By Corinne Murdock
On Wednesday, the Maricopa County Elections Department issued over 90 pages of a counter report to the Arizona Senate’s audit conducted by Cyber Ninjas, as well as nearly 30 exhibits to support their response. The county dismissed all claims by Cyber Ninjas and affiliated auditors: CyFIR, EchoMail, and the Senate’s audit liaisons.
According to their breakdown of the auditors’ claims, 22 were misleading, 41 were inaccurate, and 13 were false.
Misleading claims related to audit interferences, missing subpoena items, subpoenaed equipment not yet provided, voter registration system audit access, tally results for the presidential and senate races (counted as three misleading claims), machine counts, real-time provisional ballots, internet connections to the REWEB and REGIS, dual boot system discovery, failure to follow basic cybersecurity, management of software, patch, and credentials, lack of baseline for host and network activity, duplicate early ballot images, more envelopes processed and submitted than identified by EchoMail, daily duplicate numbers, ballots stamped in signature region or behind envelope triangle, and two different voter IDs on record.
Inaccurate claims related to no record of certain voters in the commercial database, commingling of damaged and original ballots, purging of EMS database, deletion of election files or user logs, corrupted or missing ballot images, no preservation of EMS logs, election data found from other states, no signatures, scribbles, and bad signature rates, and increase in envelopes but decrease in signature rejections.
False claims related to bleed-through rates on papers, improper paper being used, ballot printers out of calibration, questionable ballots, early votes not counted for in the EV33 file, batch discrepancies, inaccurate identification of Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) ballots, anonymous logins to operating system logs, internet connections to election equipment and EMS, and early ballot envelope image canvass requirements. The report noted further that no allegations about the election survived court scrutiny.
Officials from the county elections department presenting on the report were Director of In-Person Voting and Tabulation Scott Jarrett, Assistant Director of Early Voting Celia Nabor, Senior Director of Voter Registration Janine Petty, and Information Technology Director Nate Young.
During the four and a half hour presentation hosted by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, elections officials explained their contention with 53,000 questionable ballots pointed out by the Senate’s audit report. They walked through the 90-plus page report at length. Their report claimed they found 37 potentially fraudulent votes total, and 50 ballots that were potentially counted twice. In all, the county reported finding less than 100 potentially questionable ballots out of the 2.1 million cast in the 2020 election.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates expressed a desire for public conversation of Arizona’s 2020 election to come to a close.
“Now, it’s my hope that this will be the last word on the 2020 election, because you’re going to hear the facts today in detail,” said Gates.
The report explained that the county’s elections were reliable based on approval of their tabulation equipment by a federally accredited voting system laboratory, in-depth pilot and stress testing on Dominion Voting Systems equipment, and the bipartisan makeup of poll workers and central boards.
The county classified the false, misleading, and inaccurate claims as “faulty claims.” Their report said the roots of those claims were either: inaccurate methodology and analysis (e.g., soft data matching or use of the commercial database, or incorrect use of voter files), a lack of understanding of federal and state voting laws (e.g., protected voters, voter registration requirements for voters that move, or election management system patching), or lack of independence and objectivity (accusations of deleted data, paper and printer claims, and accusations of double-counted UOCAVA ballots).
The county also released a short video to promote their report, titled “Facts Not Anomalies: Maricopa County Responds to Flawed #azaudit Report.” The video focused primarily on the frequent usage of the word “anomaly” by the Arizona Senate and Cyber Ninjas auditors to describe findings they found concerning.
“It’s all an anomaly if you don’t understand what you’re looking at,” stated the video. “Maricopa County hires and trains election experts. We’re fighting misinformation to protect your vote.”
In a press release, Gates — voted Man of the Year by the Arizona Republic last week — criticized the state senate for backing a partisan audit.
“The people who have spent the last year proclaiming our free and fair elections are rigged are lying or delusional. Unfortunately, the Senate’s inquiry made things worse by giving partisan auditors a platform to make damaging false claims based on their inexperience and biases,” said Gates. “I’m proud of our team for correcting the record with this comprehensive report; for looking deeply into each claim made by Senate contractors so that voters who choose to learn the truth can; and for a commitment to continued improvement that will make a strong election system even stronger.”
The remainder of the supervisors added various statements that summarily insisted that the county conducted near-perfect operations that resulted in a free and fair elections.