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Wake TSI, the company leading the hand-recount, left the Arizona audit team

By: - May 25, 2021 12:02 pm

Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are being examined and recounted by contractors hired by the Arizona State Senate at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. In doing so, they are using unproven technology that claims it can identify counterfeit ballots. There have been no credible claims that any ballots in Arizona or elsewhere were counterfeited. Photo by Rob Schumacher | Arizona Republic/pool

Wake Technology Services, Inc., the company that has been in charge of recounting ballots as part of Senate President Karen Fann’s election audit, has left the audit team.

Audit spokesman Randy Pullen told the Arizona Republic that Wake TSI’s contract ended on May 14, when the Senate’s contract with Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where the audit is taking place, was originally scheduled to end. Pullen said Wake chose not to renew its contract.

“They were done,” Pullen told the Republic, which first reported Wake TSI’s departure. “They didn’t want to come back.”

The Pennsylvania-based digital forensics company had been in charge of hand counting 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County during the 2020 general election.

Wake has been replaced by StratTech Solutions, a Scottsdale-based IT company. It’s unclear why Cyber Ninjas and the Senate chose StratTech Solutions or whether the company has any experience working with election-related matters. It’s also unknown if the auditors solicited other companies to replace Wake TSI.

Pullen told the Republic that many of the people who worked under Wake TSI during the audit will continue that work for StratTech, and that StratTech will use the policies and procedures already in place.

An employee for StratTech declined to comment to the Arizona Mirror and referred questions to a public relations representative for Cyber Ninjas, who couldn’t be reached for comment. Wake TSI co-founder Gene Kern could not be reached for comment, either.

When Fann announced her audit team in late March, Wake TSI stood out as the only company that appeared to have any experience with election work. Cyber Ninjas said Wake TSI had conducted “hand-count audits” in Fulton County, Pennsylvania, and in New Mexico from the 2020 election, and that members of the company’s team had assisted the FBI with an election fraud investigation in 1994.

But Wake TSI, Cyber Ninjas and Fann have long refused to answer questions about the company’s work in New Mexico or with the FBI. Several election officials and Republican Party officials in New Mexico — the state GOP was involved in several post-election lawsuits — told the Mirror that they were unaware of Wake doing any work in the state related to the 2020 election.

Wake’s work in Pennsylvania raised questions as well. Fulton County, the least populous county in the state, allowed Wake to audit its election at the request of a state senator who’s been a prominent advocate of election conspiracy theories and bogus claims that the election was rigged against former President Donald Trump. 

A document obtained by the Mirror showed that Wake was actually hired by Defending the Republic, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization run by attorney Sidney Powell, a former Trump campaign lawyer who has spread myriad baseless conspiracy theories and filed unsuccessful lawsuits in several states, including Arizona, seeking to overturn legitimate election results.

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Jeremy Duda
Jeremy Duda

Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Jeremy Duda previously served as the Mirror's associate Editor. Prior to joining the Arizona Mirror, he worked at the Arizona Capitol Times, where he spent eight years covering the Governor's Office and two years as editor of the Yellow Sheet Report. Before that, he wrote for the Hobbs News-Sun of Hobbs, NM, and the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Jeremy is also the author of the history book “If This Be Treason: the American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.”