Officials from Maricopa County, Arizona, have approved a forensic audit of its voting systems to relieve concerns about irregularities in the 2020 presidential election among some of its constituents. The Board of Supervisors also voted to hire two companies that will carry out the audit and report whether the voting systems were compromised in any manner.
The audit will review all aspects of the voting systems, including hardware and software. Both a vulnerability test to check whether the tabulators sent information over the internet and an accuracy test to determine whether the ballots were counted properly without any votes being switched will be conducted.
Chairman Jack Sellers insisted that the Maricopa County elections were “administered with integrity” and that several court rulings have confirmed this. However, he admitted that many people do have serious doubts about the election process and that the audit will be a good way to alleviate those concerns to some extent.
The forensic audit process will be carried out in the presence of leaders from the House and Senate, members from political parties, and officials from both the Attorney General’s office and the Secretary of State. Members from the media will also have access to the audit.
“I have been publicly supportive of an audit for over a month now and am glad to have this much-needed vote… Elections are the foundation of our democracy and the most important right we hold as Americans. It is paramount that the public has trust in our elections systems and equipment, and that is why I wholeheartedly support an audit to ensure this equipment is above reproach. This thorough audit is what many of my constituents have been asking for. I am pleased we are conducting it and look forward to sharing the results,” Supervisor Steve Chucri, District 2, said in a statement.
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Even though the audit has been approved, Arizona State Senator Warren Peterson noted that it would not prevent the Senate from conducting its own audit. In December, the Arizona Senate had issued subpoenas to the Board of Supervisors, asking them to turn over all election materials such as voting machines and mail-in ballot images. However, the county had refused to comply with the audit subpoena, arguing that it was too broad.
Peterson notes that the Board has approved the Supervisors’ audit, but stated it is too limited in scope and won’t find any useful information. Dissatisfied with the county audit, the Senate has hired an independent forensic auditing firm to investigate the Nov. 3 elections’ results. The name of the company conducting the audit has not been revealed.
In November, the Arizona Republican Party had filed a lawsuit asking that precinct rather than voting centers count Maricopa County’s votes. Voters from any precinct are allowed to cast ballots at the voting centers. “There is a fundamental difference between sampling ‘polling centers’ and ‘precincts,’ most notable being the fact that there were only around 175 voting centers in this election, but there were 748 precincts… Hand counting by precinct would therefore potentially result in a more precise sampling of votes,” the Republican Party of Arizona had said in a statement. However, the suit was dismissed by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah.