Maricopa County Officials’ Response to Results of Arizona Senate’s Independent 2020 Ballot Audit Leaves More Questions Than Answers

 

Maricopa County officials have issued a 93-page response to the findings of the independent Maricopa County ballot audit of the 2020 presidential election, which was ordered by the Arizona Senate. Presented during a meeting of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on January 5, the officials claimed there were fewer than 100 questionable ballots out of the 2.1 million cast.

Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward watched a portion of the meeting and expressed skepticism to The Arizona Sun Times, “The part that I’ve seen so far was a group of related good ole boys attempting to convince people that they ran a perfect election,” she said. “They want Americans to believe them over what we saw with our own eyes. Arizonans were totally justified in demanding an audit of the 2020 election — and we should actually audit everything so we can restore voter confidence that our elections have integrity.”

The report was prepared by Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, who oversees Maricopa County Elections, in conjunction with the Maricopa County Supervisors. He recently created a PAC to back Republicans who deny there was any fraud in the 2020 election.

The report claims that much of the signs of voter fraud were really mistakes by ballot auditor Cyber Ninjas. It asserts that thousands of ballots flagged as improperly cast were really the result of the company’s sloppiness matching thousands of names of voters in the registration database to names on the ballots. The report said Cyber Ninjas made this mistake with 5,512 voters who moved within Maricopa County, 2,801 voters who moved out of Arizona, 631 who moved out of Maricopa County but remained within Arizona, and about 1,500 who moved out of state in the 29 days preceding the election.

Some of the report’s findings in this area were incomplete. For example, in analyzing the 5,295 voters Cyber Ninjas found who voted in more than one county, the report only discusses 1,815 of them. It said 1,810 were misidentified by Cyber Ninjas and five were turned over to the Arizona attorney general for investigation.

The report admits that 2,782 voters had two unique voting registration numbers. However, without providing any evidence, asserts that those voters did not vote twice in the election.

In response to Cyber Ninjas finding that 74,000 more early ballots were returned than sent out, the report claims that all 74,000 were all from voters who must have mailed their ballot back a second time due to a mistake like forgetting to sign the envelope.

This contradicts the findings of audit contractor Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai of EchoMail, whose audit results found that the opposite took place — a huge number of ballots were accepted with questionable signatures. The report’s response to sloppy signatures asserted, “The accuracy and completeness of Maricopa County’s signature verification process was confirmed in court.”

The report blew off EchoMail’s findings of 17,126 duplicate early ballot images, saying it was irrelevant since only the envelopes had duplicate photos, not the actual ballots.

The report said there was no evidence of internet connectivity. However, Ben Cotton, the founder of CyFIR who analyzed election security for the audit, found that the voting machines were used to access the internet thousands of times.

The report claimed that CyFIR made false allegations about county staff intentionally deleting election files and logs. An election worker was caught on video at servers at the same time hundreds of thousands of election files disappeared. After the audit came out revealing this, Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates testified to Congress that the files were merely archived, not deleted. He said they were not turned over to the auditors because the Senate had not requested them. The report merely reiterates this claim. It is unclear whether the files in question have since been recovered and turned over to the Senate and auditors.

The report admitted that server logs were deleted, but claimed that it was “standard, automated actions from the EMS application meant to manage space on the server.” It did not explain why there would be automated processes like that taking place immediately after a highly contested election.

In regards to employees seen on video deleting files, the report explained that it was “employees … doing the routine work of the day.” The report offered no explanation for why employees would be deleting election files.

The report said evidence of anonymous users accessing the servers was merely “typical behavior for a Microsoft Server,” and it’s “common for a workstation name to be left blank.”

The report refuted the claim that a dual-boot hard drive could connect to the internet by explaining that the election files from other states found on it must have been put on it some other way previously.

In response to the finding that County used the same password for multiple users to access the servers, the report pointed to other ways the County has handled security better.

The report admitted the County did not turn over several of the items requested, including rejected provisional affidavits, rejected early ballot affidavits, and routers. It also admitted the County made no attempt to get the ICP Administrator Credentials and Hardware Tokens requested. There are other excuses listed for not turning other items over, such as claiming they were not relevant.

The report admitted that the County did not give Cyber Ninjas access to the voter registration database as requested, downplaying a security breach, “The unauthorized access to the website was not a breach of the voter registration system.”

The county didn’t address the claims of high bleed-through rates on ballots, instead merely declaring the paper was good quality. They included no explanation why some ballots had microscopic yellow dots on them and others didn’t, other than saying some printers added them and some didn’t.

State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), who recently served on an election panel about voter fraud at Turning Point USA’s FreedomFest conference in Phoenix, is concerned that the county officials are hiding something. He told The Sun Times, “Maricopa County’s repeated and worsening ineptitude running elections over the last half decade has greatly undermined voter confidence and done severe damage to our state. The Board of Supervisors’ clear disdain for transparency and accountability when it comes to elections is disgusting and begs the question, what else are they trying to conceal from the voters.”

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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]

 

 

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