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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.

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.

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.

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.

Fortunately, the Senate seems to recognize these concerns. Following the ruling by Judge Thomason, Maricopa County prepared to comply with the subpoena by packing and loading onto a truck all 2.1 million ballots. The Senate realized that it had no plans for securely handling that volume of material. The parties now appear to be in an odd stand-off, with the County ready to deliver the ballots and the Senate unable to accept them.

Bob Worsley

Bob Worsley

The Senate should not accept delivery of the ballots unless and until it can ensure compliance with the existing Arizona rules for handling and auditing ballots. These rules require, for example, that audits be done by members of two different political parties while a live camera feed is running. It also requires procedures ensuring chain of custody and an access log. The Senate must share with the public all procedures it plans to follow to ensure ballot security, and must ensure public access to the audit to the fullest extent possible. Finally, to ensure the perception of an unbiased audit, the Senate should not associate itself with discredited and biased auditors. Anyone who has publicly perpetuated unfounded claims of fraud in the 2020 election must be disqualified as biased.

Forgoing these safeguards will undermine the public’s trust in the audit’s outcome and the election—supposedly the very goal of this audit. It will also needlessly put the privacy of the 2.1 million Maricopa residents who voted in 2020 at risk.

You might disagree with me, but as our former Senator Barry Goldwater used to say, we can disagree without being disagreeable. Though Joe Biden may not have been your candidate of choice, the election is over. Any audit must follow existing Arizona requirements, be impartial, and protect voters’ privacy. If the Senate cannot abide by those requirements, it should drop its subpoena and move on from the 2020 election.

Bob Worsley is a former Senator who represented Legislative District 13.



  1. Mr. Worsley offers stellar advice. It is so sad that, in order to put this matter to rest for any skeptics who would be influenced by unambiguous audit results, our State and County leaders could not have collaborated on a bullet proof approach, done it once, and jointly announced the outcome. If that had revealed procedural or technical improvements to the current voting system, that would be a bonus. If it had revealed problems with already accomplished audits, that would be instructive. All indications so far are that any error, if discovered at this point, would be minor. But better is better. We are being poorly served as voters and tax payers by the way this has transpired so far. The skeptics remain unsatisfied and the cynics will never be satisfied, no matter what we do or how we do it. Please, please, follow Mr. Worsley’s wise advice.

  2. “Cross-partisan experts”

    No one should claim that this election was properly audited.

    1. Did one political party flood the poll worker process, taking control of polling places and stuff the ballot box? Has that analysis been done?

    2. Did one political party take advantage of an outlying county’s lack of requirement for voter ID and send political operatives to vote repeatedly?

    3. Did one political party forge tens of thousands of early ballot requests?

    4. How many dead, duplicative and non-resident voters voted in the Arizona election?

    5. In 2006, Senator Karen Johnson passed a partial audit bill, creating a hand count to check machine counts by pulling a sample of voting districts and candidates. To be a true audit, that process has to be redesigned for the mail-in ballot and voting center era.

    So, no, no proof exists that this election was secure.

    We don’t have answers to these questions.

    We demand audits of $500,000 charter schools and we don’t audit a $23 trillion election?

  3. An audit is not what happened in that county. The friends of the Dominon Machines came in and assured that they were working properly but did not look at the ballots. The article claims that multiple audits have been done and that demonstrable false.

  4. Free and fair elections are hanging by a thread in the US. You need this audit by the Senate to find the truth of what happened on Nov 3rd. The concerns this article present are trivial. If Trump had won the election, and the same irregularities occurred against the Democrats, zero chance you see this same article being written. Any morsel of wrong doing by the GOP or Trump is picked up immediately by the press, it’s shameful how biased and uneven the coverage is, watching from Canada here. The US media is extremely corrupt.

  5. What a ruse. A self audit is a laugh – NO audit that is controlled by the group who is in question is legitimate. The ballots must be left in the voting center and the center MUST open its doors for a completed audit. Offering the ballots to be moved is the ruse – no one has such a facility that would not be brought into question by the auditee should an unfavorable be produced. Senate get your auditors together – they do not have to be certified by anyone – just document the audit results beyond question. The public will pay to see this done if need be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Masterofknowledge

    No audit needed to be done. Equipment and sample audits done show no bias. Oddly one could argue sour grapes by Republicans, and if anything Dominion was rigged to favor Trump, but I say in jest. Look at the stats, a review of 10 key states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) finds that Dominion systems were used in 351 of 731 counties. Trump won 283 of those counties, 81 percent of the total. He won 79 percent of the counties that didn’t use Dominion systems.

  7. Horrible article , incredible bias, filled with emotion and opinions. At least try to pretend to be unbiased. Shameful this is what “journalism” has become.
    Instead of doing the audits for the health of the country, you shame the voters who feel wronged.

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