In partnership with the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, I’ve directed Recorder’s Office staff to provide the two independent auditors everything needed to complete a thorough review of the tabulation software and hardware used in the 2020 elections.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard a number of mischaracterizations of the audit. I’m writing today to hopefully provide some clarity.
First, these two firms are certified experts in tabulation equipment. Firms certified to evaluate tabulation equipment must be certified by both the National Institute for Standards and Technology and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
Because the Department of Homeland Security designated tabulation equipment as “critical election infrastructure,” the organizations tasked with testing and certifying election equipment are held to the highest standards.
These standards are so rigorous, that there are currently only two companies in the country that have met the criteria — the two conducting our audit.
Second, the claim that these two firms are staffed by Dominion is inaccurate, and also not permitted by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Both companies have confirmed that they do not hire staff that have worked for any tabulation manufacturer.
Third, some have said the county’s audit provides only a cursory review of the tabulation equipment. That is not true. Using their own distinct methodologies and tools, these two firms are (among other things):
• Examining the tabulation software and hardware to make sure it is exactly the same as it was when it was originally federally certified.
When it underwent that original certification it was thoroughly examined by federal experts to make sure it did not allow for any back door, vote manipulation, external access or any other hackable workaround. If the hardware and software matches the hardware and software as it was originally certified, then it is still the same reliable and secure system that initially won federal and state approval.
• Ensuring that Maricopa County’s ballot tabulation center is air gapped — meaning it is, and has been, closed to servers outside the room and is not, and has not been, connected to the internet.
• Confirming that the tabulation equipment did not send or receive information over the internet during the November General Election.
Additionally, one of the two firms is testing if the equipment could have been manipulated to allow for vote switching.
These tests address the most prevalent concern that I’ve heard from voters over the past four weeks, and also the concern voiced to me by members of the Arizona Senate — that the tabulation hardware and software used in Maricopa County is unreliable.
Each of the two auditing firms is spending at least a week in Arizona and is working under the observation of representatives from the state Legislature, a security expert from the Recorder’s Office, and a security expert from the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. The Board of Supervisors also invited representatives from the Attorney General’s Office and the Governor’s Office.
All of the testing is being livestreamed and the proceedings may be viewed at our website. Once the firms complete their tests, the county will share the results with the public and make any changes necessary to ensure the security of elections in Maricopa County and rebuild voter confidence in this important institution.
Republican Stephen Richer is Maricopa County Recorder.