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Wed, April 21

Audits find no problems with Arizona election equipment

PHOENIX - Two independent audits of election equipment in Arizona's most populous county found no modified software, malicious software or incorrect counting equipment, and none of the computers or equipment were connected to the internet.

However, the state Senate wants its own audit and a judge will decide if it gets access to ballots and other materials that Republican lawmakers are seeking.

The independent audit results released by Maricopa County on Tuesday also included a “logic and accuracy test” by one of the certified firms that examined the equipment. It confirmed multiple earlier tests overseen by the county and the Arizona secretary of state's office that found the tabulation equipment properly counted votes. Hand counts of a sample of ballots also came out perfect.

A review of the county's contract with its machine provider, Dominion Voting Systems, by an accounting firm is expected to be completed March 31.

Republicans who control the Arizona Senate are demanding the county turn over the vote-counting machines and 2.1 million ballots so it can audit the results that saw Democratic President Joe Biden win in Arizona.

Senate President Karen Fann said Tuesday the county agreed to two independent forensic audits of the results and argued that's not what it did.

“That’s what we agreed on, and that’s not what we got,” Fann said. “One of the companies that did it was a company that all they do is certify machines — they do not do an audit.”

The Senate issued subpoenas in December and again in January that demanded access to the county's election materials. The county Board of Supervisors turned over reams of data but balked at handing over the actual ballots or the tabulation machines, saying the ballots were by law secret and the machines would be compromised.

The Senate fell one vote short earlier this month of finding the Republican-dominated board in contempt for not producing all the material the subpoenas demanded. The board has asked a court to block the subpoenas, and a hearing is set for Thursday.

County attorneys are urging a judge to quash the subpoena, arguing that laws enacted by the Legislature require ballots to be sealed after the election and they can only be unsealed under a court order and only for a recount or during an election contest.

They allege Fann and other GOP lawmakers are trying to conduct an illegal recount.

Attorneys for the Legislature call the arguments raised by the supervisors flawed, saying that the laws cited by the county are intended as limits on public access, not access demanded by the same Legislature that made the laws.

Jack Sellers, the Republican board chair, said the audits done by the only two firms certified by federal elections officials confirmed November's election was free, fair and accurate.

"No hacking or vote switching occurred in the 2020 election,” Sellers said in a statement.

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