Fact 1. Maricopa County tabulation equipment is not connected to the internet.
DID YOU KNOW: Maricopa County uses an air-gapped system in its tabulation room, meaning the ballot counting equipment is never connected to the internet and is completely separated from the Maricopa County network. There are no routers connected to the tabulation system and there never have been. See attached closed network diagram of the County’s Election Management System.
Two certified Voting System Testing Laboratories tested the equipment in February 2021 and found no evidence of internet connectivity. These tests determined the tabulators were not transmitting information outside the closed air gapped system within the County tabulation center or while being delivered, returned, or used at a Vote Center.
On January 15, the County provided Windows event logs, precinct-based tabulator logs, Election Management System workstations, server logs and more in compliance with the Senate’s subpoena. The County also provide the Senate all of the Election Tabulation Equipment that was used in the November General Election. Someone with knowledge of the equipment would be able to confirm through a review of those logs or through a visual inspection of the tabulators that the equipment was not connected to the internet and had no wifi devices installed.
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Fact 2. Maricopa County political parties confirmed that the 2020 General Election ballots were counted accurately.
DID YOU KNOW: Maricopa County performs a hand count audit after every election that includes a federal or state-wide contest. The County chairman for each political party appoints representatives to select the ballots and to perform the hand count audit. In each of the three hand counts performed during 2020, the Republican, Democrat, and Libertarian appointees found a 100% match to the tabulation equipment results. For the November 2020 General Election, the hand count audit included a random and statistically significant sampling of both mail and Election Day ballots, verifying over 47,000 contests.
Arizona has a Vote Count Verification Committee established by state law made up of statisticians and elections experts that review and set the limits for variances in the hand count. If those variances are exceeded, state law requires more ballots be hand counted to ensure the accuracy of the results. Maricopa County’s hand count audit results had no variances and matched the tabulated results.
Fact 3. Before and after every election, accuracy tests are completed to verify that the system was programmed correctly and counted ballots accurately.
DID YOU KNOW: The Logic & Accuracy tests in Maricopa County were independently performed before and after every election in 2020. Professional election staff from both the County Elections Department and the Arizona Secretary of State independently performed these tests in the presence of political party observers before and after the 2020 General Election. The pre-test ensures the tabulation equipment counts the ballots accurately and the post-election test verifies no changes occurred on the equipment.
Fact 4. Sharpies were approved for all elections in 2020 and bleed through did not impact how ballots were counted.
DID YOU KNOW: Sharpies do not invalidate ballots. Leading up to the 2020 March Presidential Preference Election, the Elections Department did extensive testing on multiple different types of ink with our new ballot tabulation equipment. Sharpies were used at in-person voting locations in all five elections during 2020. Sharpies are recommended by the manufacturer because they provide the fastest-drying ink. The offset columns on ballots ensure that any bleed-through will not impact your vote. For this reason, sharpies were provided to in-person voters on Election Day. People who voted by mail could use sharpies, or other pens.
The fact that offset columns were programmed correctly and that sharpies did not impact tabulation is further evidenced by the small amount of overvotes that were cast on Maricopa County ballots. There were a total of 5,002 overvotes on the presidential contest out of 2,089,563 total ballots cast. This small percentage (.2%) is fewer than in prior Maricopa County elections that had a presidential contest on the ballot. When reviewing Election Day ballots, there were 233 overvotes out of 167,878 ballots. This represent an even smaller percentage at (.1%) of the total Election Day Ballots.
Fact 5. There are NO watermarks on Maricopa County ballots.
DID YOU KNOW: From a standard Lexmark, HP or Oki printer to a large scale printing press, the Elections Department ensures the same high level of security around ballot creation, printing, verification and counting no matter how a voter chooses to cast a ballot. Depending on the printer, some ballots are printed in color and others are printed in black and white. While there are no watermarks programmed on Maricopa County ballots or on the paper, about 9% of the printers used at Vote Centers during the 2020 General Election have a standard feature, which adds microscopic yellow dots to everything printed on that machine. Those dots do not impact tabulation.
Fact 6. As allowed by Arizona laws, voters may cast a ballot that only has federal candidates listed.
DID YOU KNOW: This is known as a “federal-only” ballot. In the 2020 General Election, 8,114 voters cast that type of ballot, of those, 3,630 are military or overseas voters who have proven citizenship but are living outside of the U.S.
It’s important to know that voters are not required to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote. In 2013, the Supreme Court decided that state law requiring proof of citizenship when registering to vote is preempted by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 for federal elections.. While it is a felony to register to vote if you are not a U.S. citizen, there are voters who do not provide proof of citizenship simply because the federal voter registration form doesn’t ask for that information. Arizona is the only state that requires documented proof of citizenship; other states only require the voter swear an oath to being a U.S. citizen.
Fact 7. Maricopa County’s secure voter check-in system prevents against the possibility of double voting.
DID YOU KNOW: Maricopa County has a secure, award-winning voter check-in system at all voting locations called the SiteBook, which prevents against the possibility of double voting. Developed in-house by Information Technology experts, it securely connects to the voter registration system using proprietary software and a virtual private network connection for enhanced security. It is not connected to the tabulation equipment at the voting locations.
When checking in at a voting location, the SiteBook does a real-time check of the voter database, ensuring the voter is eligible to vote in the election and that the voter has not yet cast a ballot. If a ballot has been issued but not returned, the SiteBook cancels the already issued ballot. If a ballot has been issued and returned for that voter, it notifies the voter of a returned ballot and will not issue the voter a new standard ballot. The ability to track in real time each ballot issued and received back by the Elections Department safeguards against double voting.
Fact 8. No vote switching occurred in Maricopa County.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors authorized a forensic audit of ballot tabulation equipment used in the 2020 elections. The February 2021 audit was the culmination of a year-long effort by Maricopa County to ensure the accuracy of the federally- and state-certified hardware and software used to count votes.
Two independent Voting System Testing Laboratories performed the multi-layered forensic audit of the tabulation equipment’s software and hardware: Pro V&V and SLI Compliance. Each company concluded, independently of each other, no modifications were found or installed, no malicious software was installed or running, and that the tabulation equipment is not connected to the internet.
In addition, Pro V&V checked that the tabulation equipment and software correctly captures, stores, consolidates, and reports the specific ballot selections, and absence of selections, for each ballot position. Using test ballots from the November General Election, Pro V&V examined the accuracy of more than 1.5 million ballot positions. The certified firm found no evidence of vote switching and concluded that the equipment tabulated and adjudicated ballots accurately.
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Fact 9. To conduct elections in 2021 and beyond, Maricopa County implemented procedures to replace tabulation equipment.
DID YOU KNOW: As a best practice, the Maricopa County Elections Department is always preparing for potential issues that could impact elections. Whether it be a power outage due to a storm, a supply chain issue with ballot paper, or a public health concern, we build back up plans to ensure elections run smoothly for our voters. As part of our tabulation contract, we built in an emergency response plan to be able to overnight new tabulation equipment if needed. We initiated that plan after the court ruling in February.
As part of our contingency planning, the Maricopa County Elections Department is using new tabulation equipment to count the ballots for local elections in throughout 2021. This plan ensured statutorily mandated local elections could still be administered and ballots would still be counted while the County developed a plan to replace tabulation equipment that was subpoenaed by the state Senate.
At the July 14, 2021 Board Meeting, the County amended its contract with Dominion in order to replace all of the tabulation equipment that the Senate subpoenaed. This amendment will ensure that the County has the necessary tabulation equipment needed to design and tabulate ballots for elections in 2022.