by Sharon Rondeau

(Sep. 24, 2021) — As tweeted by his former campaign attorney, Jenna Ellis, 45th President of the United States Donald J. Trump issued a statement early Friday afternoon in advance of the release of a report of a forensic election audit in Maricopa County, AZ containing specific numbers of “fraudulent votes, mystery votes, and “fake votes.”

Referring to early mainstream reports stating the audit will show Joe Biden won the majority of votes in the county, Trump wrote, “The Fake News is lying about the Arizona audit report! The leaked report conclusively shows there were enough fraudulent votes, mystery votes, and fake votes to change the outcome of the election 4 or 5 times over. The number includes 23,344 mail-in ballots, despite the person no longer living at that address…”

The “leaked” document is only a partial result of the audit, Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers tweeted Thursday night.

Continuing, he claimed the “official canvass” has a discrepancy of 11,592 against the audit results, “more than the entire Presidential Election margin.”

According to the results certified by the Arizona Secretary of State and governor in late November, Biden won the state by 10,457 votes, as Trump noted later in his statement.

Individuals who voted in multiple counties total 10,342, Trump said, and “There were also 2,592 ‘more duplicate ballots than original ballots.'”

Those numbers total “50,252,” Trump wrote, and “election data appears to have been intentionally deleted.”

Earlier Friday, the polling company Rasmussen Reports tweeted a reference to an Arizona law, “Tampering with a public record.”

The Arizona Senate will be holding a hearing at 1:00 p.m. PDT/4:00 p.m. EDT to reveal the findings of the audit conducted earlier this summer by Cyber Ninjas and several assisting entities. Live streaming is here: https://www.azleg.gov/videoplayer/?clientID=6361162879&eventID=2021091005

and here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnLpd7MkGL0

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  1. Well, Mr. Morton, I would not and did not expect Maricopa County to respond to a question I asked you here. It’s your doing that your response here did not answer the specific question I asked you but, rather, directed me to the Maricopa County Recorder’s web-site which, in turn, also did not provide an answer to the specific question I asked you.

    I realize that Maricopa County has expressly said it followed the proper signature verification requirements. If that’s true then Maricopa County should have a record of every attempt made to contact the senders of the tens of thousands of ballot envelopes with no signature and the outcomes therefrom. That record would not only answer the question I asked you here but, moreover, rebut the Cyber Ninjas insinuation that ballots contained therein were counted without signature verification. Alas, I have found no mention of such a record on the Maricopa County Recorder’s web-site. And, no, I’m not going to inquire. Why not? Well, if I were in Maricopa County’s shoes and I had evidence which proved false a criminal allegation against me I’d make it available.

    1. I have no idea why you would ask me a question that would be better directed to Maricopa County.

      The Cyber Ninja’s report did not discuss signature validation, so it would have been impossible for it to have insinuated anything regarding that topic.

      Regardless, Maricopa County has spoken to the topic of signature verification. But if you still desire more specific information about Maricopa County’s verification efforts, again, your inquiries should be directed toward it.

      And you will be pleased to learn that Maricopa County has announced that it intends to present a formal response to Arizona Senate’s review. Maricopa County said it will provide a more technical response that will further explain its tabulation processes. This will likely include additional information about signature verification.

      https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/AZMARIC/bulletins/2f507c5

    2. “If that’s true then Maricopa County should have a record of every attempt made to contact the senders of the tens of thousands of ballot envelopes with no signature and the outcomes therefrom.”

      Where do you get the figure of tens of thousands of no signature envelopes?

      The auditors reported only about 1400 (see link to their report at bottom of page).

      Also there is a record of the signature verification process. It was supplied to the auditors in the form of images each of the signed or unsigned ballot envelopes and the corresponding cured signed ballot envelopes. The cured signed envelope has a verification stamp on it.

      As the auditors explained – they found 17,000 duplicated envelopes (after they were cured 15000 had signatures) the rest were either blank or had illegible markings. These could be authenticated by other means.

  2. Explanation of envelope signature box.

    https://www.abc15.com/news/arizona-election-audit/arizona-election-audit-fact-check-were-there-17-322-duplicate-ballots

    “By law, early ballot envelopes cannot be opened until the identity of the voter is confirmed, typically using their signature.”

    Even though there may be duplicate images of a particular envelope, there is only one ballot. And that ballot only gets counted if the signature issue is cured.

    1. Where during Maricopa County’s live tweeting responses to the CyberNinjas presentation did anyone representing Maricopa County explain why tens of thousands of mail-in ballots received in official mail-in ballot envelopes with either no signature in the [voter] “Sign Here >” box on the outside of the envelopes or marks indiscernible as a signature were counted in spite of the fact that Arizona’s mail-in ballot instructions say: “Step 5. SIGN the ballot affidavit envelope. Your ballot will not be counted unless you do this step.”?

        1. “There is no evidence that the manner in which signatures were reviewed was designed to benefit one candidate or another, or that there was any misconduct, impropriety, or violation of Arizona law with respect to the review of mail-in ballots.” — Maricopa County

          Is that the statement you’re referring to, or?

        2. Given Twitter’s character limitations, a tweet cannot address every nuance of every allegation. But the response unambiguously stands behind the county’s processes and results.

          Perhaps perusing the Recorder’s site, or directly inquiring with the Recorder, would lead to a response to your satisfaction.

        3. Well, Mr. Morton, since Twitter’s limitations did not prevent Maricopa County from addressing most, if not all, other allegations made by the Cyber Ninjas/AZ Senate then Twitter’s limitations could not have prevented Maricopa County from addressing the matter I made perfectly clear in the question I asked you.

          Perhaps your inability to cite Maricopa County’s explanation for the allegation that tens of thousands of mail-in ballots with no signature on their envelopes were counted is due to the fact that the Maricopa County Recorder’s page, https://recorder.maricopa.gov/justthefacts/, contains no such explanation. FYI: “Maricopa County attempts to contact every voter with a questioned signature or if a ballot is returned in an unsigned affidavit envelope.” does not explain the allegation.

      1. “tens of thousands of mail-in ballots received …with either no signature in the [voter] “Sign Here >” box on the outside of the envelopes or marks indiscernible as a signature were counted …”

        Arizona law allows voters to correct any deficiencies in their signature up to five days after the election.

        “16-550. Receipt of voter’s ballot; cure period
        A. On receipt of the envelope containing the early ballot and the ballot affidavit, the county recorder or other officer in charge of elections shall compare the signatures thereon with the signature of the elector on the elector’s registration record. If the signature is inconsistent with the elector’s signature on the elector’s registration record, the county recorder or other officer in charge of elections shall make reasonable efforts to contact the voter, advise the voter of the inconsistent signature and allow the voter to correct or the county to confirm the inconsistent signature. The county recorder or other officer in charge of elections shall allow signatures to be corrected not later than the fifth business day after a primary, general or special election that includes a federal office or the third business day after any other election. If satisfied that the signatures correspond, the recorder or other officer in charge of elections shall hold the envelope containing the early ballot and the completed affidavit unopened in accordance with the rules of the secretary of state.”

        https://www.azleg.gov/ars/16/00550.htm

        1. “Did Maricopa County count 17,000 “duplicate” ballots?”

          “Analysis by Shiva Ayyadurai, or “Dr. Shiva” as he is known to far-right adherents, found what he called 17,322 “duplicate” ballot envelope images in the county’s files. These were different images of the same envelopes, with the same voter ID.”

          “Just because there are multiple images of the same envelopes does not mean that the county counted the ballot inside more than once.”

          “Sometimes there is more than one image of the same ballot envelope because, if there are issues with the original signature, the county takes an image of the same envelope multiple times as workers attempt to get a valid signature from the voter.”

          “For example, if there is a blank signature, the county takes an image of the envelope before contacting the voter to attempt to get a signature. If the voter then signs the envelope, the county takes another photo.”

          “Because the Senate’s subpoena asked for all envelope images, the county provided the Senate with all of the images, even those that did not have final signatures.”

          “The county says it only counts the ballot inside once there is a valid signature.”

          https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2021/09/25/maricopa-county-calls-arizona-election-audit-irresponsible-dangerous/5848270001/

        2. That applies to mail-in ballots having something recognizable as a signature in the [voter] “Sign Here >” box on the outside of the mail-in ballot envelope. The following apply to mail-in ballot envelopes with nothing recognizable as a signature in the [voter] “Sign Here >” box on the outside of the mail-in ballot envelope.

          “HOW DO I VOTE BY MAIL IN ARIZONA ELECTIONS
          Step 1. Request your early ballot (either one time request or sign up for PEVL).
          Step 2. Retrieve your ballot from your mailbox.
          Step 3. Vote your ballot.
          Step 4. Place your voted ballot inside the early ballot affidavit envelope.
          Step 5. SIGN the early ballot affidavit envelope. Your ballot will not be counted unless you do this step.
          Step 6. Seal your ballot and return it (see below).
          Step 7.Verify your ballot was received and counted (see below).”
          https://www.azcleanelections.gov/how-to-vote/early-voting/vote-by-mail

          Additionally…
          “PROCESSING AND TABULATING EARLY BALLOTS
          A. County Recorder Responsibilities
          1. Signature Verification
          [Clause 3]
          If the early ballot affidavit is not signed, the County Recorder shall not count the ballot. The County Recorder shall then make a reasonable and meaningful attempt to contact the voter via mail, phone, text message, and/or email, to notify the voter the affidavit was not signed and explain to the voter how they may cure the missing signature or cast a replacement ballot before 7:00pm
          on Election Day. The County Recorder shall attempt to contact the voter as soon as practicable using any contact information available in the voter’s record and any other source reasonably available to the County Recorder. Neither replacement ballots nor provisional ballots can be issued after 7:00pm on Election Day.”
          https://azsos.gov/sites/default/files/2019_ELECTIONS_PROCEDURES_MANUAL_APPROVED.pdf

        3. It sounds that is what the Recorder did. And there was litigation surrounding the signature-curing provisions.

          Regardless, the Arizona Secretary of State certified the election results, Congress’ two chambers each voted against objections to Arizona’s electors, and the former vice president accepted Arizona’s electoral votes for Biden.

        4. “The following apply to mail-in ballot envelopes with nothing recognizable as a signature…”

          The voter is contacted and allowed to correct the lack of a signature.

          “notify the voter the affidavit was not signed and explain to the voter how they may cure the missing signature or cast a replacement ballot before 7:00pm”

        5. According to the auditors (Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai) they examined 1,929,240 images of ballot envelopes. Dr. Ayyadurai broke them into two groups, those which were not duplicated and those that were duplicated. The breakdown for them is as follows:

          Non-duplicated envelopes
          Signature visible – 1,890,500
          Illlegible markings – 2,420
          Blank signature box – 1,771
          Likely blank signature box – 101

          Duplicated envelopes were broken down into 2-copies, 3-copies and 4-copies

          For the 2-copies
          Signatures on one at least one copy – 16,734
          Marks on at least one copy – 155
          Blanks or likely blanks on both copies – 45

          For the 3-copies
          Signatures on at least one copy – 506
          Marks on at least one copy – 16
          Blanks or likely blanks on both copies – 42

          For the 4-copies
          Signatures on one at least one copy – 14
          Blanks or likely blanks on both copies – 2

          The total number of blank or likely blank envelopes which could have been corrected by 7:00 on Election Day is 1961 envelopes out of 1,929,240.

          Here is Dr. Ayyadurai’s report:

          https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/wsmv.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/94/d94b3946-8cc8-5547-85ae-760a603fa936/614e468746ce0.pdf.pdf