Arizona’s vote count continues to be under scrutiny. Fearless and tireless GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward has kept the pressure on for getting a full audit of the Arizona ballots and machines. She now has considerable support in the Arizona Senate.
For over a month there have been charges of machine malfunctions or outright fraud in public hearings held on November 30. The current standoff is between the Senate and the Maricopa Board of Supervisors (four out of five of which are Republicans). First, the Board rejected calls for an audit. Arizona’s senators then reminded them they did not have the authority to make that call. When the Board continued its obstructionism, and the Senate issued a subpoena for the voting machines. According to GOP majority whip Sonny Borrelli, the Board continued to drag its feet until forced into court. On January 13, the judge, Timothy Thomason—as has been common across the country—did not want to rule in a political case. On January 13, he refused to order the County to hand over the election data as per a legislative subpoena but instead wanted the parties to “sit down and work this out.” He said he’d give both sides a week to reach a deal before again taking up the Senate’s request to enforce the subpoenas. Included in the subpoenas are both hand count audits and machine audits.
According to Borrelli, the Board wanted to use ProV&V, an Election Assistance Commission (EAC) approved firm to handle the audit. (The EAC claims it does not certify any firms). But ProV&V only confirms that the machines work, not that they are syncing up to the paper ballots. Senators claim they do not include a lengthy forensic assessment of changed votes as is needed. According to some, ProV&V is not qualified for the deep analysis required. Instead, the Senate wanted to name its own outside firm, including but not limited to Digital Discover, Allied Security Operations, Sullivan and Strickler, or Cyberninjas. It is not known at present what the as-yet-unnamed firm’s services would cost, and certainly, Democrats and the Board would balk at spending anything above the minimum.
Borrelli was convinced the audit would proceed with one of the firms the Senate chose. Once started, the audit will take about ten days and include paper ballots, machines, and tabulation systems for Maricopa County. This would leave unchallenged, so far, the claim that the machines added 35,000 votes to Joe Biden at the outset in Pima County. “Right now,” said Borrelli, “we’re just concerned with Maricopa County. Currently, Joe Biden’s margin of victory in all of Arizona was roughly 10,500 votes. Maricopa is by far the largest county in the state, with 4.4 million people. Theoretically, it contains far more than the number needed for Donald Trump to erase Biden’s supposed victory margin.
In its stall campaign, the Board of Supervisors has suggested that there were intergovernmental “separation of powers” issues that prohibited them from handing over the machines for inspection. Yet to date, no one has yet specified exactly what infringements would occur. Arizona’s Attorney General rendered a decision in December that the Board had to comply with the legislature’s subpoenas.
Borrelli was adamant that the Senate would not be deterred, and that if an arrangement weren’t reached, the Senate would vote to enforce the subpoenas and, if there still wasn’t compliance, to charge the Board members with contempt. Under such a threat, or out of deference to Thomason, the Board moved from rejecting all calls for an audit to agreeing to a selective audit, to agreeing to a full audit and only by EAC. The Senate seems unlikely to accept this offer and the possibility of concurrent audits by different groups looms. One wonders what the reaction would be if both audits found that, in fact, machines were flawed and/or programmed to add votes to Joe Biden and subtract them from Donald Trump? Or, conversely, if both audits revealed that Joe Biden actually won Arizona?
Larry Schweikart is the co-author with Michael Allen of the New York Times #1 bestseller, A Patriot’s History of the United States, author of Reagan: The American President, and founder of the Wild World of History curriculum website for US and World History courses for grades 9-12, whose curricula includes teacher guides, student workbooks, tests and answer keys, maps and charts, and video lessons for every unit (www.wildworldofhistory.com).