News & Politics

Maricopa Audit Team Debunks County Officials' Rebuttal to Election Audit Report

Maricopa Audit Team Debunks County Officials' Rebuttal to Election Audit Report
(AP Photo/Matt York)

The mainstream media began lying about the results as soon as the Maricopa County election audit was released. Several media outlets falsely claimed that the audit “confirmed Biden won.” The report did no such thing. This claim focused on the results of the hand-recount part of the audit and either ignored or dismissed the findings of the actual forensic audit.  However, earlier this month, Maricopa County officials issued a rebuttal to the forensic audit’s findings, offering what they believed to be reasonable explanations for the issues cited in the audit report.

The audit team, led by the Sarasota, Florida-based Cyber Ninjas, has responded to Maricopa County’s rebuttal.

“Maricopa County continues to purposely mislead Arizonans and the American public about the nature of audit findings, and the impact they had on the 2020 General Election,” a report released by the company reads. “Their response renames and redefines audit findings so the claim can be made that the findings are false, includes logical sounding arguments that simply don’t add up, and is completely devoid of any supporting evidence.”

For example, the county disputes the claim that there was any double voting from ballots sent from a prior address. The county argued that Cyber Ninjas relied on an unreliable third-party data set to determine that 23,344 mail-in votes were cast from a prior mailing address. According to the county, they rely on “the voter’s affirmation of their residential address” until they are informed otherwise by the voter “or by another trusted resource like the United States Postal Service or the National Change of Address [NCOA] report.”

But, the dataset used by Cyber Ninjas, Melissa Personator, actually utilizes the NCOA.

Furthermore, the County’s claim that voters can legally change their addresses after the voter registration period and still legally vote is an extremely misleading statement. Our report was primarily1 based on the November 7th VM34 voter roll file, and therefore any address changes should have been reflected in that version of the file. In addition, this is only possibly applicable for individuals who move within Maricopa County (15,035) and would not apply to individuals who moved outside of the County (12,772) and would therefore be required to re-register to vote. It would also be expected that the County would be able to state exactly how many of the 15,035 changed their address, rather than making a blanket statement and implying that it fully explains the finding. The fact the County chose not to do this raises more questions.

Maricopa County nevertheless claims that “a preliminary review of voters from the Senate’s data found no evidence of double voting. All voters reviewed were eligible to cast a ballot.” However, as Cyber Ninjas notes, “it is unclear why the analysis in the County’s response for this finding talks about double-voters” because this finding “has nothing to do with double voters.”

The audit team found 9,041 instances of a voter being sent one ballot, but two ballots were returned and received on different dates. But, Maricopa County claimed that a signed affidavit envelope accompanies all early votes, and that when returned “the envelope is scanned by the Elections Department and tracks that it was received. If the voter forgets to sign the envelope or the signature is questioned, staff works to contact the voter to ‘cure’ the signature issue.” The envelope is not opened during this process, and once the signature is “cured,” the envelope is rescanned “creating a subsequent ‘received’ entry” in the Early Ballot Return File. Cyber Ninjas dismisses the county’s rebuttal as “a soundbite, not an explanation.”

According to Cyber Ninjas, only 2,138 of the 9,041voter IDs had more than one scanned ballot linked to their ID. “If the County’s explanation properly accounted for this issue, then there should be a one-for-one match with multiple scanned ballots for all 9,041 voter IDs. This simply cannot explain the issue when only 24% of the 9,041 had multiple envelop image scans.”

There are several other findings that Maricopa County’s rebuttal reviews. All of them are addressed in Cyber Ninjas’ response. In the end, I don’t see either side being swayed. One thing is for sure though: Maricopa County is aggressively trying to besmirch the audit and protect business as usual in the county. In addition to uncovering irregularities, Cyber Ninjas came up with recommended fixes for the discovered irregularities to make future elections more secure. One would think that regardless of their feelings about what the audit said about how their election was conducted, Maricopa County would be more than happy to endorse those solutions so that the voters can have faith that future elections held in the county are legitimate.