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The Justice Department’s civil rights division has asked the Arizona Senate president to respond to concerns that an ongoing audit of ballots in Maricopa County may lead to voter intimidation or lax security for ballots cast in the 2020 election.
Pamela S. Karlan, principal deputy assistant attorney general in the civil rights division, sent a letter to Senate president Karen Fann on Wednesday outlining the concerns, the Arizona Republic reported. The letter may have been prompted by a request to send federal monitors to oversee the audit, backed by various organizations including the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
The Division received “a number of reports suggesting that the ballots, elections systems, and election materials that are the subject of the Maricopa County audit…are not being adequately safeguarded by contractors at an insecure facility, and are at risk of being lost, stolen, altered, compromised or destroyed,” Karlan wrote.
Karlan also noted that the Arizona Senate’s main contractor overseeing the audit, Cyber Ninjas, said in its work statement that it would reach voters through phone calls and “physical canvassing” to determine the authenticity of certain ballots.
The “description of the proposed work of the audit raises concerns regarding potential intimidation of voters,” Karlan wrote. “Past experience with similar investigative efforts around the country has raised concerns that they can be directed at minority voters, which potentially can implicate the anti-intimidation prohibitions of the Voting Rights Act.”
Arizona Republicans ordered the audit of 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa following President Trump’s election loss. The state and county have already run accuracy tests and hired independent companies to check the results, all of which confirmed that the election was conducted accurately.
President Biden won Arizona by over 10,000 ballots, and won in Maricopa County by a margin of 45,000 votes.