Arizona is yet again in the news, and for all the wrong reasons. Late last week, Arizona Senate Republicans started a so-called election audit. And right off the bat, there were serious problems.
Local journalists reported on the troubling lack of security of the election equipment and ballots at the Veteran's Memorial Coliseum. Reports showed people walking into the Coliseum where millions of Maricopa County ballots are being warehoused with little questions asked. Irregularities in elections procedures were noted including volunteer counters being given blue and black pens on the auditing floor. This audit impacts millions of Maricopa County voters and yet media were denied access and officials refuse to provide any information.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs called on Attorney General Brnovich to investigate potential violations of Arizona law. But AG Brnovich refused to investigate these claims – potentially putting the security of the ballots of Maricopa County voters at serious risk and setting a dangerous precedent for future elections.
But let's recall how we got here:
Leading up to the November 2020 election, politicians spread misinformation about the elections and engaged in fearmongering that put our democracy at serious risk. That all came to a culmination on January 6, 2021 when the world watched as agitators stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to undo the election results.
As our nation grappled with the aftermath, Arizona was dealing with its own agitators calling into question the integrity of our electoral process despite all facts pointing to a fair election. Moreover, Arizona like many states, saw record voter turnout—a major milestone for our state and the nation. Two separate audits and multiple lawsuits showed that election law and procedure were followed and indeed, nothing nefarious happened with Arizona ballots.
Yet, nearly six months after the election, Arizona Senate Republicans voted to proceed with its own separate audit. Since then, Arizona voters have been kept in the dark about who will do the counting, what it will cost, and who will pay for the process.
Just this week, "Cyber Ninjas," the firm contracted in part with taxpayer funds to do the audit, asked a judge to close the public out of a court hearing to determine whether the counting should continue. This is a disturbing lack of transparency and complete failure by these elected officials to be accountable to the people of this state.
To be clear, there is no need for this audit. The ACLU of Arizona stands against any efforts to undermine our democracy. This audit is fueled by false allegations of voter fraud, disproven conspiracies, and is nothing more than a massive waste of time and taxpayer resources. For voters in Maricopa County, and across all of Arizona, the actions of these elected officials will mark a period of deep mistrust and chaos.
Instead of making our democracy better for all, these officials are tearing our democracy apart at the seams by destroying a sacred cornerstone of the American experience. Elected officials should not undermine our democracy to appease a vocal minority who refuse to accept the results of clean and fair elections. Arizonans deserve better