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What's Next After the Maricopa County Audit?

(AP Photo/Matt York)

The Maricopa County election audit is complete. According to the final draft of the audit report, 53,305 ballots were impacted by various irregularities—more than five times the state-certified margin of victory for Joe Biden. That matters little to the left and the mainstream media, who are focused on the hand-recount results showing that Biden netted a few more votes, but overall, the results were generally consistent with past manual recounts. As expected, the left ignored the results of the forensic audit, declaring (falsely) that the audit affirmed Biden’s victory in the state.

“This baseless ‘audit’ has been a massive waste of taxpayer money and a dangerous attempt by extremist Republicans to undermine our democracy,” DNC spokesperson Ryan Thomas said in a statement. He also accused the Arizona GOP of “relitigating an election they know President Joe Biden won fairly and spreading dangerous misinformation about the security of our elections as a ruse to restrict voting rights across the country.”

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Naturally, the Republican National Committee had a much different take on the audit. “We applaud Senate President Karen Fann and the Arizona State Senate for taking on the daunting task of auditing Maricopa County’s 2020 election results,” the RNC said in a statement. “The audit apparently revealed election integrity failures that should concern every American, including failed voter roll maintenance, chain-of-custody issues, and mail-in ballots from wrong addresses. Arizona recently passed key election integrity legislation which Democrats have already attacked in court, but it’s clear the work isn’t done. Maricopa County is entitled to respond to these findings, but in order to ensure continued turnout, we must urgently work to restore confidence in elections in Arizona and nationwide.”

Election integrity is crucial. Americans must have faith that our elections are fair and legitimate. Whatever your view of the audit, the recommended fixes for the irregularities uncovered ought to be addressed. Below are the medium, high, and critical findings of the final draft of the audit report and their recommended fixes.

Mail-In Ballots Voted From Prior Address (23,344 ballots)

This is a troubling problem because none of these ballots should have been sent in the first place; mail-in ballots, by law, cannot be forwarded. Yet, the number of suspect ballots from people who voted from a prior address is more than double Biden’s margin of victory. To resolve this, the audit team recommends legislation linking voter roll registration to changes in driver’s licenses or other state identification, as well as voter rolls being validated by the United States Postal Service (USPS) National Change of Address (NCOA) “at a predefined period prior to every election.”

More Ballots Returned by Voters Than Received (9,041)

How exactly did this happen? Did some voters get sent more than one ballot? Was the same ballot accidentally counted twice? Did a voter vote early and on Election Day? The audit team recommends that the state attorney general question Maricopa County about these discrepancies, and conduct an investigation if an insufficient explanation is given.

Potential Voters Who Voted in Multiple Counties (5,295)

There were a total of 10,342 votes cast by voters with the same first, middle, surname, and birth year. While it’s possible that voters may share all the same identifying information, the chances are roughly one-third of one percent. The number of potential unique people is 5,047, meaning there are potentially 5,295 fraudulent ballots cast under this condition. To resolve discrepancies like this, the audit team recommends legislation requiring a more clear schedule for cleaning up and maintaining voter rolls.

Official Results Do Not Match Who Voted (3,432)

The official tally counted 3,432 more votes than were logged in the Final Voted File. The number of people who showed up to vote should always match the number of votes cast. The audit team recommends legislation requiring “the Official Canvass to fully reconcile with the Final Voted File.”

More Duplicates Than Original Ballots (2,592)

Ballot duplication is an automated process to transcribe ballots that are damaged or unreadable by the vote-counting machines. In 2020, Maricopa had 27,869 duplicate ballots pertaining to the presidential election, but the audit team counted 29,557—2,592 more. The audit team recommends legislation requiring regular audits of elections within a year of the election and that the duplicate ballot process be reviewed as part of it.

In-Person Voters Who Had Moved Out of Maricopa County (2,382) and Voters Who Moved Out of State During the 29-Day Period Proceeding Election (2,081)

The audit team determined that “2,382 ballots were cast with voter IDs for individuals who moved outside of Maricopa County” outside of the 29-day window in which they’d still be eligible to vote in the county. There were also 2,081 voters who moved out of state within that window who were legally limited to casting a presidential-only ballot, but voting machines had no ability to read those ballots, and no way to verify whether such voters undervoted the other races on their ballots.

To resolve such issues, the audit team recommends legislation linking voter roll registration to changes in driver’s licenses or other state identification, as well as voter rolls being validated by the United States Postal Service (USPS) National Change of Address (NCOA) system “at a predefined period prior to every election.” They, too, recommend voter rolls be validated against the NCOA at least 90 days before an election. They also suggest the legislature consider whether a change in address should suspend Permanent Early Voting (PEVL) enrollment.

Votes Counted in Excess of Voters Who Voted (2,592)

According to the audit team’s analysis, multiple precincts counted votes in excess of the number of people who voted. The audit team recommends that Maricopa County election officials examine all records and resolve such discrepancies prior to election certification.

Recommended: Ignore the MSM: Here’s What the 2020 Maricopa County Election Audit Actually Says

What’s Next?

“It’s no secret that we’ve seen confidence erode in our election system in recent years. It’s not a problem exclusive to Arizona, and it didn’t start in the 2020 election cycle,” Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said on Twitter. “There are some who simply do not trust election results. This is a problem, and it’s one that needs to be addressed. Elections are key to our democracy, and it should be a priority for everyone to listen to these concerns, and work to rebuild the trust of every voter.”

Ducey acknowledged that there’s nothing to be done to change the results of the election. “There will be no decertification of the 2020 election— the audit does not call for one, and even if it had, there is no lawful way to decertify.” He did say that when the next session of the legislature begins, the policy recommendations from the audit must be addressed.

It’s clear that each of the above audit recommendations must be considered in order to restore confidence in our elections and make them more secure and less susceptible to fraud.