While the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party was obtaining a court order to inspect 100 of the 1.9 million envelopes which contained early ballots, several speakers were at a public hearing with President Donald Trump’s campaign attorneys and nearly a dozen legislators expressing concerns for the integrity of the general election.
Judge Randall Warner ruled GOP chair Kelli Ward may have an expert review voter signatures of a randomly selected .005263 percent of the envelopes received by the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office. Then on Thursday, Ward’s attorney will report whether any sign of irregularities was found with how voter signatures on those envelopes were verified by county officials.
It’s unclear what statistical value such a small sampling will hold given there is no way to know what votes were cast on the ballots inside those envelopes. But while Ward was in court, several Republican legislators heard unsworn statements from people who believe they have information which may prove voter fraud or other election misconduct took place in the recent general election.
Among those in attendance was Rudy Giuliani, who appeared on behalf of the Donald J. Trump campaign during the livestreamed event. Giuliani asked questions of several of the speakers and he called on Arizona’s legislators to block Arizona’s 11 electoral votes from being awarded to Joe Biden, even though the state’s certified election results show he beat Trump by about 11,000 votes.
“In your state, a lot of the fraud had to do with the mail-in system as it did in other places,” Giuliani said. “I don’t see how any decent honest person can let this happen.”
Among Giuliani’s accusations are that the voting system used in Maricopa County could have been easily hacked, and that he received an email from an unidentified person who alleged that Pima County’s voting software somehow gave each Democrat on the ballots thousands of extra votes.
Rep. David Cook (LD8) was more circumspect with his comments as he called on his fellow legislators to ask questions and seek answers.
“The information presented to members of the Legislature was breathtaking in detail and remarkable in terms of its implications for the 2020 election, as well as future elections here in Arizona,” Cook said. “I hope every member of the Legislature -regardless of their political affiliations or ideological leaning- takes the time to review the information and consider how best to proceed.”
After Monday’s hearing, Walt Blackman (LD6) called on House Speaker Rusty Bowers to call a special session “and fix this mess.”
Blackman and Cochise County Recorder David Stevens will cohost a meeting in December with all 15 elected county recorders and the 15 county elections directors to hear from the frontlines about what changes may be needed to the state’s election laws and the elections procedures manual.
Stevens, who served several years in the state legislature, spent much of the day listening to the conference. He is concerned that possible vulnerabilities in Maricopa County’s election system has reduced voter confidence statewide, which is why he supports putting Arizona’s 11 electoral votes on hold, at least temporarily.
“I am convinced now that there are enough regularities in the system to justify a machine tabulated recount of all of Maricopa ballots due to the seriousness of the allegations,” Stevens said, noting the process should take only a few days.
In the meantime, it would not be difficult for elections officials there to work with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office and others to see if there is actual evidence of significant fraud.
“It’s not hard to find answers to the questions that came up,” Stevens said. “You just need the willpower to ask and look. Some of the answers would likely be quickly determine within a day or two.”
He even noted that it would be easy to determine if the tabulation software had been altered to take or add votes to a particular candidate.
“Take several ballots that only have Trump ovals filled out, and feed them through the machine,” Stevens said. “If votes are reported for Biden you have a problem somewhere.”
Meanwhile, as Ward reviews the 100 signed ballot envelopes, she can also look at images of 100 randomly selected duplicated ballots out of a pool of nearly 20,000.
Duplication is required when military members submit their votes via emails which are then transferred to a ballot for tabulation. In other instances, duplication is necessary when a ballot is damaged or for some reason cannot be properly read by a tabulation machine, so a new or duplicate ballot is created by human hands.
Ward’s goal, her attorney told the judge, was to see if there is evidence that the duplication process was improperly conducted.