Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward said the full, forensic audit of the 2020 election that the Arizona Senate is presiding over should result in findings in which all Arizona voters can have confidence.
Late last month, an Arizona judge ruled the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors must turn over the ballots and other materials related to the disputed Nov. 3 election to the Arizona state Senate.
The decision came after a months-long legal battle between the two sides that began after the Arizona Senate issued subpoenas in mid-December.
“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,” then-Senate Judiciary Chairman state Sen. Eddie Farnsworth explained in an interview at the time.
Last week, the Maricopa County Elections Department tweeted it was preparing the 2.1 million ballots to be delivered to the Senate.
To comply with the Senate’s subpoena, we’re readying all 2.1 million ballots to transfer to the Senate’s custody. This includes documenting manifest logs, chain of custody reports and tamper evident seals. pic.twitter.com/Oypi1p30VD
— Maricopa County Elections Department (@MaricopaVote) March 2, 2021
Ward recounted that that that senators are currently determining the best way to proceed.
“The Arizona Senate is doing its due diligence on vetting the most qualified auditors of the 2020 election materials that we prevailed in court to gain access to,” Ward said in a Monday video posted on Twitter.
“Ensuring that we get this audit right is so critical to the success of our political system right now, the elections in 2022 and America’s future as a whole,” she continued.
“The Arizona Senate knows this and is working to get the most qualified and unbiased people to do this audit so that all voters can have confidence in our elections.”
— Dr. Kelli Ward 🇺🇸 (@kelliwardaz) March 9, 2021
The chairwoman added that the auditors will have to take a “strictly scientific approach” so that “the ultimate results will stand on their own merits and they’re not colored by politics.”
“Anything less than this will not accomplish what we all know needs to be achieved by this audit, so let’s get it right. We deserve that. Arizona deserves that and America deserves that,” Ward said.
The Arizona Capitol Times reported last week the Senate and the board of supervisors are currently at an impasse over where the audit will be conducted.
“Maricopa County spokesman Fields Moseley said supervisors had no intention of allowing senators to use their facilities for an audit they never supported in the first place,” the outlet reported.
The Arizona Senate Republicans tweeted last week that they were shocked when they received notice of the imminent delivery of the ballots and voting machines on March 1, after a previous Friday court ruling in their favor.
“The attorney for the Senate immediately contacted the county, reasserting that the Senate felt the best way to maintain the security of machines and ballots was to leave them at the county and have the independent auditors come to them,” the statement read.
— AZSenateRepublicans (@AZSenateGOP) March 3, 2021
Senate President Karen Fann and Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers “are keeping in close contact, working on a mutual arrangement to keep the ballots safe and secure” during the audit.
Last month, Maricopa County officials released the findings of their examination of the Dominion Voting Systems machines used in the election finding no issues, but the review did not include an audit of the ballots themselves.
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 — a 5.1 percent swing.
Despite Biden’s win, Republicans carried every countywide office election save sheriff (which the incumbent Democrat held), including flipping the country recorder and winning the open treasurer seat.
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.