BELLAIRE — A Dallas-based firm tasked with conducting a court-sanctioned examination of Antrim County’s election equipment, was initially considered by Republican leadership in Arizona to assist with an audit there, then dropped over concerns about partisanship, records show.
Antrim County, Michigan and Maricopa County, Arizona, both use Dominion Voting Systems election equipment and officials in both counties are embroiled in election-related lawsuits, which seek to question results of the 2020 election.
Arizona’s Republican-led state senate won a lawsuit earlier this year, seeking to take possession of Maricopa County ballots for a forensic review, after a county-wide audit found no irregularities, the Arizona Mirror reported.
State Senate President Karen Fann in February selected Allied Security Operations Group and an “ASOG scope of work” document was drafted, with a plan to pay the firm $10,000 for a forensic exam and a written report, as reported in the Arizona Mirror.
ASOG in December provided similar services — though on a smaller scale — to Bill Bailey, a Central Lake Township man suing Antrim County.
Bailey accuses the county of violating his constitutional rights, after he said in court filings Dominion Voting Systems equipment was intentionally error-prone or fraudulent — a characterization Dominion CEO John Poulos and election officials have said is false.
Fann later told the Arizona Mirror she was no longer considering ASOG, saying there was too much negative media coverage about the firm’s past that would lead to criticism the company wouldn’t be independent.
The Arizona Senate instead hired another man with ties to the Antrim County lawsuit — Doug Logan of Cyber Ninjas — who’s name appears on an expert witness list filed in 13th Circuit Court by Bailey’s attorney, Matthew DePerno of Portage.
Logan, like ASOG, has seen his independence questioned. He deleted his Twitter account after using the “Stop the Steal” hashtag and retweeting allegations of voter fraud made by former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and attorney Sidney Powell, the Arizona Mirror reported.
“Cyber Ninjas does not appear to have any experience with elections-related work,” said a statement released by Dominion on Friday. “The firms selected to conduct the Arizona audit are beyond biased, much like what happened in Antrim County, Michigan.”
“Dominion supports forensic audits conducted by federally-accredited Voting System Test labs — but this has already happened twice in Maricopa County,” the statement says. “In addition to those successful audits, more than a thousand independent recounts and audits across the country since Election Day — including the State of Michigan — have all demonstrated the accuracy and reliability of Dominion Voting Systems.”
A Dec. 17 hand recount of the presidential election in Antrim County held by the state’s Bureau of Elections found the certified results were accurate; a similar recount in Maricopa County produced similar results, the Arizona Mirror reported.
Beyond successful audits, Antrim and Maricopa counties share another election litigation commonality, too — the challenges inherent in examining millions of ballots, should such a review be allowed by the court.
In Arizona, 2.1 million ballots sat packaged and shrink-wrapped on 70 pallets waiting for the state senate leadership there to come up with a plan to examine them, the Arizona Mirror reported, after Maricopa County officials declined to allow the exam in their facility, citing security issues.
In Michigan, clerks in at least eight counties are awaiting a decision by 13th Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer, on the fate of subpoenas filed by DePerno seeking extensive election data, including paper ballots, court records show.
DePerno did not respond to a question about how the 2.66 million ballots cast in Barry, Charlevoix, Grand Traverse, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties relate to his client’s election-related claims in Antrim County.
Barry, Charlevoix, Kent, and Wayne counties use Dominion election equipment; Grand Traverse, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland counties do not, information from the Secretary of State’s voting system map shows.
DePerno is not seeking to take possession of the ballots, the subpoenas state, but rather review them at county clerks’ offices, though Grand Traverse County Clerk Bonnie Scheele said this would incur costs since many are stored in outlying townships.
Scheele said she has been in contact with the clerks in other subpoenaed counties and, like Grand Traverse, they have all filed motions to quash, or cancel, DePerno’s subpoenas, she said.
Its unclear how DePerno plans to conduct a forensic review of 2.66 million ballots should Elsenheimer rule against the motions to quash.
Fraud claims in ASOG’s Antrim County report have previously been widely debunked by election officials, including Chris Krebs, a former member of the Trump administration who oversaw election security; Ryan Macias, former acting director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s Voting System Testing and Certification Program; and John Sebes, co-founder and chief technology officer of Open Source Elections Technology Institute.
A University of Michigan professor of computer science and engineering, J. Alex Halderman, is the latest to take issue with the accuracy of ASOG’s claims of fraud, stating he found an “extraordinary number of false, inaccurate, or unsubstantiated statements and conclusions,” in the ASOG report.
Halderman refuted the most serious of these in his own 54-page report, commissioned by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel.
“The report affirmed there was no credible evidence the Dominion system was deliberately designed to induce errors, and found the Allied Security Operations Group report contained an extraordinary number of false, inaccurate or unsubstantiated statements,” a Secretary of State press release stated. “The report identified areas for improvement including voting system design, training and security, but concluded the errors in Antrim County were not the result of a security breach.”
Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy has repeatedly acknowledged human error by her office caused initial results of the county’s presidential election to be reported incorrectly. Those mistakes were corrected and the certified results were confirmed as accurate by the Dec. 17 hand recount, Bureau of Elections records show.
DePerno filed suit against Antrim County on behalf of his client Nov. 23 and a motion hearing in the case is scheduled April 12 at 10:30 a.m.