On the evening of June 25, the hand-counting and examination of paper ballots for the Maricopa County forensic election audit in Arizona were completed.

The audit team announced this on Twitter, saying, “Audit Update: Paper examination and counting are finished today. Thank you to all the amazing volunteers who make this audit possible.”

Much of the country is eagerly awaiting the full results of this audit, given the serious controversy and alleged irregularities that took place during the 2020 presidential election. In fact, lawmakers from at least 13 different states have already visited Maricopa County to inspect the audit, and there are rumors that similar processes might begin in states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Given the consequences for the security, honesty and viability of American democracy that this audit has, it is arguably the most important story in the country right now.

So, now that the hand recount and paper ballot inspection is complete, what happens next?

What Happens Next

Maricopa County has seen 2.1 million ballots counted, but much more work still remains to be done. The Arizona Senate still says that it likely won’t be hearing anything about the results of the audit until the end of July, at the very earliest.

The audit also included capturing certain information from voting machines that were used in Maricopa County.

The result of that led Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s Secretary of State, to advise Maricopa County to replace its voting machines because the ones used were determined to be full of all kinds of cybersecurity holes.

The audit team also still has high-resolution photocopies of all paper ballots, and the cybersecurity firm Cyber Ninjas will still have to examine these images for further irregularities. Furthermore, the IT firm CyFIR will also be conducting further security reviews of voting machine software used during the election.

Maricopa County officials are still withholding voting machine passwords and routers from the audit team even though the Arizona Senate has issued subpoenas for this information. This question will likely have to be litigated.

Still, speaking to OANN’s Natalie Harp, Ken Bennet, the Senate liaison for the audit, estimates that things should all be finished by late July or early August. The public will likely know the results by then.