PHOENIX - Officials with Maricopa County released results of their forensic audit of vote tabulation equipment, following months of unfounded speculation and rumors regarding electoral irregularities in the November 2020 presidential election.
According to a statement released on Feb. 23, the Maricopa County Elections Department contracted with two companies, named Pro V&V and SLI Compliance, to conduct an audit of the county's tabulation system and equipment. The audits had three objectives, which were:
- To determine if installed software was certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the Arizona Secretary of State
- To determine if any malicious malware or hardware was installed on the system or equipment
- To determine if tabulators were connected to the internet, and
- Perform a Logic and Accuracy Test to determine if vote switching could occur
2 certified outside firms contracted to conduct audit
Both Pro V&V and SLI Compliance, according to the statement, were chosen because they are independent of Maricopa County, and certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Pro V&V was tasked with conducting a field audit, while SLI Compliance was tasked with conducting a forensic audit.
According to a summary of the audit results, both Pro V&V and SLI Compliance found that the tabulation system and equipment were using certified software, with no malicious hardware and software identified, and that the equipment in question was not connected to the internet.
In addition, Pro V&V's field audit found that the machines were producing accurate numbers, based on a Logic and Accuracy Test that was conducted. This test was not conducted by SLI Compliance because it was not included in its scope of work.
"The combination of these findings, along with the pre and post Logic and Accuracy Tests performed by the Arizona Secretary of State, the post-election hand count performed by the political parties, and the many security protocols implemented by the Elections Department confirm that Maricopa County Elections Department's configuration and setup of the tabulation equipment and election management system provided an accurate coutning of ballots and reporting of election results," read a portion of the statement.
Audit approved in January amid ongoing election dispute
Voting ballot in Maricopa County (file)
According to Maricopa County officials, the County's Board of Supervisors approved a "multi-layered forensic audit" of the tabulation equipment on Jan. 27, 2021.
Officials say Pro V&V conducted its elections equipment audit from Feb. 2 to 5, and on Feb. 15. SLI Compliance, meanwhile, conducted its elections equipment audit from Feb. 8 to 12.
In the aftermath of the Nov. 2020 election, which saw President Joe Biden win Arizona, a number of election-related lawsuits have been filed in Arizona.
According to a December 2020 report by the Associated Press, there were two legal challenges that focused on the use of Sharpie markers to complete ballots that were dismissed by a judge. A lawsuit filed by ex-President Donald Trump's campaign, which sought inspection of ballots, was dismissed after the campaign’s lawyer acknowledged the small number of ballots at issue wouldn’t have changed the outcome.
A judge then dismissed a lawsuit in which the Arizona Republican Party tried to determine whether voting machines had been hacked. Then, a separate challenge by Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward was tossed out by a judge who concluded the Republican leader failed to prove fraud, and that the evidence presented at trial wouldn’t reverse Trump’s defeat.
A federal judge also dismissed a lawsuit by conservative lawyer Sidney Powell, who alleged widespread election fraud through the manipulation of voting equipment.
In her ruling, Judge Diane Humetewa said the lawsuit’s allegations "are sorely wanting of relevant or reliable evidence."
Another lawsuit filed by a person named Staci Burk, which repeated some of Powell’s allegations word-for-word, was dismissed by a judge because Burk was not a registered voter at the time she filed her lawsuit, meaning she lacked standing to contest the election. In addition, Burk reportedly filed her lawsuit after a five-day period for filing such an action had passed.
No evidence of voter fraud or election fraud has emerged during the election season in Arizona, despite claims by certain parties.
Maricopa County Elections Equipment Audit
SLI Compliance Audit Report - https://www.maricopa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/66843/Maricopa-County-DVS-DS-55B-Forensic-Audit-Report-10
Pro V&V Audit Report - https://www.maricopa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/66844/Post-Audit-Report