The Arizona Senate is considering expanding its audit of Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 election to include all contests, not just for president and U.S. Senate.
Audit organizers now say they want to test county voting machines by examining results from all of the races.
“We are looking with other companies to do a machine tabulation of all the races on the ballot to compare with the Dominion tabulation back in November,” said Ken Bennett, who is serving as the Senate’s audit liaison.
“We will be looking at the images of all 2.1 million ballots.”
The examination would not involve a physical recount like the one underway at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Rather, it would be a separate audit using digital images of each ballot, Bennett said.
The effort would, however, require a reexamination of the nearly 500,000 ballots that auditors have gone through since the audit began April 23.
Bennett said the Senate is considering hiring a California company to conduct the digital tabulation, but he declined to name it. He said the imaging would be done “in the time of the rest of the counting.”
Auditors said in April the recount of ballots would be completed by May 14, when its lease on the coliseum expired. But with less than 24% of the ballots counted as the audit takes a week’s break for high school graduations, auditors have indicated the recount of the races for president and senator could last into July.
Republican state senators launched the audit after questioning the validity of the general election results in Maricopa County, where President Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump by 45,109 votes.
Senate President Karen Fann says the results will not be used to attempt to overturn the election results but instead will be used to ensure election integrity in future races.
Who is paying for it? Audit could cost millions
The Senate will not provide an accounting of audit expenses, but election experts say the costs could run into the millions.
Several sites established by GOP operatives are soliciting money for the audit, Those include Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne and One American News Network personality Christina Bobb.
It’s unclear how donations are being used or which companies are benefiting from them.
The Senate has so far used $150,000 of taxpayer money. It hired Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based company, to lead the audit. Its CEO is Doug Logan, a Trump supporter who has espoused election conspiracies.
Two other companies are doing hands-on work. Pennsylvania-based Wake Technology Inc. is in charge of the hand recount, while Virginia-based CyFIR is analyzing voting machines.
Senate Republicans in January issued subpoenas to the county requesting the 2.1 million ballots cast in the county’s general election. They also demanded all of the county’s voting machines, voter rolls, routers and tabulators used in the 2020 election.
‘Bias and incompetence’: Voting machine company won’t provide key data
The county leases its voting machines from Dominion Voting Systems, which has been falsely accused by Trump and supporters of rigging its machines to steer votes to Biden.
The company said in a statement on Thursday that it provides information to auditors who have been accredited by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to certify voting machines, but will not provide information, including passwords, to unaccredited auditors.
The company did not specifically say whether it had provided passwords to the two private firms the county hired to do a comprehensive audit of the county’s voting machines in February.
Dominion accused Cyber Ninjas of demonstrating “bias and incompetence” in the way it has conducted the audit.
Dominion has sued Powell and Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, each for $1.3 billion. It has also sued Trump supporter and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell for $1.3 billion and Fox News for $1.6 billion.
The company has accused them in lawsuits of spreading false and damaging claims about election fraud as part of a disinformation campaign.
Republic reporter Jen Fifield contributed to this article.
Robert Anglen investigates consumer issues for The Republic. If you’re the victim of fraud, waste or abuse, reach him at email@example.com or 602-444-8694. Follow him on Twitter @robertanglen.
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Source: USA Today – Breaking News