Chucri: Your right to vote is paramount

Posted 11/24/20

In recent days, constituents of District 2, candidates for office, state lawmakers and congressmen have asked questions and made statements regarding Maricopa County’s voting system, hand counts, recounts and legal challenges.

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Chucri: Your right to vote is paramount

Posted

In recent days, constituents of District 2, candidates for office, state lawmakers and congressmen have asked questions and made statements regarding Maricopa County’s voting system, hand counts, recounts and legal challenges.

First and foremost, I want to reiterate what an honor it is to represent the people in my district, and I have taken all of your phone and email messages of concern to heart in ensuring to leave no stone unturned in getting answers to your questions about this election.

One’s right to vote is paramount and one that I will always work hard to protect. I hope this open letter provides background and clarification to some of these questions and statements.

Maricopa County’s tabulation equipment (Dominion Democracy Suite 5.5B) went through extensive testing and received federally accredited Election Assistance Commission certification. The county completed a robust procurement process to find a vote tabulation system, over a three-month period, with open competition and demonstrations. All public records demonstrate that.

To assert otherwise is not only untruthful, but irresponsible. At my personal request, Dominion has clarified that Maricopa County does not utilize the exact same software package as the machines that were in question two weeks ago in Michigan.

Prior to each election, Maricopa County performs a statutorily required logic and accuracy (L&A) test to confirm that votes are attributed to the correct candidates and ballot measures in the election management system and that each candidate and ballot measure receives the accurate number of votes. This test was overseen by at least two election staff members (of different political parties). It was also open to observation by representatives of the political parties, candidates, the press and the public.

This L&A test was on Oct. 6. Public notice was published in a county-wide newspaper, on the county website, and in a media advisory sent inviting the press and the public. All three chairs for the county political parties were notified of the test in September and invited via a calendar invite and through multiple conversations with staff. Also, the county performs a separate L&A on 100% of all Election Day and central-count tabulators.

The Maricopa County Elections Department conducted a hand count of Election Day ballots at 2% of the vote centers and of over 5,000 early ballots as required by Arizona law, and it yielded a 100% match to the results produced by the tabulation equipment.

• All early ballots included in the hand count draw are selected by political party observers during tabulation.

• On Nov. 4, all three political party chairs randomly drew the batches containing the 5,000 early ballots and 2% of voting locations included in the hand count audit, with hand count audit boards appointed by all three political party chairs and not including Elections Department staff. The hand count reviewed over 47,000 total votes from both the early ballots and Election Day ballots voted at the vote centers.

There are triggers in Arizona law to require another hand count or even a recount in the case of a close contest. None of those thresholds set in state law have been met during the 2020 election.

The Board of Supervisors cannot alone require a second audit above this 2% threshold unless there was a difference of a designated margin. And if that difference did exist, any audit above that threshold would require participation of the political parties on the ballot.

All accuracy tests, before and after, prove Maricopa County held a fair election. Moreover, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors does not have statutory authority to order a recount, if we did so, it would be breaking the law.

Further, these hand-count audits were conducted after the March Presidential Preference Election, the August Primary Election, and the November General Election. For all three elections, Maricopa County used the Dominion tabulation equipment. The political party appointees for all three hand-counts found zero variances between hand-count results and the Dominion tabulation equipment.

After all ballots are counted, the Elections Department completes a post-election L&A on its equipment. This test ensures no changes were made to any software throughout the election and this is the final step to verify the election results.

The Board and the Maricopa County Election Department also invited the Secretary of State to perform a separate independent L&A test. These tests were also at 100% and completed on Wednesday, Nov. 18, with the Republican, Democrat and Libertarian parties participating and signing. The Attorney General’s Office also had a representative that was in attendance and observed the accuracy tests.

Finally, legal challenges have either been withdrawn by the plaintiffs themselves after seeing the evidence, or dismissed by the courts. A motion for an injunction to stop the certification of the election was dismissed.

The Board of Supervisors was required by state law to canvass the election by Monday Nov. 23, 2020 at the latest. We voted to certify the canvass Friday, Nov. 20 at 3:30 p.m.

For this 2020 general election, all voting locations opened on time on Election Day, the department checked in approximately 15,000 voters per hour. We saw just a few long lines this year and more than 120 of our sites had peak wait times of no more than a few minutes.

Voting centers provided physical distancing, frequent sanitation and masks and gloves for voters who needed it, and were open from Oct. 7 to Nov. 3. More than 200,000 voters chose to vote early in-person and an additional 167,000 (not including provisional ballots) voters participated on Election Day. In addition, an historic 2.16 million voters requested a ballot in the mail in this election.

I want to thank all of our election workers, volunteers and observers.

We could not have done this without you.

Republican Steve Chucri represents District 2 on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

voting, election

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