This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
Arizona Senate Will Release Results of Forensic Audit Next Friday, 9/24
Elizabeth Vaughn 9/16/2021 5:31 PM
Image by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay
At long last, the Arizona Senate has announced they will release the results of their forensic audit of ballots cast in Maricopa County in November 2020 at a hearing next Friday, September 24 at 1 p.m. (local time).
In a Telegram post, State Sen. Kelly Townsend said the hearing will take place in the Senate chamber and that the Senate Gallery will be open to the public. She added, "Be ready to pour over the report."
The event will also be live-streamed.
I'm just reading the tea leaves here, but if they didn't have anything of substance to report, I think this would have been a much quieter affair. Perhaps an announcement to the effect of: 'We have completed our forensic audit of the ballots cast in Maricopa County during the November 2020 election and we uphold the original results.'
I hardly think they would announce a public hearing and livestream the event to the world.
The Arizona Senate held a hearing on July 15 during which they released some preliminary results.
1. The biggest takeaway from the briefing was that over 74,000 mail-in ballots were received and counted in Maricopa County's November election results, but there are "no clear records of them being sent.”
Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan explained to lawmakers: "Just to be clear, here in the state of Arizona, there are EV 32s and EV 33s. EV 32s are supposed to keep a record of when a mail-in ballot is sent, and EV 33s are supposed to be a record of when the mail-in ballot is received."
"There should be more EV 32s, more that were sent out, than EV 33s that were received. We can tie these specifically to an individual who it was mailed to. So we have 74,000 that came back from individuals where we don't have a clear indication that the ballot was ever sent out to them," he noted.
Logan said, "That could be where the documentation wasn't done right, where there was a clerical issue. But when we have 74,000 of these ballots in question, it merits knocking on a door and validating this information."
2. The audit found that 18,000 residents who had cast ballots in November, were scrubbed from the voter list shortly after the election. According to Logan, “They were on the voter rolls, they showed as voted, and then they were removed. There could be a good logical explanation for that, but it seems like a large number to me.”
3. Additionally, the names of 11,326 voters (who cast ballots) did not appear on the Nov. 7 voter roll, but did appear on the Dec. 4 voter roll.
4. Some voters had used "sharpies" to cast their ballots instead of the recommended black or blue ink ball point pens. The ink from the sharpies often bled through to the other side of the ballot, possibly causing them to be misread by the machines, he said.
Before the election, the county announced they would be using "VoteSecure" paper ballots. “We are seeing a lot of very thin paper stock being utilized especially on Election Day," Logan added.
He is referring to "Sharpiegate." Many ballots completed with sharpies required adjudication. The more ballots that required adjudication, the better, as far as Democrats are concerned.
One of the most damning pieces of evidence I've seen coming out of Maricopa County was an Oct. 22 email that had been sent by Maricopa County Elections Assistant Director Kelly Dixon in which she asks election clerks to provide voters with ballpoint pens from Oct. 23 through Nov. 2. However, she wrote, “We NEED to use [Sharpie] Markers on Election Day.”
Keep in mind that generally, more Republicans than Democrats cast their ballots on Election Day. That trend was expected to be even more pronounced in 2020 because Republicans were concerned that an early vote might get lost (or tossed out) in the chaos caused by high numbers of mail-in votes.
Multiple conservative media outlets reported on this new development. At the same time, liberal outlets tried to debunk it. But the email speaks for itself.
The Maricopa County website listed the four types of paper it used for ballot printing. State Sen. Karen Fann explained to The Western Journal's George Upper that the paper contained “a titanium seal” to prevent ink from bleeding through.
It became evident that many of the ballots had been printed on thinner paper, likely obtained from a local office supply store rather than the types described on the county’s website.
Fann said this “might explain why there were so many more adjudicated ballots this year than ever.” Although she could not recall the precise percentage of adjudicated ballots in the November election, she believed it was north of 11 percent. (I am unable to find an “average” adjudication rate. My best guess, however, is the average rate would fall between 2 and 3 percent.)
How are the Democrats reacting to the audit? Badly. Knowing that President Joe Biden "won" the state of Arizona by only 10,457 votes, they have been fighting it every step of the way. They have fought the Arizona Senate in the courts, in the press, and even through "apolitical" institutions such as the DOJ.
For their part, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has thus far refused to provide the Senate with the necessary information to complete the investigation such as routers, critical passwords, chain of custody documents and more.
On August 26, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich released a statement which said the Board had 30 days to hand over the materials.
If they fail to do so, "the AGO, in accordance with state law, will notify the Arizona Treasurer to withhold state revenue from Maricopa County until MCBOS complies."
According to Arizona State Rep. Mark Finchem, a Republican, the MCBOS stands to lose up to $61 million in state funding if they fail to comply.
It's unclear if they have complied with the subpoena or not.
In either case, the results will be announced next Friday.
If the audit has uncovered meaningful fraud, it will give the Republicans ammunition to take the fight to the courts. It will also encourage other states to conduct forensic audits of their own.
If auditors have found only minor irregularities or none at all, then we have lost this battle and it's time to move on.
Something tells me it's the former.
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Elizabeth Vaughn is a contract writer at The Western Journal and a current contributor to American Free News Network. She is a former contributor to RedState, Newsmax, The Dan Bongino Show, and The Federalist. Her articles have also appeared on Instapundit, RealClearPolitics, MSN, Hot Air, The Gateway Pundit, Ricochet and other sites. Prior to blogging, Elizabeth was a financial consultant at Merrill Lynch and an independent equity trader. She is a wife, a mom to three grown children and several beloved golden retrievers, and a grandmother.
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