Senate President Karen Fann had hoped to meet with Maricopa County officials on Tuesday to address questions raised by the audit team contracted to review the county’s handling of last November’s general election.
But the county’s refusal to meet -they sent some answers via a letter instead- simply meant that Fann and Sen. Warren Petersen as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee had more time to hear from the senate’s top audit officials, all while livestreaming the meeting.
Some of the topics discussed by Senate Audit Liaison Ken Bennett, along with audit general contractor Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan and CyFIR founder Ben Cotton, have been detailed before. Those include Maricopa County’s refusal to turn over computer routers used by its elections department and the county’s insistence that they never had the administrative access codes to any of its ballot tabulation machines.
But Tuesday’s meeting revealed details of various other concerns the auditors have noticed to date, even as the team is only about 25 percent complete with a hand count of the nearly 2.1 million ballots cast by Maricopa County voters in the general election.
One of those concerns involves purported discrepancies between ballot batch transmittal slips and the hard count of those ballots. According to Logan, Maricopa County normally batched its ballots in groups of 200. But even though several batches have a count of 200 handwritten on the transmittal slips, there are actually fewer than 200 ballots in the batch.
Logan added that county officials have said one reason for the difference is that some ballots in a batch may have had to be pulled in order to be hand duplicated for some reason and thus were in a different box.
Duplication occurs when a ballot is torn, stained, or otherwise unreadable by a tabulator machine. A team of elections officials then duplicates that ballot’s votes onto a new ballot that can be tabulated.
However, Logan said there is a section on the transmittal slip to make a “pulled for duplication” type notation but in many instances no such notation was made.