The final results of the Arizona Senate-ordered independent audit of 2020 election ballots cast in Maricopa County likely won’t be released for several more weeks.
However, a potential discrepancy in totals between the audit and the county has now been noted by the Republican president of the Arizona Senate, Karen Fann, the Washington Examiner reported.
The state senator did not provide any specific details on the alleged discrepancy but noted that new paper counting machines had been brought in to tally up all of the ballots one final time to ensure that no mistakes were made by the audit contractors.
Audit “numbers do not match with Maricopa County”
That revelation from Senate President Fann came during an interview Tuesday with KTAR News radio host Mike Broomhead, where she said of the audit team, “They haven’t released a number yet, if you will, however, we do know that those numbers do not match with Maricopa County at this point.”
According to Maricopa County’s official canvass, there were 2,089,563 ballots cast in the county and in which President Joe Biden reportedly prevailed over former President Donald Trump by about 45,000 votes.
Asked about the size of the alleged discrepancy in ballot totals, Fann admitted, “I do not know. They have not told me the number.”
Verifying tally prior to issuance of final report
The Senate president went on to assert that the audit team was double- and triple-checking all of its work prior to returning all of the nearly 2.1 million ballots back over to the county, and specifically noted that “independent machines” had been brought in to count and verify the total number of ballots once again in response to the reports that the numbers didn’t match.
“That’s when we said let’s get a couple of our own independent machines in, not Dominion’s, separate ones, and do our own independent — and all we’re doing is just counting the number of ballots,” Fann said. “It’s a paper-counting machine, is all it does.”
This independent audit began on April 23 and, according to audit officials, has entered the final stages. Those officials further stated that a final report of the audit’s results should be released to the public by late July or early August.
County officials push back
The independent audit as a whole, and specifically the lead team of contractors, a Florida-based cybersecurity firm known as Cyber Ninjas, have been sharply criticized by both Democratic and Republican opponents of the effort, and Cyber Ninjas is now being blamed by some of those critics for any discrepancy that may arise, the Arizona Mirror reported.
Jack Sellers, the Republican chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, dismissed the audit team as “woefully underqualified” and expressed a lack of surprise that they had arrived at different totals than the “experienced professionals” who worked for the county. He also sharply criticized some of the reported processes and procedures used by the audit team that were different than those generally used by the county’s election workers.
A similar critique came from Republican Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, who also attributed any reported errors to the audit team, and said, “The county stands by the machine count — including the total number of ballots counted — performed by the high-priced tabulation equipment. These machines underwent a series of checks to make sure they read ovals correctly, but also to make sure they read the number of ballots correctly.”