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Errors, Failures and Allegations of Fraud Within Maricopa County's Election System Won't Be Ignored

Errors, Failures and Allegations of Fraud Within Maricopa County's Election System Won't Be Ignored


By: President Karen Fann (R-1), President Pro Tempore Vince Leach (R-11),

Majority Leader Rick Gray (R-21), Majority Whip Sonny Borrelli (R-5), Senator David Gown (R-14)


One of our main jobs as legislators is to listen to the concerns of our constituents.


After all, they elected us to represent them. Our elections matter, and they have consequences. Just look at the fallout we're now experiencing from the 2020 presidential election.


Thanks to the Biden Administration's reckless spending, inflation is the highest it's been since 1981 at 8.5%. The average price for a gallon of gas in Arizona set a new record back in March at $4.69. The cost of just about every necessity in our daily lives is soaring, and unfortunately, wages aren't keeping up. According to a recent Bloomberg report, families are now forced to make some tough choices to cover the estimated additional $5000 they'll have to spend this year because of rising prices.


As thousands of voters in Arizona struggle with this new normal, many are also expressing their lack of confidence over how the 2020 General Election was conducted in our battleground state.


Despite the continuous criticisms by those who want your desperate calls for transparency and integrity to fall on deaf ears and blind eyes: we hear you; we see you.


The Senate embarked on an audit to review how Maricopa County conducted the 2020 General Election in an effort to restore confidence in our election process, as well as creating a check and balance system for our voters. This type of review had never been done before, and we took the risk in the name of democracy and transparency.


Our audit showed some deficiencies in our elections led by then-County Recorder Adrian Fontes. That evidence, as well as subsequent complaints, were turned over to the Attorney General so that he and his team from the Election Integrity Unit could review it with a fine-tooth comb. Their task is to determine if any laws were broken, if in fact voter fraud had occurred, and if any prosecutorial action needs to be taken.


Six months later, on April 6, Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued an interim report validating the missteps that our review uncovered.


"We have reached the conclusion that the 2020 election in Maricopa County revealed serious vulnerabilities that must be addressed and raises questions about the 2020 election in Arizona."


In one example, the AG noted Maricopa County failed in multiple instances to follow Arizona's Elections Procedures Manual when transporting early ballots from drop-box or drop-off locations to the county's election headquarters.


“It is estimated that between 100,000 and 200,000 ballots were transported without a proper chain of custody,” according to the report.


This type of violation compromises the validity of these ballots and raises strong concerns as to whether or not those ballots were tampered with.


The AG also referenced significant vulnerabilities surrounding early voting signature verification.


"The opportunity for fraud increases the moment a ballot leaves the protective custody of the election official and enters the postal system."


According to the report, Arizona's elections officials were required to match signatures on over 3 million early ballot affidavits during a five-to-six-week period in 2020.


"At times, the election worker conducting the verification process has only seconds to review a signature."


On November 4, 2020, the report stated that the Maricopa County Recorder verified 206,648 early ballot affidavit signatures in an average of 4.6 seconds per signature. Arizona lacks a statewide standard for the signature verification process, so to perform such a task in under five seconds may be jeopardizing the integrity of verifying the ballot signature.


The report went on to say, "The EIU's review has uncovered instances of election fraud by individuals who have been or will be prosecuted for various election crimes."


The report also noted that the AG is still receiving new information relevant to the review of the Maricopa County election system, including from Maricopa County itself, which has not been in compliance or in cooperation with this investigation from the very beginning. Furthermore, investigations of this magnitude and complexity could take years to complete.


To be fair, no system is ever perfect, which is what audits are for. After flaws are revealed, we are to create processes to fix them. It is the responsibility of your elected officials to enact the rules that make this all possible.


We will continue to fight for legislation that focuses on stronger procedures for early-ballot signature verification, auditing all 15 counties in our state, scrubbing voter rolls monthly for people who've died or moved out of state, protecting voter registration, securing ballot drop boxes, as well as training and testing election workers.


We're thankful that the Attorney General's Office is diligently investigating the many serious issues raised in the Senate's election audit, in addition to addressing the concerns and questions from our constituents, which may have otherwise been ignored. We look forward to receiving subsequent reports from the AG as his investigation unfolds.


Our vote is one of the most sacred actions we can take as an American citizen in this free and beautiful country. We want to give the people of Arizona confidence that when they cast their ballot, they are doing so in a safe and secure manner, and we want to make sure every legal vote is counted.


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