The Arizona Senate will soon be conducting a thorough hand recount of 2.1 million votes cast in the 2020 presidential race in Maricopa County, the state’s biggest county.
Republican Senator Karen Fann said that the audit would be “broad and detailed.” It will include scanning ballots, testing voting machines, and checking for IT breaches. She said that they have identified a preferred forensic team and that the audit’s final details will soon be announced.
“Our goal is to make this a bipartisan effort with full transparency and in joint cooperation with Maricopa County officials. We’ve been reaching out to experts on election processes in Arizona and around the nation and hope to have the best and brightest involved in the audit… There will be a full report for the Senate and County to review when all the work is done. Our voters expect this audit, and it can be a big step in returning trust and confidence in our election process,” Fann said in a statement.
Arizona’s Senate had previously issued subpoenas to Maricopa County officials, which had requested all election material to conduct a thorough review. However, the county refused to comply with the subpoenas, leading to a lawsuit. In February, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason determined the subpoenas to be valid.
Arizona legislature will investigate election reform
In his ruling, Thomason stated that the Arizona legislature “clearly has the power” to investigate election reform, including subpoenaing election material for this purpose. After the judgment, Fann said that her party’s actions were never about overturning the election but were undertaken to ensure the “integrity of the Arizona election system.”
Maricopa County Board Chair Jack Sellers sent a letter to Fann and other Republican senators in early March, asking where they wanted the ballots delivered. The Senate said that it would like to use the county’s facilities. However, county spokesperson Fields Moseley recently indicated that they haven’t discussed allowing the Senate to utilize their facilities for the review process.
Recounting 2.1 million ballots will be a challenging issue since it would require many counters and observers if the result is to be trusted by both parties. Fann had earlier stated that she intends to recount at least 550,000 ballots.
Democrats are furious at the Republican effort for election integrity. County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, the sole Democrat on the county board, accused the GOP of pushing conspiracy theories to undermine people’s confidence in the election system. He asked Republican Party members to “deal with” their loss in the 2020 presidential election.
Limiting mail voting
Republican lawmakers are trying to limit mail voting in Arizona and have introduced a few bills to implement such restrictions. One of the bills aims to remove some voters from the list of people automatically who are sent mail-in ballots during an election.
Democrats allege that the bills are designed to prevent people of color and other minorities from voting. In an interview with CNN, Republican Representative John Kavanagh said that the GOP’s main concern is to protect against fraud.
“Democrats value as many people as possible voting and they’re willing to risk fraud. Republicans are more concerned about fraud… Not everybody wants to vote, and if somebody is uninterested in voting, that probably means that they’re totally uninformed on the issues… Quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes, as well,” Kavanagh told CNN.