As Kari Lake’s lawsuit returns to the trial court for consideration of alleged violations of Maricopa County’s signature verification rules in the Arizona 2022 general election, a retired FBI counterintelligence agent with longtime expertise in signature analysis says that matching ballot signatures with little time to review is “almost illegal.”
If election workers have a limited amount of time to review signatures on early ballots to ensure they match with voters’ files, it’s “almost illegal to have it work that way,” said retired FBI Special Agent Wayne A. Barnes, adding, “almost pathetic.”
We the People AZ Alliance (WPAA) filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County on April 25 for refusing to fulfill their public records request for ballot envelopes containing signatures from the 2022 election. The Verified Complaint for Statutory Special Action to Secure Access to Public Records From Defendants stated that the public records request was submitted on April 5 and denied by the county on April 10.
WPAA tweeted about the rejection on Wednesday, “A.R.S. 16-168(F) is not a catch to hide information from the public. Signatures are filed on deeds, court documents and licenses and made public. Ballot affidavit envelopes are not by design part of a voter record, we are committed to bringing the truth to light.”
Shelby Busch, chairman of the We the People AZ Alliance (WTPAZ), released a statement Tuesday, picking apart and rejecting a proposal introduced by Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, which presented ideas on improving elections in Arizona.
“I encourage Maricopa County voters to immediately reject this plan and tell Mr. Richer that we deserve secure elections not convenient elections,” said Busch.
The Arizona Senate-ordered independent Maricopa County ballot audit of the 2020 presidential election revealed questionable findings, including a Maricopa County Elections Department (MCED) employee captured on video deleting, or what officials stated later was merely archiving, hundreds of thousands of files from an election server the day before the server was to be turned over to the audit. Last weekend, investigative journalist Lara Logan and cyber expert Matt Van Bibber stated at an election security forum hosted by We the People AZ Alliance that the employee has been identified, along with a couple of his co-workers who allowed him access into the election server room.
Van Bibber, who discovered the information through viewing videos and matching what he saw against server room logs, said the employee was Brian Ramirez, a database administrator at MCED. Van Bibber said Ramirez did not have the required credentials to enter the server room where the computer was, so two other employees gave him access with their card keys. One was Kristi Passarelli, assistant elections director, and the other was an employee named Charles Cooley, who appears to be an Administrative/Operations Specialist.