UPDATE, Jul. 17, 2021: After this commentary was published, Maricopa County officials responded to the Senate’s election audit hearing in a series of tweets. This commentary has been updated with those tweets.
UPDATE, Jul. 23, 2021: The Associated Press, relying on a series of tweets from Maricopa County, some of which were added to this commentary on Saturday, argued that the gap between the number of mail-in ballots mailed out and the number received was neither unexpected nor unusual.
Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan relied during his sworn testimony on two early voting reports from the county, EV32 and EV33 files. “The EV32 file includes all requests that voters make for early ballots, either by mail or in person, up to 11 days before Election Day,” former Maricopa County elections official Tammy Patrick told the AP. “The EV33 file includes returned early ballots up to the Monday before Election Day.
“That means there is a 10-day period between the final day of each report, during which thousands of mail-in votes are submitted and thousands of additional voters go to voting centers, request early ballots in person and submit them. Furthermore, the files don’t include any early ballots that came in on Election Day.”
It should further be noted that the AP is relying in its argument upon statements from a former Maricopa County elections official and statements made on social media by Maricopa County elections officials, who resisted the audit initially, have demonstrably failed in many ways to cooperate with the audit process, have been accused by elected state officials of stonewalling the audit efforts still today, and would be considered responsible for any improprieties uncovered by the audit. While some of the county’s arguments appear reasonable, it should be remembered the county officials are defending their own performance and cannot therefore be considered impartial or unbiased sources of information in this matter.
Additionally, speaking to Western Journal Editor-in-Chief George Upper, Republican Arizona Senate President Karen Fann said of the 74,000-ballot issue: “Two and two is not adding up to four. We’re not saying that there is any intentional fraud … what they’re saying is that the numbers are not adding up. Now, is that because there is information that Maricopa County is withholding from us so that we cannot figure out exactly where these ballots are supposed to come from? Or is there a logical explanation? Or are they purposefully withholding information because they don’t want us to know what the real answer is? … It’s apparent that they do not want this audit to continue and they are not cooperating in any way whatsoever.”
Asked whether Maricopa County officials have been lying to Arizonans, Fann provided three examples of alleged dishonesty on their part, summing up her answer as, “So, yes.”
Watch the entire interview with Sen. Fann here.
Republican Arizona state senators shared the findings of the Maricopa County presidential election audit during a hearing Thursday.
Following the 2020 presidential election, amid then-President Donald Trump’s claims the election was “stolen” due to “voter fraud,” the state senators decided to conduct the audit in order to validate the integrity of the county’s election results.
Among the findings revealed during Thursday’s hearing was the fact there was no record of 74,000 ballots received and included in 2020’s election results ever being mailed out.
In the presidential election, Joe Biden won Arizona by a margin of 10,457 votes, according to NBC News.
NOW I get why Maricopa County and Biden admin fought tooth and nail to prevent an independent audit. 74,000 absentee ballot mail-in records missing, 25K duplicates, voter rolls a mess, bleed throughs, tens of thousands of ballots on demand, admin passwords issues. A disaster.
— Kyle Becker (@kylenabecker) July 15, 2021
“NOW I get why Maricopa County and Biden admin fought tooth and nail to prevent an independent audit,” journalist Kyle Becker tweeted following the revelations.
“74,000 absentee ballot mail-in records missing, 25K duplicates, voter rolls a mess, bleed throughs, tens of thousands of ballots on demand, admin passwords issues. A disaster.”
Canvassing is necessary. It is the one way to know if the problems are real problems or just clerical mistakes. There are ~ 74,000 ballots that came back but there is no indication that they were ever sent out by the county! From #FOIA shows logs don’t match!
— Dr. Kelli Ward 🇺🇸 (@kelliwardaz) July 15, 2021
“Canvassing is necessary. It is the one way to know if the problems are real problems or just clerical mistakes,” Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward tweeted.
“There are ~ 74,000 ballots that came back but there is no indication that they were ever sent out by the county! From #FOIA shows logs don’t match!”
A number of additional inconsistencies regarding ballots and documents related to ballots were found during the audit as well.
For example, former Arizona Secretary of State and Arizona Senate liaison Ken Bennett claimed the audit’s examination of “duplicate ballots” — ballots typically produced when a ballot becomes damaged or is improperly marked — found some troubling irregularities.
“It has created great difficulty to try to match up a duplicated ballot to its duplicate,” Bennett said, noting some serial numbers were completely missing from duplicated ballots.
Other serial numbers were printed over “black square alignment marks,” making them difficult to read.
A number of additional inconsistencies were found, reportedly including ink bleeds in incorrect places, ballots marked and filed incorrectly and irregularities regarding voter rolls.
After the hearing, Maricopa County officials responded on Twitter to some of the issues raised during the Arizona Senate’s hearing on the election audit.
More fact checking from today’s Senate briefing on #AZAudit
— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) July 16, 2021
NEW: AZ Senate leadership hired unqualified auditors with a lack of election knowledge & a wealth of political bias. The claims these contractors advanced in yesterday’s briefing to senators enabling & enriching them were not based in fact. We refute more claims below 🧵
— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) July 16, 2021
It should be noted that the tweets don’t actually respond to the claim made by the auditors, who did not claim that 74,000 more ballots were received than were sent. The claim was that 74,000 ballots were received that had no record of having been sent. The claim isn’t even that the ballots weren’t requested; it is, rather, that no record of the request seems to be available in the records provided by Maricopa County.
If you’re wondering why Maricopa County responded to a claim that wasn’t made rather than the claim that was, well, you’re not alone. — Ed. note.
Watch the full Senate hearing on the Arizona audit here.
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