Maricopa County Board Orders Audit Of Election Equipment And Software

By Ben Giles, Steve Goldstein
Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2021 - 1:15pm
Updated: Thursday, January 28, 2021 - 11:49am
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The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Wednesday to hire independent auditors to conduct another review of the 2020 general election.

The county already conducted a hand count audit of the November election that verified their equipment counted ballots flawlessly. Elections Director Scott Jarrett said the new forensic audit, which goes beyond the legally required reviews of the election, will examine Dominion Voting Systems equipment and software.

Jarrett predicted the results will prove what he says the county already knows to be true: That election equipment used in 2020 wasn’t hacked, isn’t connected to the internet and wasn’t subjected to malicious software, among other rumors and false allegations.

“I am confident. I know that information, those rumors are not true,” Jarrett told the board. “But there are a certain number of people, I think a good number of people in our community, that do have distrust, they’ve heard those rumors, and they don’t know what to believe.”

Republican Supervisor Steve Chucri said misinformation is so persistent that it no longer matters why so many people doubt the election results — what matters, he said, is addressing the community’s concerns.

“This isn’t an issue of being to the far left. This isn’t an issue of being to the far right. My mother is not politically engaged and she questioned this equipment,” Chucri said.

Democratic Supervisor Steve Gallardo disagreed.

The root cause of those doubts are Republican officials who aren’t happy with Democratic wins in Arizona, he said.

“And to be honest, that’s quite normal in the world of elections. Folks that are not happy with the results generally do complain. This year they took it a step further,” Gallardo said.

Gallardo said he knows that yet another audit won’t convince some doubters -- in particular, some Republicans -- that the election was fair and secure.

To that point, a handful of Republican senators have already said they won’t be satisfied with the county’s forensic audit.

"The Senate is moving forward with our own audit," said Sen. Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa), one of the Arizona legislators who has expressed doubt about the reported election returns.

And Sen. Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) said the Senate still intends to do its own examination.

Senate Republicans have issued two subpoenas seeking a host of voting records and their own forensic audit of Maricopa County’s election, but remain deadlocked in negotiations with county attorneys over access to certain records and voting equipment.

Senate President Karen Fann, however, said it's yet to be determined whether the Senate will do its own review. She wants to see exactly what the supervisors approve and the extent of the proposed audit.

"I'm waiting for a copy of that so I can see if that scope is everything that we were looking for," Fann told Capitol Media Services.

"And if it is, great," she said. "And if it's not, we'll have to have a conversation about what do we need to do to make sure we can truly put this thing to bed and answer all of these questions that so many of our constituents have."

Gallardo accused Republican legislators of an ulterior motive — questioning the election’s integrity to support dozens of bills that Gallardo said would suppress votes in future elections.

“That’s what this is about. They need to use our election as justification for the bills that they are introducing right now. That’s what they are,” Gallardo said of Republican lawmakers. “They don’t like who’s voting, so let’s make it more difficult for them to vote.”

“Anyone who doesn’t look like them or think like them, they don’t want them to vote,” he added.

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