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Concern Grows Among Election Observers Over Maricopa County Audit

AP Photo/Matt York, Pool

Observers and elected officials continue to raise concerns about the Arizona Senate Republican audit of Maricopa County’s 2020 election results. It comes as a growing chorus of bipartisan critics frame the effort as a sham. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Representatives from the Brennan Center for Justice and the States United Democracy Center, among others, say they worry about a host of issues from ballot and equipment security to the undisclosed sources of money funding the effort.

They were part of a media call Wednesday that also included Arizona election observers and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. She says the audit is setting a bad precedent and threatening a cornerstone of democracy.

"What we’re seeing happen is not an audit. It is a fundraising stunt. We know that there are efforts to bring this circus to other counties across the country. So yes, I do have concerns that it will expand," she says. 

Hobbs, a Democrat, says options to challenge the audit in court are limited. She and others continue to assert that the Florida-based company leading the effort, Cyber Ninjas, lacks competence and experience in election audits.

Several Maricopa County officials have also been highly critical of the audit and have resisted cooperating with Senate Republicans. Senate President Karen Fann, however, says it isn’t an attempt to overturn the election but to improve the voting process.

The company expects the audit to be completed by the end of June.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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