Maricopa County officials are set to vote Wednesday morning on whether to move ahead with a forensic audit of certain aspects of the 2020 General Election, but there is still no word about when the State Senate will conduct its promised examination of Maricopa County’s entire election process.
The county’s board of supervisors (BOS) are expected to authorize Election Director Scott Jarrett to “take the necessary steps to conduct an audit or audits of the Dominion Voting Systems equipment and software” used for the recent election. The current plans are for Maricopa County to contract with two companies certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and an independent CPA firm to perform the audit.
But those hoping county officials are undertaking the audit in hopes of somehow repudiating the Nov. 3 election results due to ongoing claims of widespread fraud or computer tampering need only look at the meeting agenda. According to the agenda, the audit is “for the purpose of gathering information to prepare for future elections” in Maricopa County.”
“Court rulings, hand count, and other checks and balances proved Maricopa County elections were administered with integrity throughout 2020,” Board chairman Jack Sellers said Tuesday. “Some will never be satisfied, but this [Jan. 27] vote is not about them. The best we can do, in my opinion, is to err on the side of transparency, to embrace the opportunity to once again show our work, and to put facts in their proper place at the center of public discourse instead of the periphery.”
An informational pamphlet prepared by Jarrett’s department notes the audit will focus on specific issues, such as whether the tabulation equipment was hacked or exposed to malware, whether any “vote switching” occurred, and whether county officials followed mandated procurement rules when leasing election equipment. The audit is also intended to show the tabulation machines were never connected to the internet.
Wednesday’s meeting agenda makes no mention of which two EAC certified auditing firms will be contracted but Sellers has identified Alabama-based Pro V&V, Inc and Colorado-based SLI Compliance as the companies. There has been no comment on how much the audit will cost.
According to the pamphlet, the audit would be conducted in February and March, although it gives no indication of when a final report would be released to the public. In the meantime, the county’s audit appears to differ significantly from what State President Karen Fann had in mind when she and another senator signed two subpoenas in December demanding nearly every record and piece of equipment used by Maricopa County leading up to election day.
Fann and Sen. Warren Petersen reissued the subpoenas earlier this month. Among the dozens of items are the county’s entire voter registration system and the nearly 2.1 million cast ballots. It also includes all software and hardware that is part of the county’s voting system and election management system, along with the usernames and passwords to access those systems.
Two lawsuits were filed in connection to the senate subpoenas, one by Maricopa County’s BOS and one by state senate leadership. Only one lawsuit is still active although it contains claims put forth by both sides. A key question is whether the judiciary has authority to enforce the subpoenas or if the senate must pursue contempt charges through the legislature.
The Maricopa County BOS meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. Those interested in listening live can call 1-415-655-0060 and use Audio Access code 335-424-281#. Those who wish to watch the meeting live can do so at youtube.com/MaricopaCountyAZ.