself "neither in this instance."
"I am an American who took an oath to defend the constitution, and getting truth is part of my duty," she said, referring to an oath she took when serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. "If the audit says there is no fraud, great. But Americans, not just Arizonans, must maintain our government, or we risk losing our freedoms."
OAN is providing the audit's livestream services on
Republic reporter Ryan Randazzo contributed to this article



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