Maricopa County retrieves ballots, other election items from Senate audit

Jul 29, 2021, 11:14 AM | Updated: 11:29 am
(Screenshot/Maricopa County Election Depart Webcam)...
(Screenshot/Maricopa County Election Depart Webcam)
(Screenshot/Maricopa County Election Depart Webcam)

PHOENIX – At least one chapter of the lengthy Arizona Senate election audit ended Thursday, when Maricopa County Elections workers began retrieval of about 2.1 million ballots and other election items.

“Everything should be back to the county by the end of the day,” Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday, shortly after the transfer began.

“We’re getting all the equipment back and all the ballots today,” he said. “If we need to, we will go into tomorrow.”

The county said the ballots would be stored in a secure vault at the elections department.

Some subpoenaed material had been previously returned.

Court orders set the audit authorized by Republican Senate President Karen Fann into action April 23. She and Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen used the Senate’s subpoena power to take control of the county’s voting machines and ballots after then-President Donald Trump claimed without evidence that the 2020 election was rigged against him in Arizona and other battleground states.

Two independent contractors approved by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors already had each audited the election and found no problems. Those contractors are certified by the National Institute for Standards and Technology and the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission.

Fann’s chosen lead vendor, Florida-based Cyber Ninjas, had no previous election audit experience.

“I’ll remind the Senate that we invited them over to participate in our assessment of the tabulation equipment in early February and [House] Speaker Rusty Bowers was there and I believe he had a very positive experience, but nobody from the Senate showed up,” Richer, a Republican who was elected into office in November, said.

On Monday, Fann and Petersen issued another subpoena, demanding that the county turn over the envelopes from all mail-in ballots or images of them, network routers and traffic logs, detailed voter registration records with change histories, and records related security breaches of election systems.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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