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Maricopa County Votes to Perform Forensic Audit of Machines Used in November Election

By Tom Ozimek
January 28, 2021

Ballots are counted by Maricopa County Elections Department staff in Phoenix, Ariz. (Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)

Maricopa County in Arizona will carry out a comprehensive forensic audit of its voting systems to allay concerns raised by some constituents about the integrity of the November 2020 election.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously at a meeting Wednesday to hire two independent companies to conduct an audit that will probe whether voting machines counted votes correctly, and whether they were tampered with or hacked in any way.

The Republican-dominated board defended the accuracy of the county’s election results while expressing hope that a comprehensive equipment and software audit would dispel concerns that the results were inaccurate.

“Maricopa County elections were administered with integrity throughout 2020. That’s a fact. Multiple audits to date have proved as much, and multiple court rulings have concurred,” Chairman Jack Sellers said in a statement. “It’s also true that a significant number of voters want the additional assurance that a full forensic audit of tabulation equipment might bring, especially given all the misinformation that spread following the November 3 election.”

According to information from the meeting, the “multi-layered forensic audit” will include a software, hardware, and financial review of voting systems. A vulnerability analysis will be performed, along with a check for malware and a test to verify that tabulators did not send or receive information over the internet. Additionally, a logic and accuracy test of the county’s tabulation equipment will be carried out to verify whether ballots were counted accurately and to confirm that no votes were switched.

Supporters of President Donald Trump demonstrate at a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally in front of the Maricopa County Elections Department office in Phoenix, Ariz., on Nov. 7, 2020. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“Regardless of how we got where we are today, there are a number of people now that have serious doubts about our election process,” Sellers said at the meeting.

“I really want to alleviate their concerns and their issues with whatever it is we are doing and convince them that this was in fact truly an honest election with good integrity,” he added.

The audit is unlikely to satisfy the demands of the Arizona Senate, however, which issued subpoenas to the supervisors in December demanding they turn over a range of election material, including images of all mail-in ballots and machines used to count votes, so that the Senate could carry out its own audit.

Arizona State Sen. Warren Peterson, a Republican who chairs the Judiciary Committee, told Fox 10 that the county’s audit will not alleviate the need for a Senate audit.

“A county audit will not prevent the Senate from doing their own audit,” Peterson told the outlet. “My concern with the county audit is that the scope of the audit is an inch deep. With the limited scope, they have asked to be audited, they are guaranteed to find nothing.”

The Maricopa County board has resisted the Senate’s requests, arguing that they were too broad, while trying to negotiate a settlement.

Seeking to shore up confidence in the November election, the Maricopa County Government on Wednesday published a list of steps taken to ensure election integrity, including an October logic and accuracy test on tabulation equipment and a November hand count audit of election results that “found a 100 percent match to the vote tabulation machines.”


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