Expert Says Maricopa County Elections Process Is Broken

election office
Maricopa County has been at the center of controversy in the 2020 General Election. [Photo courtesy Maricopa County Elections Department]

Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai has spent a lot of time thinking about what he calls Maricopa County’s “broken” election system and the officials running it.  And he doesn’t like what he has seen so far.

Ayyadurai was contracted by the Arizona State Senate to assist with the recent audit of how Maricopa County handled the 2020 General Election. He says he is disheartened at how many elected officials are suggesting it is unpatriotic, even un-American, to ask questions about the “systemically dysfunctional” election system.

Which is one reason Ayyadurai released a case study last week outlining efforts by audit critics to malign his work. He also forwarded additional evidence to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich related to Maricopa County’s election department and has promised to assist the AG’s election integrity unit in its investigation triggered by a referral from Senate President Karen Fann.

Ayyadurai told KFYI’s James T. Harris last Friday that one of the most concerning things he has found in the short time he has spent looking into Maricopa County’s election system is the lack of public disclosure of the standard operating procedures.

And when someone asks a question about the election system or raises a concern about an anomaly, Ayyadurai says the proper response is not to call someone ignorant or a conspiracy theorist.

“You say ‘well thank you very much,’” he told Harris. “Whether that anomaly is insignificant, or monumental, or small or large, you are open – that is the culture of what you want when you want to improve a system. That is not the culture with the Maricopa County people running it.  They are opaque, they don’t want to talk about it, and they viciously go attack people who want to talk about it.”

Ayyadurai is an MIT graduate with a PhD who specializes in engineering systems. It was his extensive professional experience which led Fann to ask Ayyadurai to look into a concern raised during last fall’s election – whether Maricopa County accepted mail-in ballots which arrived in unsigned affidavit return envelopes.

[Read Dr. Ayyadurai’s original report HERE and his replies to Maricopa County HERE and HERE]

The review did not look into whether any of the signatures were properly verified. Instead, Ayyadurai developed a software program to quickly analyze the signature section of the more than 1.9 million early ballots return envelopes submitted by voters. He found several anomalies between Maricopa County’s official numbers and what the review could substantiate, according to his Sept. 24 presentation to Fann.

“To assert that that presentation was a conspiracy theory is absolutely false,” Ayyadurai wrote in his subsequent case study. “My work has focused on mathematical modeling and pattern recognition classification methods to perform scientific research to understand normal and anomalous states of election voting patterns.”

Ayyadurai says the disrespectful and deflecting response by county officials to his audit report suggests those officials are more interested in avoiding questions and concerns than they are in ensuring voters have confidence in the election system.

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It is why he has called for the immediate release all election-related standard operating procedures and for a public meeting with the county’s election officials to review his report, point-by-point, along with substantiating documents.

“Asking questions is what auditors do,” he wrote in the case study. “The purpose of this audit was to document anomalies so as to ensure the opportunity for Maricopa County Elections Officials to respond to assure the systems integrity of the election voting systems.”