PHOENIX — Surrounding a nondescript county building just south of downtown Phoenix there is a wrought iron fence.
An ordinary fence that can be found anywhere, but two years ago this one didn’t exist. The building it is protecting is the beating heart of elections in Maricopa County.
Two years ago, in November, it was the site of an impromptu protest.
Hundreds of supporters of former President Trump gathered in the parking lot demanding answers to questions that mostly turned out to be conspiracy theories.
Despite a lack of evidence of widespread fraud, many Arizonans now question the integrity of the election process.
The Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center is where all of the county’s elections are prepared, and nearly all the ballots will be counted. It's a tremendous responsibility, as election officials are working to make the process even more transparent in the hopes of restoring some of the lost confidence in the process.
Tuesday, they conducted a pre-election test known as logic and accuracy. It's a test intended to ensure that the ballot counting machines are working properly and have not been tampered with. Officials from the Arizona Secretary of State participate in the test.
Bringing over 1,600 pre-marked ballots with them, the same types that will be used in the August primary.
Megan Gilbertson, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Elections Department, told ABC15 that the results from the Secretary of State’s pre-marked ballots are only known to them.
Clad in orange vests for easy identification, Secretary of State volunteers test every type of machine that will be used. Each machine tested will have a paper trail, a receipt of not just the totals, but the marks from every ballot counted. When the counting is done, the results from the machines are compared to results in a sealed envelope. If there is even a one vote discrepancy the test cannot be considered complete until it is resolved.
While members of the public can view the process from behind glass, elected members of Arizona’s official political parties are in the counting room and play a crucial role. When the test is done, they must sign off on the results.
Election officials from the Secretary of State do logic and accuracy tests in all 15 of Arizona’s counties. The test is done twice, once before an election and once after. The ultimate goal of the test is to build confidence in the process. The security fence outside of where the work is being done stands as a reminder that they have their work cut out for them.