Senate must do audit right or not at all

In this November 6, 2020, photo, Arizona elections officials continue to count ballots inside the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office in Phoenix. The Arizona Senate got affirmation from a court that its subpoena for Maricopa County’s 2.1 million ballots and election equipment for an audit of the 2020 election is valid./Arizona Capitol Times

Opinion: By Bob Worsley, former senator, Legislative District 13./Arizona Capitol Times

Cross-partisan experts agree that the 2020 election was among the most secure and successful in modern American history. Arizona was no exception—historic numbers of Arizona voters exercised their fundamental right to vote. Since 1991, Arizona voters have been voting by mail, and mail in voting now accounts for more than 80% of all the votes.  No one has credibly claimed fraud in those decades of mail-in voting. In a year that has been difficult on so many fronts, Arizonans—no matter their political party—should be congratulating our hard-working election officials on a job well done and celebrating our democracy.

Bob Worlsey

Instead, in an effort to undermine trust in the election’s outcome, many continue to repeat the falsehood that the presidential election was fraudulent. Disappointingly, some of my former colleagues in the Arizona Senate have fed this narrative and have subpoenaed 2.1 million Maricopa County ballots and election equipment for yet another audit. Superior Court Judge Timothy J. Thomason recently upheld the legal validity—if not the wisdom—of those subpoenas.

There is no reason for the Senate to spend taxpayer money to engage in another audit. Multiple audits have already shown that there were no irregularities in Maricopa County. And multiple lawsuits were unable to provide any evidence of fraud. Arizona’s own Republican Attorney General and Governor also recognized that Arizona’s 2020 elections were legitimate, as did the Republicans on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

However, if the Senate insists on continuing down this path and proceeds to conduct an additional audit or recount, it is essential that they do so in a way that protects the voters’ privacy and the integrity and security of the subpoenaed ballots and election equipment, and follows Arizona’s existing requirements surrounding audits and recounts. The Senate must also select an independent, reputable, unbiased organization to administer the audit. This is the only way to keep the public’s trust, ensure the integrity of the audit, and protect the privacy of Maricopa County voters.

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