Fact check: Arizona chief audit executive raises baseless suspicions over 74,000 ballots

The review is being conducted by Cyber ​​Ninjas, a cybersecurity firm with no experience in election auditing. And company CEO Doug Logan made claims Thursday that were immediately questioned by the county and independent experts.

Here’s a quick look at two of them.

Logan mentionned this door-to-door interrogation Maricopa County Voters’ Survey is the “only way” for auditors to determine whether what they see in election data is “real issues” or “clerical errors of some sort.”

“For example, we have 74,243 mail-in ballots for which there is no clear record of being sent,” he said.

Logan clarified that it was not necessarily a case of fraud, saying it could be an “office problem.” But his claim about an unexplained gap of more than 74,000 ballots between the county’s list of mail-in ballots received and its list of mail-out ballots sent was amplified on Twitter by Liz harrington, spokesperson for former President Donald Trump, and many other Trump supporters, as Republican Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert. Some of them, including Boebert, went further than Logan.

“In Arizona, 74,000 ballots were counted without a record of sending. This is not normal. It is not true. It is not safe and it is not sure,” Boebert wrote. .

On Friday, Trump himself went further than Logan. In a written statement, he claimed that Thursday’s Senate briefing showed “74,000 ballots received in the mail which were never mailed (ballots appearing as if by magic)”.

Facts first: There is no evidence of fraud or material error with these ballots, and certainly no “ballots appearing as if by magic”. Both Maricopa County and outside experts say there’s a simple explanation for the sidelines that Logan claims wasn’t explained: the existence of in-person early voting. Contrary to Logan’s claims, the ballot lists he was talking about included not only mail-in ballots, but also early in-person ballots.

This is why it is quite normal for Maricopa County’s submitted ballot list to include a significant number of votes that do not match the entries on the requested ballot list. After the deadline to request a mail-in ballot, which was October 23, 2020, the list of requested ballots is not updated by the county. But the list of submitted ballots is updated after that October 23 deadline – with the votes of the first voters in person.

Logan’s suggestion of some sort of unsolved mystery was definitely debunked by Garrett Archer, an election analyst at ABC15 television in Phoenix and a former official in the Arizona Secretary of State’s office, who is known locally and on Twitter for his mastery of state election data.
Archer explained that the county stops updating the list of requested ballots, known as “EV32,” after the last day people can request a mail-in ballot, 23 october. Thus, ballots cast in person after October 23, Archer said, were on the list of submitted ballots, known as “EV33,” but did not have a corresponding item on the list. requested ballots “EV32”.

Archer analyzed the files and found that there were 74,241 ballots on the list of submitted ballots without a corresponding entry on the list of requested ballots – almost identical to the number cited by Logan, “74,243 “. But Archer found that more than 99.9% of the ballots in question were recorded in the ballot list submitted on October 26 or later.

This matches the October 23 deadline that Archer previously noted for the list of requested ballots.

The explanation: October 24 and 25 were weekend days when county clerks did not update the list of submitted ballots, Archer said, so they added the ballots cast by voters in person these weekend days to the ballot totals submitted from October. 26.

“This is a glaring omission in the analysis”, Archer tweeted listeners. “This is either gross negligence for not seeing a pattern of returned ballots after a certain date, or deliberately misleading statements.”

Tammy Patrick, an election expert who has spent more than a decade working in the Maricopa County Elections Department, also said on Twitter that the list of requested ballots ceases to be updated 11 days before the polling day, but the list of submitted ballots continues to be updated until the day. before election day.

Patrick tweeted listeners: “AGAIN: They don’t know what they’re looking at.
Archer mentionned both EV files are created for the benefit of political party campaign efforts and are not meant to be complete records of all ballots, so they are not ideal documents for forensic verification. The count made a similar remark on Twitter, calling them “not the right files to refer to for a full accumulation of all the first ballots sent and received”.
Meanwhile, some citizens interpreted Logan’s remarks as a claim that the total number of mail-in ballots the county recorded as received was greater than the total number the county recorded as having sent. We don’t think that’s what Logan actually said, but for the record, Maricopa County tweeted Friday that was not true either.

Without the access that the Logan team have, we cannot say for sure that there are no errors or issues with both lists; it is quite possible that one problem or another will be discovered at some point. It is possible, Archer said, that there were clerical errors with the small number of ballots – 29 – he found had been recorded on the list of ballots submitted by October 26. but did not have a corresponding entry on the list of requested ballots. .

But Logan had suggested there was a huge, unresolved data problem. Experts have made it clear that he just does not understand the data.

Signature verification

Logan also claimed that Maricopa County simply stopped verifying voters’ signatures at some point in the election.

“Yes, we had an affidavit that specifically stated that when the mail-in ballots were received he received so many that the standards declined over time,” Logan said. He said the affidavit claimed that the verification process started with 20 “points of comparison,” then “after a while” was reduced to just 10 points of comparison, then to five points of comparison, “and finally they were simply told to leave every single mail ballot. “

Facts first: The office of Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican elected in 2020, strongly denied the claim. “At no time during the 2020 election cycle has Maricopa County changed the stringent signature verification requirements. Any suggestion to the contrary is categorically false,” the clerk’s office said. mentionned on Twitter.

Logan was not clear on who would have lowered the comparison standard and how widespread the supposed change was. We of course cannot definitively verify what happened or what did not happen in every electoral office in the county, especially without seeing the affidavit that Logan refers to.

About Alma Ackerman

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