The Republican-controlled Arizona Senate is preparing to begin a massive audit of 2.1 million ballots for the 2020 presidential election. This time, the recount will be done by hand.
In March, the state Senate announced that it would conduct a “large and thorough” audit, which would include testing voting machines, scanning ballots, looking for IT violations, and performing a hand count.
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The state-issued subpoenas needed to conduct the audit have been pending since mid-December and were ruled valid on Feb. 25 (pdf).
Since then, legislators have been consulting on the audit’s particulars. The audit process will begin, according to Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, who spoke to Just the News.
The state’s Republicans, according to Fann, have been subjected to “sabotage” by Maricopa County’s Board of Supervisors, which has hampered the process.
“The Maricopa BOS has declined to allow us to conduct the audit at their facilities,” Fann said, “and has also refused to answer basic questions like ‘how are the ballots sequestered?’”
“It took the Senate two and a half months to win in court to protect our right to issue subpoenas for election materials, followed by another six weeks of testing to choose the audit team to conduct the full forensic audit.”
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She previously stated that their aim was “never to reverse the result, but to protect the dignity of the Arizona electorate.”
According to azcentral, Fann signed a deal earlier this week to rent the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix for around a month beginning April 19. She had previously stated that she wanted to use county spaces but that they had refused.
In the more than 20,000-square-foot building, she said, there will be physical and livestreaming security.
“The audit teams are putting together and moving the equipment and staff to Arizona, with a start date of April 22,” she said.
The Arizona State Senate and auditors, according to Fann, have no particular expectations of the results.
“We are conducting a full forensic audit to either assuage our voters’ fears or, if an issue is discovered, we must address it before the next election,” she said.
“We have never suspected anyone of fraud or wrongdoing, regardless of hardware, software, or staff behaviour.
“We hope there is no deliberate criminal tampering, but if it is discovered, we will forward the information to the state and federal attorney generals for further legal action, and we will continue to make the necessary corrections.”
According to a statement from the state Senate, a report will be issued in about two months.
Wake Technology Services, CyFIR, Digital Discovery, and Cyber Ninjas are four out-of-state firms that will perform the independent audit. The audit will be led by Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based cybersecurity firm that focuses on computer application protection for financial services and government clients, according to the Senate.
According to Just the News, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers said in an email to Fann that the upcoming audit is “not a joint initiative between the County and the Senate Republican Caucus.”
Sellers said, “Maricopa County will not interact with your vendors or interpret Arizona law for them.”