Arizona’s state Senate is set to begin a major audit of ballots from the state’s largest county after months of being reportedly blocked by county officials.
“It’s taken the Senate 2 1/2 months to win in court to uphold our right to issue subpoenas for election materials,” said state Senate President Karen Fann, “and another six weeks of researching to select the audit team to perform the full forensic audit.”
Arizona’s Republican-controlled Senate has had subpoenas to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors pending since Dec. 15 and has battled in court for the right to access to information and equipment needed to perform the audit.
A judge upheld the chamber’s right to issue the subpoenas, paving the way for a “detailed” review of the county’s ballots to include “testing the machines, scanning the ballots, performing a full hand count, and checking for any IT breaches.”
Now, Republicans in the state are ironing out the final details on how to conduct the audit, with lawmakers accusing county officials of attempting to “sabotage” the effort.
“The Maricopa BOS has refused to allow us to perform the audit at their facilities,” Fann said, “and has gone so far as to refusing to even answer simple questions such as, ‘How are the ballots sequestered?'”
But the lawmakers were able to secure a “20,000-plus square foot facility known as the Coliseum at our state fairgrounds to perform the audit” and will have 24-hour physical and livestream security at the site.
“The Arizona Senate and the auditors have no ‘expectations’ of findings,” Fann said. “We are performing the full forensic audit to either dispel our voters’ concerns or, if a problem is uncovered, we must fix the problems before the next election.”
“We have never accused anyone of fraud or misconduct, whether it be the hardware, software, or actions of personnel,” Fann added. “We hope there is no intentional illegal tampering but, if found, we will turn the information over to the state and federal attorney generals for their further legal action, and we will proceed to make the appropriate corrections.”
Fann said affidavits signed by Arizona residents since the election hint at “some problems with a large amount of mail-in ballots that should not have been sent to residents who have moved from the known address or have passed away.”
“We hope this audit will help us understand how to correct those errors,” Fann continued.
But Maricopa County spokesman Fields Moseley said the county has not resisted the audit, arguing that officials in the county were only attempting to “seek clarity” on the details while Arizona Republicans “voted to hold the members of the Board of Supervisors in contempt.”
Mosley pointed to a letter sent from the county to the Senate’s audit liaison noting that the county had sent hundreds of thousands of pages in subpoenaed documents but had not sent “voted ballots, tabulators, and other subpoenaed material because the County did not believe it was lawful for it to do so.”
Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel said the county “has been waiting for direction for a month and a half regarding when to deliver the remaining subpoenaed materials.”
Meanwhile, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers informed Fann that the audit “is not a joint effort between the County and the Senate Republican Caucus.”
Read more at Washington Examiner