Maricopa County officials said Tuesday that audits by two independent firms found its Dominion Voting Systems machines were not hacked and accurately counted the ballots in November’s election.
However, the audits did not include a review of the ballots themselves, which is something the Arizona Senate has been seeking — but the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has refused to comply with — since December.
A hearing in state court is slated for Thursday to determine if the state Senate has the right to access the ballots and other voting logs, according to Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward.
“Maricopa County’s election equipment and software passed all tests performed by two independent firms hired to conduct the forensic audit, according to reports by two federally certified Voting System Testing Laboratories,” a county news release said.
“The audits, completed by SLI Compliance and Pro V&V, found that Maricopa County Elections Department’s configuration and setup of the tabulation equipment provided an accurate counting of ballots and reporting of election results.”
The county relayed that the auditors found the software used was properly certified and not modified, that no malware or hardware was installed in the tabulators or system, that the voting tabulators were not connected to the internet and that “no evidence of vote switching” was discovered.
“The work of these two qualified firms, combined with the work done by our Elections Department, confirms that 2.1 million ballots in the November election were counted as they were cast,” Clint Hickman, a Republican board member, said.
(1 of 4) Maricopa County’s multi-layered forensic audit of elections equipment started today. Observers from both parties were invited. Watch it on our 24-7 live video feed: https://t.co/q5XN3hqins pic.twitter.com/A8ytbEQuQj
— Maricopa County Elections Department (@MaricopaVote) February 2, 2021
Democrat supervisor Steve Gallardo concurred saying, “Whether you liked the results or not, the will of the people was represented. Our equipment worked.”
In 2016, former President Donald Trump carried Maricopa County (which includes the Phoenix metropolitan area) by 2.9 percentage points (45,500 votes), but Democratic President Joe Biden won the county by 2.2 percentage points (45,100 votes) in November, or a 5.1 percent swing.
Despite Biden’s win, Republicans won every countywide office election (save sheriff, which the incumbent Democrat held), including flipping the country recorder and winning the open treasurer seat.
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen announced earlier this month they wanted to bring in their own independent auditing firm to conduct a more comprehensive review than the Maricopa Board of Supervisors authorized.
Petersen reissued subpoenas in January after the new legislative session began, which were first issued by his Judiciary Committee chairman predecessor Sen. Eddie Farnsworth in mid-December, seeking access to the ballots and other election-related logs.
“Unfortunately, [the Maricopa Country Board of Supervisors audits’] limited scope does not fulfill the demand of our subpoena, which called for a deep forensic audit. We need to do more than make basic checks on the machines to make sure they were working. We need to check the ballots and ballot scans for abnormalities,” Petersen said.
Farnsworth explained in a December interview, “There is technology that can look at those ballots to see if there are any anomalies, to see if there’s any dual voting and whether or not these were pre-printed.”
Ward, in a video posted last week, expressed hope that Thursday’s hearing before a Maricopa County Superior Court judge will resolve the impasse.
In today’s update, Chairwoman Kelli Ward provides an update on the 2020 election audit and shares the fact that there is an upcoming expedited court hearing on the issue. @kelliwardaz pic.twitter.com/UOozH8tueg
— Arizona Republican Party (@AZGOP) February 19, 2021
Ward first noted that a vote in the Arizona Senate fell one vote short of holding the Maricopa Board of Supervisors in contempt earlier this month, when one Republican senator pulled his support, at least temporarily.
If the resolution had passed, it would have made the five-member board, which consists of four Republicans and one Democrat, subject to arrest, fines and potential jail time.
Just because the vote failed “does not mean that a court of law cannot hold the board in contempt,” Ward said.
“Obtain the server files, audit the files, all the ballot images, the scans and the physical ballots and order those to be reviewed by the Senate.”
The board of supervisors has been claiming that they cannot give access to the ballots and other materials under state law.
SB1408 (legislative subpoena; records; privilege) just passed!
— AZSenateRepublicans (@AZSenateGOP) February 18, 2021
Petersen said at a Judiciary Committee hearing regarding the legislation earlier this month that the board continues “to hold the position that we don’t have the authority to investigate and audit the ballots and in this case the equipment,” KSAZ-TV reported. “So [S.B. 1408] makes clear what we already believe is the law.”
The Arizona Secretary of State’s official tally has Biden defeating Trump statewide by 10,457 votes, the closest margin of any of the swing states that went for the Democrat.