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Maricopa County Board of Supervisors votes to conduct election audit

FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2020, file photo, election workers sort ballots at the Maricopa County Recorder's Office in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

PHOENIX — While confident in the integrity of the 2020 election, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to allow an independent forensic audit of tabulation equipment.

A draft of the board’s audit plan includes analyzation of the equipment’s hacking vulnerability, assurance tabulators weren’t sending or receiving information over the internet and confirmation that no vote switching occurred during the November 2020 election.

There has been no evidence of election fraud in the county, but the board said an audit would help build confidence in the system and dispel misinformation.

Unfounded concerns about the Dominion voting systems, which serves Maricopa County, have been a commonality since the election.

“We trust the process but we take many steps always, day after day, to verify we are doing the right thing and this is just part of the process this board is known for,” Clint Hickman, District 4 supervisor, said during Wednesday’s meeting.

A first firm is set to start its audit next week, with the second firm scheduled to begin the audit the following week.

Audit work is expected to continue through February and March, according to the plan.

Hickman told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show before the vote on Wednesday the audit firms would be from Alabama and Colorado.

“It’s clear there are still questions out there in the community,” Bill Gates, District 3 supervisor, said during the meeting. “That’s why I’m thrilled the audit is focused on the machines. We’ve heard a lot of talk about the machines.”

Maricopa County released a fact sheet Tuesday detailing its election integrity throughout the November election.

That included a hand count audit of results performed by Maricopa County political parties the day after the election, which yielded a 100% match to the vote tabulation machines.

Two weeks later, the Maricopa County Elections Department and the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office performed a post-election logic and accuracy test on equipment to make sure it wasn’t compromised during the election.

Members of all three political parties and a representative from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office observed the test.

The board certified the county’s election results two days after the logic and accuracy test.

“I believe the board’s audit is needed to build confidence in the election process and to further improve election administration in our county, which is the second-largest voting jurisdiction in the United States,” Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer said in a statement.

“May this be the first step of many over the next four years to inspire confidence in the elections process.”

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