Cochise County Recorder Questions Maricopa County’s Signature Verification Process

October 2, 2021

By Corinne Murdock |

Cochise County Recorder David Stevens disagrees with the assurances from Maricopa County election officials that the recently-released audit was entirely inaccurate. Stevens made this assessment on KFYI’s James T. Harris radio show. He honed in on the purported issues presented by Maricopa County’s signature verification process.

“We have standards in this field. I was in this field for 30 years, they go back decades that dictate what are good practices – and they [Maricopa] show none of them,” said Stevens.

Stevens explained that his county’s signature verification process was very different from Maricopa County’s. That caused him to question the strength of Maricopa County’s results.

“They’re verifying the scanned copy of the signature with what’s in their file. What I do in my county is we actually have the envelope in hand, looking at the signature on screen, because there are indicators in the signature that help to determine if it’s a valid signature or not. But you saw the scans if you watched the presentation on Friday, [of] how low quality of the scan was. And those indicators are very small. Like when you stop – when you’re writing your name and you stop, and that one letter you start up again – that kind of stuff disappears on a scan, and it makes it harder if not impossible to verify.”

AZ Free News reached out to Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer about these concerns. He didn’t respond by press time.

Stevens said that he was also astounded by the other problems discovered by auditors – like the fact that countless people used the same log-in credentials.

However, Stevens said that the more troublesome aspect of the audit concerned the election officials themselves. He cited the recent resignation of Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri as an example, who quit following the audio leak of a phone call in which he claimed that his county knew their audit and the Dominion voting machines weren’t trustworthy.

“Why did the elected officials obstruct this audit?” asked Stevens. “We’re elected to serve the public, not to serve ourselves. You see what happens when you get caught on a phone call you don’t know what’s being recorded, you don’t know what comes out. They were afraid for themselves.”

Maricopa County officials disagree with the audit because of who was put in charge: Cyber Ninjas. Prior to the Arizona Senate’s contract, the technology security company had never conducted any election-related work, including audits. This is something that Richer and others have reiterated: their reluctance to cooperate comes from their distrust of Cyber Ninjas’ intentions and competence.

Stevens said that he couldn’t see what good reasons the county could have for the issues presented in the audit.

He added that officials shouldn’t be deleting files, referencing a claim made during the Senate audit hearing last week. Maricopa County responded that they hadn’t deleted the files: they’d archived them elsewhere, something which the Senate hadn’t subpoenaed.

When asked, Stevens said there likely wouldn’t be any remedies to improve elections before the 2022 midterms.

“I think the best solution going forward is a random, constant audit going forward,” said Stevens.

Maricopa County created a webpage to address various concerns and claims made about their election processes.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich promised to have his Election Integrity Unit (EIU) investigate some of the findings in the Senate audit. He issued a follow-up request for the supporting documents to the audit earlier this week.

“The Arizona Senate’s report that was released on Friday raises some serious questions regarding the 2020 election,” said Brnovich. “Arizonans can be assured our office will conduct a thorough review of the information we receive.”

Read the latest updates from the EIU here.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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