A report on Maricopa County’s 2020 election, ordered by Arizona state Senate Republicans and delivered to them on Friday, confirmed the state’s certified election results: Arizona was won by Vice President Joe Biden.
Mr. Biden’s 45,000-vote margin was slightly larger than Maricopa County found during its canvass last year, according to the contractors who led the review.
Contractors, on the other hand, included in their report a number of complaints about Maricopa County officials, who denied many of their accusations. During the hearing, the county defended its signature verification and curing process, as well as allegations about voters who had moved out of the county, people who may have voted in multiple counties, and the suggestion that voters returned more ballots than were received. The county also stated that it had kept all necessary data.
The contentious review process began in April, when the Arizona Senate subpoenaed voting equipment and the county’s 2.1 million ballots. Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county and one of the most populous counties in the country, is a Republican stronghold, but President Biden won the county in 2020, the first Democrat to do so since 1948.
Throughout the months-long investigation, election officials from both political parties, as well as Maricopa County Republicans, all criticized the effort. Cyber Ninjas, a cybersecurity firm with no prior experience with official election audits, led the review. The CEO of the company made a post about election conspiracy theories, but vowed to remain neutral and transparent throughout the review.
Republican Senate President Karen Fann has stated for months that the review is about improving the election process in the future, not about overturning the 2020 election. Before the presentation, Fann stated, “This has never been about overturning an election.” “It’s never been about anything but election integrity.”
The Senate’s review cost taxpayers over $400,000 but was largely funded by private organizations. In July, the review team revealed which organizations were funding the process. At the time, the team had received approximately $5.7 million, the majority of which came from organizations whose leaders had spread unsubstantiated theories about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. According to Ben Ginsberg, a longtime Republican election lawyer, the review was designed to try to prove fraud, and those conducting the review had a high burden of proof.
“This was Donald Trump’s best chance to prove his cases of election rigging and fraud, and they failed,” Ginsberg told reporters ahead of the Senate hearing on Friday.
Despite the fact that the review confirmed Mr. Biden’s victory, contractors said they discovered some issues with election administration and processes. Fann wrote a letter to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who is running for the U.S. Senate, outlining findings she found troubling. This included the signature verification process, voter roll upkeep, cybersecurity procedures, and evidence preservation. According to Fann, the Senate is working on legislation to address these concerns.
“As the Senate moves forward, there are several items in the reports that merit your office’s attention,” Fann said. “As a result, I am forwarding the reports for your office’s consideration and, if appropriate, further investigation as part of your ongoing oversight of these issues.”
Election experts criticized some of Cyber Ninjas’ methodology, which was detailed in the draft report, ahead of the presentation. According to the report, the firm attempted to match information about voters using a commercial public database. According to Barry Burden, Director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, such databases typically rely on the National Change of Address database, which can be out of date and incomplete, and isn’t designed for that purpose.
“Cyber Ninjas attempted to validate voter addresses using a commercial firm. That is not the intention of those databases “Burden stated. “It’s just really problematic to use that kind of database as the foundation for some of the questions and allegations in the report.”