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Arizona Democrats call on Ducey, Brnovich to investigate Senate audit

(Maricopa County Elections Department Screenshot)

PHOENIX — Arizona Democrats are calling on the state’s top Republican leaders to investigate the state Senate’s audit of Maricopa County election results.

Arizona Democratic Party Chair Raquel Terán urged Gov. Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich to take steps to end the audit, which got off to a rocky start this week.

An Arizona judge cited deep concerns about ballot secrecy on Friday, but the process will move forward after Democrats decided not to put up a $1 million bond to fund any increase in costs from the delay.

“We are calling on Governor Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich to put an end to this madness and protect our election systems from conspiracy theorists,” Terán said in a statement.

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the state’s top elections official, sent a letter to Brnovich on Friday urging the Republican to investigate the audit for potential violation of Arizona election laws.

Hours later, a judge’s orders stated that the Arizona Senate and its auditors follow state law on ballot secrecy and voter privacy as they do a hand recount of the 2.1 million ballots.

Attorney Roopali Desai said during Friday’s hearing that there’s no evidence the audit was following state law on ballot secrecy or security.

Among Desai’s concerns was the use of blue pens by people counting ballots, which emerged as the recount was set to begin Friday. State law bans black and blue pens from ballot counting rooms because those colors can be read by machines and voters are instructed to use them.

“To protect the integrity of our democracy and voters’ confidence in our election processes, it is imperative that those with custody of voting equipment and ballots abide by Arizona law and procedures adopted to ensure the security and confidentiality of those materials,” Hobbs said in the letter.

Conspiracy theories about the election have proliferated nationwide since President Joe Biden’s victory but have had particular staying power in Arizona, which flipped Democratic for just the second time in 72 years.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump who believe he was the election’s rightful winner are pinning their hopes on the Maricopa County audit to finally produce evidence of fraud.

Multiple lawsuits and audits have found no issues affecting the election outcome in Arizona.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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