Newly released records relating to the Arizona GOP’s partisan audit of the 2020 election results reveal that an anti-vaccine election conspiracy theorist and failed U.S. Senate candidate known as “Dr. Shiva” was brought in on the operation.
The state’s Republican Senate and its ballot-recount contractor Cyber Ninjas separately hired Shiva Ayyadurai — or “Dr. Shiva” as he is known to his far-right fans — to help evaluate presidential ballots in Maricopa County, which backed Joe Biden, according to records released Aug. 31, The Arizona Republic and Vice reported.
Ayyadurai baselessly ranted back in November 2020 that the election was stolen from Donald Trump. He also accused National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci last year of being a “deep state” operative, has baselessly promoted vitamin C as a treatment for COVID-19, and says he invented email. Ayyadurai is not a medical doctor
Cyber Ninjas CEO and QAnon acolyte Doug Logan has similarly repeated the same election lie, and claimed that any Arizona audit would inevitably turn up “hundreds of thousands” of hidden votes for Trump.
The 2.1 million Maricopa County votes have been checked and rechecked by actual election officials in the state, headed by GOP Gov. Doug Ducey, and were deemed completely legitimate.
The Cyber Ninjas audit, popularly known as a “fraudit,” was supposed to be completed in mid-May. The company has yet to issue any report on what it came up with.
Audit spokesperson and former Arizona GOP Chair Randy Pullen defended the state Senate’s decision to hire Ayyadurai in an interview with the Arizona Republic on Friday.
“Everybody has controversies. Is he knowledgeable and experienced enough to do the work?” Pullen asked. “I’ve talked to him. I’m confident he knows what he is doing and he is trustworthy.” He claimed Ayyadura has conducted signature reviews for banks.
According to an accompanying privilege log, (which lists records that have been withheld because of legislative and other privileges), Pullen and Senate Liaison Ken Bennett exchanged multiple emails with conspiracy theorist Ayyadurai. pic.twitter.com/RXxsZO10JH
— American Oversight (@weareoversight) September 1, 2021
The newspaper found one of Ayyadurai’s contracts among thousands of documents ordered released by local court last month. Thousands of documents still must be made public under the court order.
Mitchell was on the post-election phone call in which Trump ordered Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to turn Trump’s defeat into a victory. Mitchell determined the presidential election was fraudulent event before it was held, according to several statements she made at a conference last year where participants were already planning how to challenge results where Trump lost.
Meanwhile, canvassers are continuing to knock on Maricopa County doors to grill residents about their votes in a wild bid to overturn the presidential election. Some have claimed that they’re not working for the Cyber Ninjas company. The firm wanted to hire canvassers, but was warned by the Department of Justice earlier this year that such an action could be considered illegal voter intimidation. In June, canvassers falsely represented themselves as government officials.
The canvassing has been arranged at least in part by Arizona Republican Liz Harris, a former candidate for office and a key supporter of the Cyber Ninjas audit. But she insisted none of her canvassers were pretending to be county officials.
The brazenly partisan Cyber Ninjas audit has involved such jaw-dropping moments as workers examining ballots for traces of bamboo in a crazed bid to prove the Chinese hacked the votes. And truckloads of voter data were spirited away to a cabin in the Montana woods, 1,300 miles from where the votes were cast.
Critics say the audit and security have been so corrupted that no one can trust that the votes, data and even voting machines have remained unaltered. Maricopa County last month sent a $2.8 million bill to the state Senate to replace voting machines officials suspect have been tampered with.
The Arizona vote was certified more than nine months ago after several official recounts failed to find any irregularities. Biden beat Trump by 10,457 votes in the state, edging out Trump by more than 2 percentage points ― about 45,000 votes ― in Maricopa County.