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MARICOPA COUNTY, AZ – The Arizona State Senate has announced the report on the results of their much-anticipated – and long-overdue – audit of the Maricopa County 2020 election results will finally be released on September 24.
The report on the audit – which took the form of a hand recount of the approximately 2.1 million votes cast by Maricopa County residents and a forensic investigation of voting machines used in the 2020 election – will be presented in up to three volumes at 1 p.m. in the Senate chamber during a public hearing, reports say.
In addition, on Tuesday the Arizona Supreme Court rejected efforts by the Republican-led State Senate to keep the records of the contractors conducting the audit secret, ruling that they must be made public. Originally, the Arizona Court of Appeals had ruled on August 19 in favor of a watchdog group – American Oversight – which had sued to have the records detailing how the audit and recount is being conducted publicly released.
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Republicans, who fought against the release of the records and appealed the decision to the state’s Supreme Court – where they were once again lost – argued that legislative immunity applied to the records and that they were not in the public domain.
Arizona’s presidential election was won in the November 2020 for Joe Biden over former President Donald Trump by a margin of roughly 10,000 votes, with the main deciding factor in the state being the number of votes Biden received in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous.
However, Trump has repeatedly insisted that the election was “stolen” from him due to widespread voter fraud and tampering, allegations that have not yet been proven in the over nine months since the election took place.
The Arizona State Senate – lead by Republican Senate President Karen Fann – stated that an audit was needed in order to restore the public’s trust and confidence in the election process; to that end, they hired four teams in March to conduct an audit of Maricopa County’s 2020 election results. However, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (MCBOS) has repeatedly denied that there were any issues relating to fraud in the county’s 2020 election, and stated that previous internal audits produced no discrepancies or irregularities.
Calling the audit a “political stunt,” the Republican-led MCBOS has been repeatedly uncooperative with auditors, leading to the state Attorney General threatening legal action against them.
Initially, the audit began in late April and was scheduled to last only weeks; however, the audit has ended up lasting months longer than anticipated, and has been criticized by some experts for utilizing inexperienced contractors and unorthodox and potentially unreliable methods; Fann, however, noted that the audit was made up of the combined efforts of several companies who possess election auditing experience.