Concern Grows Among Election Observers Over Maricopa County Audit

May 19, 2021

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.

Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. The audit, ordered by the Arizona Senate, has the U.S. Department of Justice saying it is concerned about ballot security and potential voter intimidation arising from the unprecedented private recount of the 2020 presidential election results.
Credit AP Photo/Matt York, Pool

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.