PHOENIX — The election audit happening in Arizona has sparked plenty of questions about what happens to our ballots after we cast them.
So let's verify.
Question 1: How long are ballots for federal elections actually held onto?
According to US law, a state must keep them for 22 months from the date of any general, special, or primary election for a federal office.
Arizona state law, specifically Title 16 under Article Ten, takes it a step further.
It says after an election the ballots are deposited "in a secure facility managed by the county treasurer."
The law goes on to say the ballots must remain "unopened and unaltered for twenty-four months for elections for a federal office or for six months for all other elections."
After that, those ballots are destroyed.
Question 2: How are election ballots disposed of?
"After the 24-month retention period, the county contracts with an outside firm to securely destroy the records," Maricopa County Elections Department spokeswoman Megan Gilbertson explained.
She wouldn't go into any more detail than that.
We can verify that under Arizona state law, ballots for federal elections are held by the county treasurer for 24 months, and then in Maricopa County, they are securely destroyed by an outside firm.
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