Maricopa County ballots from the 2020 general election are examined for signs they are counterfeited by contractors hired by the Arizona senate at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 28, 2021. Photo by Thomas Hawthorne | The Arizona Republic
Maricopa County ballots from the 2020 general election are examined for signs they are counterfeited by contractors hired by the Arizona senate at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 28, 2021.
A researcher the Arizona Senate hired to double-check an analysis of ballots by election conspiracy theorist Jovan Pulitzer said his claims that there were upwards of 12,000 counterfeit ballots were “utter rubbish.”
A trove of newly released documents related to the Arizona Senate’s partisan review of the 2020 presidential election shows that EchoMail CEO Shiva Ayyadurai was hired to review Pulitzer’s work. Pulitzer, an election conspiracy theorist known best for an “invention” dubbed “kinematic artifact detection,” has built a rabid following in the election fraud conspiracy world even though he has no background in election work.
“Per your request, I spent time reviewing the nonsense,” Ayyadurai wrote in an email to Senate President Karen Fann and Randy Pullen, one of Fann’s liaisons to the so-called “audit.” “It was painful to read this utter rubbish.”
Pulitzer was hired by the Florida-based firm Cyber Ninjas to work on the Senate’s partisan election review. Cyber Ninjas, which had no experience in analyzing elections and was run by a man who spread baseless claims of election fraud
and tried to overturn the election
, was empowered to hire whomever it wanted
without Senate approval.
Ayyadurai slammed Pulitzer’s work, saying that Pulitzer should face criminal investigation for “fraud” and recommending that the Senate not publish the report.
“It is filled with blatant prevarications that demand either a full blown criminal investigation of fraud of the author of this rubbish or at minimum complete disassociation from him to ensure integrity of the election integrity efforts and to honor those who are truly doing the real work to identify real problems,” Ayyadurai said in his email to Fann and Pullen in February.
Ayyadurai charged the Senate $2,500 for the analysis. The Senate paid that money on top of the $150,000 it agreed to pay Cyber Ninjas.
In his report, Pulitzer alleged that ballots were printed in foreign countries, ballots were counterfeit and that bleed-through caused large-scale problems. All of those accusations have been thoroughly debunked by Maricopa County and independent fact-checkers.
Pulitzer’s company that contracted with Cyber Ninjas was created on the day he signed the contract, according to records from the Utah Corporation Commission.
In January, Pulitzer threatened possible legal action against the Senate, alleging that it had infringed on his intellectual copyrights by sharing ballot images with Ayyadurai.
“It is our firm belief the transfer of these images to outside or other parties will compromise our Intellectual Property and would surely make up ‘willful infringement’ and the damages would easily be over $3,000,000 (since we severely discounted our services being used in the Arizona audit),” Pulitzer said in his email to Fann and others.
Pulitzer further went on to say that, by hiring Ayyadurai to inspect his work, Fann and others were helping to “fuel Arizona’s citizens’ distrust” of the Senate’s election review.
“We further think with all the conspiracy theories, stories, rumors, and doubts cast on the handling of the 2020 Arizona Senate audit of the General Election by the Senate, that an event like this would further fuel Arizona’s citizens’ distrust of their Arizona Legislators,” Pulitzer said. “It is apparent Arizona citizens are on pins and needles waiting for action and this is a tinderbox ready to explode on lawmakers if confidence by the public continues to erode.”
Pulitzer in turn sought access to the materials that were given to Ayyadurai for his flawed evaluation of early ballot envelopes, and complained when they weren’t turned over to him.
“For months we have been asking for some number confirmations regarding ‘envelopes found with no signatures’ by Dr. Shiva,” Pulitzer said in a January email, referring to Ayyadurai’s findings.
Pulitzer accused the Senate of not turning over the materials because Pullen “hates (Pulitzer’s) guts and is not going to give (him) anything.”
“We do not think it would be appropriate to publish our report that we were denied access due to ‘Randy Pullen hating Jovan’ – we think that would enrage the public when all anyone wants is hard numbers,” Pulitzer said in his email to Fann.
Pulitzer has since publicly turned on the Arizona Senate. On his Twitter and Telegram channels, Pulitzer frequently creates hashtags and publishes photos of Republican senators with derogatory comments, often saying that they are against election integrity.
Lately, Pulitzer has been sharing a meme that includes himself, Fann and Kory Langhofer, the Senate’s attorney. In the meme, Pulitzer is saying there has been no “official debrief” of his report because Langhofer won’t let him give one. Pulitzer has also shared a similar photo of Attorney General Mark Brnovich, calling him a “traitor.”
In the email records, Pulitzer has requested a “debrief” multiple times with Jennifer Wright, an assistant to the attorney general who leads Brnovich’s Election Integrity Unit. Pulitzer has on several occasions sent her reports and “explainer” videos he created related to his work.
“Jennifer, we still need to do a debrief,” Pulitzer said in a March email to Wright. The email was copied to Fann, Flagstaff Republican Sen. Wendy Rogers and Sen. Sonny Borrelli.
Pulitzer originally planned to bill Cyber Ninjas $2.1 million for his work — a fee of $1 per ballot examined — before cutting the price by 90% and charging $210,000.
Ayyadurai claimed in an email that he was never paid his original fee of $50,000 by Cyber Ninjas. Ayyadurai later slammed the “audit” leaders as grifters in a report he issued earlier this year.