A to Z

Maricopa County ballots delivered for Senate election audit

By: - April 22, 2021 2:24 pm

Two Maricopa County Elections Department employees push a pallet stacked with boxes of ballots to a nearby truck to be delivered to the Veterans Memorial Coliseum Thursday morning. Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror

The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office delivered 2.1 million ballots to the Madhouse on McDowell Thursday morning for the Arizona Senate’s audit of the 2020 election which is scheduled to begin soon. 

Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which sits at the intersection of 19th Avenue and McDowell Road, opened in 1965 and served as the home of the Phoenix Suns from 1968 until 1992. It is now primarily used to host concerts as part of the Arizona State Fair, though it has also been the site of political rallies in recent years, including a Donald Trump rally in February 2020.

Now the stadium will be the host of the Senate’s audit of Maricopa County’s election, which has been fraught with difficulties and controversy as the legislature has sparred with the county Board of Supervisors over who has the legal authority over the ballots, tabulation machines, other election equipment and where the audit will take place for months now. 

A livestream of the stadium shows workers have unloaded the pallets of ballots onto the floor of the stadium near where volunteers will soon begin a hand count of the ballots. 

election audit ballots
Former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (center, wearing white) signs for the receipt of a pallet of boxes containing ballots cast in Maricopa County in November 2020. Screenshot via AzAudit.org

The audit is being conducted by Florida-based firm Cyber Ninjas. Its owner, Doug Logan, authored a document for Republican U.S. senators who sought to overturn the 2020 election that claimed, among other things, that software inside Dominion Voting Systems machines flipped votes away from Donald Trump and that the company had ties to Hugo Chavez, a thoroughly debunked claim.  

After the election, Logan used his since-deleted Twitter account to spread conspiracy theories, baseless allegations and false claims of election fraud and vote rigging. He is an expert witness for a man who is suing Antrim County, Mich., alleging that election fraud was intentionally conducted through that county’s tabulation machines, which are from Dominion.

Maricopa County also uses Dominion machines to count its ballots.

As the Senate is preparing for the audit to begin Friday, it is still unclear how reporters will observe the audit. Senate President Karen Fann said Wednesday that the audit team was revising a plan that would only allow journalists in if they signed up to work as audit volunteers and agreed to follow rules prohibiting them from taking photographs, using recording devices or even taking notes with pen and paper during their six-hour shifts.

The original plan called for journalists to commit to 30 hours of volunteering.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Jeremy Duda
Jeremy Duda

Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Jeremy Duda previously served as the Mirror's associate Editor. Prior to joining the Arizona Mirror, he worked at the Arizona Capitol Times, where he spent eight years covering the Governor's Office and two years as editor of the Yellow Sheet Report. Before that, he wrote for the Hobbs News-Sun of Hobbs, NM, and the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Jeremy is also the author of the history book “If This Be Treason: the American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.”