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Latest Audits Dispel Rumors About Maricopa County Election Process

Two additional audits of Maricopa County election equipment and software debunked numerous conspiracy theories about ways Arizona’s election could have been stolen or fraudulent. 

The forensic audits,  approved unanimously by the county Board of Supervisors in late January, are the latest analysis of Maricopa County’s election process and results, and went beyond legally required reviews of the election. 

In particular, the audit sought to address specific rumors and falsehoods used to allege that the results in Maricopa County weren’t accurate. Some Republican officials, from the chair of the state Republican Party to sitting legislators, have suggested as much, or at least raised the possibility.

But the audit results, released Tuesday afternoon, confirmed what county election officials and supervisors, Republican and Democrat alike, have said all along: election equipment used only certified software that was never modified; there’s no instance of equipment being altered with malicious hardware, or software being altered with malicious malware; election equipment was never connected to the internet; and that ballots were counted accurately, without votes being switched from one candidate to another.

“The audits clearly dispel the notion that somehow the November election was rigged,” Democratic Supervisor Steve Gallardo said in a statement. “Whether you liked the results or not, the will of the people was represented.”

Supervisors will review the audit during a 1 p.m. hearing on Wednesday. 

Republican Supervisor Bill Gates said the audits — conducted separately by  SLI Compliance and  Pro V&V, firms certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission — can serve as a fresh start for conversation about the election.

“We have an opportunity as a community to work from a shared set of facts. Our ability to do that will determine the strength of our republic,” Gates said in a statement. “The facts are the voting machines in Maricopa County counted ballots accurately and were not compromised in any way during the November general election.” 

Yet the audit is unlikely to satisfy the county’s fiercest critics, including GOP state senators who aim to conduct their own audit.

Senators like Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) dismissed the county’s latest audit as unsatisfactory before it was even started. Petersen and Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) have led efforts to subpoena voting records, including the actual ballots cast in the 2020 general election, and have demanded access to voting equipment.

Maricopa County supervisors have turned over a trove of election data but refused to comply with demands for access to ballots and voting equipment, citing a conflict in state law and their need to protect the equipment’s federal certification for use in upcoming elections.

A hearing on the county’s lawsuit to quash the subpoena is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.