Maricopa County to audit machines used in November election

Maricopa County to audit machines used in November election

PHOENIX (AP) — The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors plans to vote to hire two firms to audit election equipment and software used in the November election that has been the focus of unsubstantiated claims of fraud from Republicans who question President Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona.

Board Chairman Jack Sellers defended the accuracy of the vote count in the state’s most populous county but said Tuesday the board wants to do the audit to try to show doubters that the election was free and fair.

“While I am confident in our staff and our equipment, not all our residents are,” Sellers said in a statement. “This is a problem.”

Sellers said some people may never be satisfied, but it is better to err on the side of transparency to show the public that the election results were untainted. The board plans to vote to conduct the audit at its Wednesday meeting.

The five-member board dominated by Republicans has previously said it wanted to do a full forensic audit once lawsuits filed by backers of former President Donald Trump concluded. Federal and state courts in Arizona rejected eight lawsuits challenging the election results.

The GOP-controlled state Senate is seeking to do its own audit and issued subpoenas to the county in mid-December seeking access to copies of ballots, software used in vote tabulation machines and the machines themselves, among other items. The board fought that request in court, saying the Senate sought private voter information and access to ballots and secure voting machines but is currently negotiating with attorneys for the Senate to try to resolve the impasse.

A spokesman for Senate Republicans didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the board’s plan.

Documents posted with the board agenda show the audit is designed as “a multi-layered review that dives into the tabulation equipment’s software and hardware.” It will analyze hacking vulnerability, verify that no malicious software was installed, test that the machines were not sending or receiving information over the internet and confirm that no vote switching occurred. The board also wants to do a third “logic and accuracy” test to confirm the tabulation equipment operates correctly.

The work would be done by two firms working independently of each other.

“It is my belief these audits will prove our machines were not vulnerable to hacking or vote switching,” Sellers said.

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