Verified Voting joined with experts in election law and administration, national security, and voting rights to write a letter to Arizona State Senate President Fann, requesting her to stop restricting the public’s access to the audit and grant observation to experts from nonpartisan American organizations and educational institutions across the country.
The Honorable Karen Fann
President of the Arizona State Senate
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Dear President Fann,
As experts in election administration, election law, national security, and voting rights, we share a desire for accurate and trustworthy democratic elections. Collectively, we have decades of election administration, election auditing, and election observation experience in the United States and abroad.
We are very concerned by the recent decision to restrict public access to the Arizona Senate’s audit of Maricopa County’s November 2020 general election, which includes races for federal, state legislative and local office. Arizona has a strong history of ensuring transparency in the election process, and the current audit observer restrictions violate this tradition, which is critical to the confidence that Arizonans and Americans have in our elections.
This audit, which will include recounting ballots cast for U.S. President, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, is a matter of concern to all Americans. The Arizona Senate must not prohibit access to election administration and voting equipment experts from nonpartisan American organizations that support free, fair and secure elections.
Election observation and transparency is a core tenet of American elections. While observers from political parties seek to ensure that election administration does not disadvantage their campaigns, nonpartisan observers are interested in promoting integrity, transparency, and efficiency in the electoral process. Observers focus on checking compliance with election administration regulations and procedures.
With the audit of 2.1 million ballots only days away, we are also troubled by the lack of public information about the audit procedures. These procedures, such as the method of hand-counting and the forms used to collect, report, and aggregate vote totals, will impact the accuracy and integrity of the audit.
We request that you stop restricting the public’s access to the audit and grant observation access to election administration and voting machine experts from nonpartisan American organizations and educational institutions across the country. We also urge the Arizona Senate to stop efforts that could undermine confidence in our elections.
Chief Executive Officer
The Carter Center
Director, Governance Program
Director of the Fiscal and Budget Policy Project
R Street Institute
Amy B. Chan
Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission
Meryl Justin Chertoff
Director, Sandra Day O’Connor Project on the State of the Judiciary (2006-2009)
Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
Karen Hobert Flynn
Common Cause and the Common Cause Education Fund
Brennan Center for Justice
RSM Election Solutions
Former Senior Cybersecurity Advisor, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency
Non-Resident Fellow, Stanford Internet Observatory
Chief Executive Officer
National Vote at Home Institute
The Elections Group
Senior Advisor, Elections Team
Democracy Fund Voice
Former Director of Elections, Cook County, Illinois
Partner, The Elections Group
Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School
Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice
Former Connecticut Secretary of the State
Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation Harvard Kennedy School
Ronald L. Rivest
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Resident Senior Fellow, Cybersecurity and Emerging Threats
R Street Institute
Poorvi L. Vora
Professor of Computer Science
The George Washington University
Dan S. Wallach
Professor, Departments of Computer Science and Electrical & Computer Engineering
Rice Scholar, Baker Institute for Public Policy
Please note: Individual affiliations are for identification purposes only and do not signify organizational endorsement.
 Arizona’s election officials are required to permit observation of logic and accuracy testing of election equipment before and after the election, polling places, ballot processing, ballot tabulation, and post-election audits. Also important, “[a]ppointed political party observers need not be qualified electors in the precinct or county of observation.” Elections Procedures Manual ch. 8, § III; ch. 4, § II(C) (emphasis added); and statutory provisions cited therein.