(CNN)The Justice Department on Wednesday issued a warning in the Republican-run Arizona Senate-ordered audit of the 2020 election ballots, saying the audit could be in violation of federal voting and civil rights laws.
The warning comes amid scrutiny over the audit of nearly 2.1 million ballots from Arizona’s largest county, Maricopa, where election officials previously found no evidence of widespread voter fraud or other issues during the state’s 2020 presidential election. The review — which perpetuates the falsehood that the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump — has been decried by both Maricopa County’s Board of Supervisors, which is majority Republican, and the Arizona secretary of state, who is a Democrat. The results of the election have long been certified by the secretary of state.
Pamela Karlan, principal deputy assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, warned Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, in a letter obtained by CNN that turning over election materials to audit contractor Cyber Ninjas — a Sarasota, Florida audit contractor hired by the GOP-controlled Arizona Senate — could be a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1960. Karlan also wrote in the letter that there are “at least issues of potential non-compliance with federal laws enforced by the Department.”
The first, according to Karlan, is regarding reports that suggest the ballots, elections systems, and election materials in the Maricopa County audit are “no longer under the ultimate control of state and local election officials and are not being adequately safeguarded by contractors at an insecure facility, and are at risk of being lost, stolen, altered, compromised or destroyed.”
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