AUDIT USA is asking the Appeals Court to order the Maricopa Board of Supervisors to follow the law and release electronic copies of the 2.1 million ballot images from the November 2020 General Election and all elections thereafter.

September 14, 2022 - TUCSON, AZ: AUDIT Elections USA, a nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest organization based in Arizona, filed an appeal in the State of Arizona Court of Appeals on March 31, 2022, against the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors for their refusal to make ballot images available to the public. AUDIT USA is asking the Appeals Court to order the Maricopa Board of Supervisors to follow the law and release electronic copies of the 2.1 million ballot images from the November 2020 General Election and all elections thereafter.

Just filed, Sept 12, 2022; Plaintiff’s final reply and summarizing the case in Arizona Court of Appeals Division one, Court Case # 1 CA-CV 22-0254 AUDIT-USA v. MARICOPA COUNTY. Link to AUDIT’s reply to Maricopa County Answering Brief:

I’m hopeful we will win this case because the facts are with us and transparency in our elections is vital for democracy,” said John Brakey, co-founder and director of AUDIT USA. “It’s important that the public be able to see the ballot images from every election to increase voters’ trust in election results.”

Ballot images are a picture of every ballot cast in an election. The images are completely anonymous because ballots are anonymous once they leave a voter’s hands, so the images do not reveal the identity of voters. The images are an invaluable tool for verifying election results and can be sorted by candidate, by precinct, by overvotes or undervotes, and in a variety of other ways. While Maricopa County is trying to prevent public access to ballot images, other places such as San Francisco, one of the largest voting jurisdictions in the United States, posts all its ballot images online for the public to be able to view.

Audit USA won an important legal victory in 2016 with its lawsuit to require all Arizona counties to retain ballot images for 22 months after every election. As a result of AUDIT’s court case, all Arizona counties now preserve ballot images. Following this court decision, the Arizona legislature passed a law, § 16-625, to protect the original ballot image files from unauthorized access. While this law was a good step to protect the original images, Maricopa County has wrongly chosen to interpret it to mean that copies of the original ballot files cannot be given to the public, something that the legislature did not intend to happen.

UDIT’S lawsuit to release ballot images to the public is a “de novo” (first-of-a-kind) case because the Arizona courts have never been asked before to interpret Arizona statute § 16-625. This statute, passed in early 2017, is only 47 words long and is the center of the controversy between Maricopa County and AUDIT USA. The statute reads:

The officer in charge of elections shall ensure that electronic data from and electronic or digital images of ballots are protected from physical and electronic access, including unauthorized copying or transfer, and that all security measures are at least as protective as those prescribed for paper ballots.”

Audit USA believes the language in this statute makes it clear that the “officer in charge of elections” is authorized to permit copies of ballot images to the public as long as the original ballot images are protected.

Unfortunately, the judge in the lower court case declined to even hear the evidence,” said Bill Risner, AUDIT USA’s Arizona attorney. “We were forced to go to the Court of Appeals, but we believe the Appeals Court will agree with the plain language of the statute. Anyone with a computer knows that you can give a copy of a file to someone without endangering the original data.”

Releasing anonymous ballot images from the 2020 election and all future elections will go a long way towards increasing public confidence and reducing cynicism about Arizona’s elections,” Brakey said. “We are simply seeking elections that are transparent, trackable, and publicly verified for our democracy to thrive.”



John R. Brakey
Director, AUDIT USA
(520) 339-2696

Bill Risner
Attorney, AUDIT USA
(520) 622 7494

AUDIT USAs court appeal and all other documents in this case can be found at this links:

01 Plaintiff AUDIT USA Appeal Opening Brief - July 20, 2022:

02 Defendant Maricopa County Answering Brief Aug.23.2022:

03 Plaintiff AUDIT USA Reply to Maricopa County Answering Brief filed Sept 12, 2022:

04 Arizona Court of Appeals Division one Court Case AUDIT-USA v. MARICOPA COUNTY online: 1 CA-CV 22-0254

05 Maricopa Superior Court Case file online:

This short video of 10 minutes explains how election officials in Maryland used digital ballot images to show who won a state assembly race where there was a one-vote margin reported by the initial tabulation system produce an easily understood evidence trail that losing sides and voters can accept. Link to video:

Once the ballot image is made, the ES&S digital scanner reads the image and creates a single Cast Vote Record, (CVR). Then the CVR data is imported into the Cast Vote Records database / Spreadsheet. See the image below that shows the process and chain of custody.

A personal note from John Brakey - We at AUDIT USA believe and teach that elections must be transparent, trackable, and publicly verified with a simple ballot storage library system in order to prove to candidates and the public that the images they just added up were real.

What is amazing is that well over 90% of the country election systems are now digital and the infrastructure to do this is in place, and it would cost little to nothing to implement a transparent, trackable, and publicly verified system.

In 2016, Democrats doubted the results of the presidential election. In the 2020 Election, REPUBLICANS had election doubts on STEROIDS. Clearly, in our country we have passed the Rubicon, and there's no going back to a system telling us to trust without real verified audits.

We must not continue to lurch from election to election without public confidence in election results. I have often said that it is more important for losers to believe they have lost than it is for the winners to believe they have won. Doubts will continue unless we implement solutions to help get our nation functioning on an even keel.

Confidence in election results is good for all political parties, for voters, candidates, election officials, and good for our country.

Wouldn't it be nice if, after an election, people would believe the results and the winner would have a “honeymoon” for at least a few months before the politics of division starts up. It used to be that way!

Hope, Peace and democracy,
John Brakey


AUDIT USA is a 501(c)3 Tax Exempt non-profit organization. Tax ID #83-1524220. AUDIT USA. P.O. Box 26361, Tucson, Arizona 85726-6361