Maricopa County should “never have approved” the election machines that were subpoenaed in the audit of the county’s 2020 election if such an audit review found the machines couldn’t be reused, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann said Tuesday.
Fann cited the county’s previous audit efforts to push against the county’s decision on Monday that election machines subpoenaed as part of a Republican-led state Senate audit will not be reused in future elections over concerns expressed by officials, including Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, that their security has been compromised.
“Maricopa County hired firms to perform audits after the 2020 election and relied on their Logic & Accuracy tests (L & A) to declare equipment safe to use and tamper free,” Fann said in the statement. “The County can now use those same L & A tests after the Senate audit. If it can’t, their L & A tests are invalid. And if their machines can’t undergo a forensic audit to verify what happened in an election, then it never should have approved those machines to be used in an election in the first place.”
Hobbs told county officials in May she would consider decertifying the subpoenaed election equipment if the county moves to reuse the equipment in future elections, saying the machines had been “compromised.”
“If the County intends to re-deploy the subpoenaed equipment, over which the County lost custody and control, for use in future Arizona elections, please notify my Office as soon as possible … so that we may properly consider decertification proceedings pursuant to A.R.S. § 16-442 as to the subpoenaed equipment,” Hobbs wrote in a letter to officials on May 20.
“The voters of Maricopa County can rest assured, the County will never use equipment that could pose a risk to free and fair elections,” county officials announced on Monday. “The County recognizes Secretary Hobbs’ authority under A.R.S. § 16-442 to certify equipment for use in Arizona’s elections. As a result, the County will not use the subpoenaed equipment in any future elections.”
Fann addressed the county’s decision on election equipment within the context that the Senate requested an audit of the county’s 2020 ballots at county facilities with a mutual auditor.
“Maricopa County refused,” she said, “loading up pallets of ballots on a truck, sending out pictures on social media and asking, ‘Where do you want them delivered?’”
“Hardly the behavior of an entity truly concerned about election security,” she added.
In April, images spread across social media showing trucks carrying election materials to the state Senate audit’s location at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix.
The Republican-led state Senate subpoenaed the county election equipment in December, and a judge ruled in February the subpoenas were “legal and enforceable,” leading to a monthslong political battle over the audit, led by private firm Cyber Ninjas, that has garnered reactions from political leaders across the country, including from the Justice Department.
President Joe Biden beat former President Donald Trump in Arizona by more than 10,000 votes in 2020. Biden edged Trump by 45,000 votes in Maricopa County, where Trump and other Republicans in the state have alleged there was fraud over denials of election officials.
The audit’s findings are expected to be released in August, according to Arizona Senate audit liaison Ken Bennett.