Justice Department raises concerns with audit

By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror

The U.S. Department of Justice is asking Senate President Karen Fann to explain what steps she’s taking to make sure the election audit she ordered doesn’t violate federal laws prohibiting voter intimidation and requiring ballots be preserved.

In a letter to Fann on Wednesday, Pamela Karlan, the principal deputy assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said the department had two major concerns with the audit. 

First, Karlan said federal law requires state and local election officials to safeguard and preserve election records. She expressed concern that Maricopa County election officials are no longer in control of ballots, election systems and other materials. 

If the Senate designates someone else to serve as a custodian for election records, which must be maintained for 22 months, the Civil Rights Act of 1960 requires “administrative procedures be in place giving election officers ultimate management authority over the retention and security of those election records, including the right to physically access” them, Karlan wrote. 

“We have a concern that Maricopa County election records, which are required by federal law to be retained and preserved, are no longer under the ultimate control of elections officials, are not being adequately safeguarded by contractors, and are at risk of damage or loss,” Karlan said in her letter.

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