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New leader put in charge of Arizona Senate GOP's lagging ballot recount

Scottsdale company has been working on audit since start, but has no apparent recount experience.

PHOENIX — Arizona Senate Republicans' lagging recount of the 2020 election has a new leader, a Scottsdale company called StratTech Solutions with no apparent experience running a recount.

The company has been a subcontractor to the lead auditor, Florida-based Cyber Ninjas, since the election review began a month ago.

"They can slip in and take over the counting tables just fine," Ken Bennett, a spokesman for the audit, said Tuesday.

"They were very familiar with all the procedures that had been discussed and approved."

The leadership change was first reported by azcentral.com.

The hand recount of 2.1 million Maricopa County ballots is the most visible and the most labor-intensive piece of the Senate Republicans' election review - and it's way behind schedule. 

Cyber Ninjas' contract with Senate President Karen Fann estimated the count would end around May 14, three weeks after the county delivered the ballots to Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The recount is now projected to end in almost six weeks, on June 30.

The contract with the original recount operator, Pennsylvania-based Wake Technology Services, expired May 14.

"They chose not to continue once we came back after the graduations," Bennett said. 

The recount was forced to take last week off because Phoenix high schools had booked the coliseum for graduations.

In a text message to 12 News, Senate President Karen Fann used different language in describing Wake TSI's departure:  "I was informed yesterday that their contract was completed and they weren't needed any longer."

Until now, StratTech's work for the audit had not been disclosed. Bennett said the company's inexperience shouldn't be a barrrier.

"Nobody should be precluded from doing something the first time," he said.

Fann signed a contract for a multi-faceted audit with Cyber Ninjas. 

But she has told 12 News that she doesn't have anything to do with the companies that Cyber Ninjas hires.

Wake TSI had little experience of its own in leading a ballot hand count. 

The Arizona Mirror reported that Wake TSI was hired for a recount in Fulton County, Pa., population 15,000, by an organization whose goal was to overturn the election results.

Several people and organizations connected to Arizona's partisan audit have promoted the lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election.

StratTech must process about 1.4 million ballots by the target end date of June 30. 

About 660,000 ballots have been counted, according to Randy Pullen, a former Arizona Republican Party chair who is also an audit spokesman.

Bennett said the 44 recount tables would soon be filled. On Tuesday, about 30 of them were occupied by counters.

Representatives of Wake TSI and StratTech could not be reached for comment.

Maricopa County election audit

Keep track of the latest developments from the Maricopa County election audit on the 12 News YouTube channel.