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A troubling report from The Election Systems Integrity Institute issued a report that said the mail-in ballot signature verification process for Maricopa County, Arizona in the 2020 general election was deeply flawed.
The study was headed by systems engineer Shiva Ayyadurai and said that around 200,000 ballot envelopes with mismatched signatures were forwarded to be counted sans any more review, The Western Journal reported.
Ayyadurai, who has multiple degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, testified last fall before the Arizona Senate regarding the findings of the Maricopa County 2020 general election audit.
Based on the findings of ESII’s recently released study, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office sent a letter to the Maricopa County recorder and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors requesting the voter signature files along with other information.
“In the study, it is alleged that over 250 of those sampled ballot affidavits on the envelopes to did not appear to match the voter’s signatures,” Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright said of the findings.
“We came up with some extraordinary and compelling results, which said nearly as minimum over 200,000 ballots in Maricopa were counted, but they didn’t go through a process called curing. So I’m going to cover that today. All right, so today, at that time, we did that study, we did a sample size of around 500, which represents in statistical terms 95% confidence,” Ayyadurai said.
The key points of the report were listed on the website.
“At minimum, 215,856 early voting mail ballots (EVBs) should have been cured in Maricopa versus the ~25,000 cured by the County in the 2020 General Election,” it said.
“This updated Extended Study (“the Study”) along with the Pilot Study are the first to calculate signature mismatch rates of EVBs for Experts – Forensic Document Examiners (FDEs), Trained Novices (non-FDEs), and in a Two-Step Review process using non-FDEs and FDEs.
“One constraint of this Study in not having access to the signature files from the County,” the study said.
“Given the nearly 10x difference in EVBs to be cured between this Study and the County’s actually number cured, if the County were to provide their signature files, an update to this Study can be performed.
“Maricopa County Election Dept. states it has a ‘rigorous signature verification process,’” it said.
“Of the 1,911,918 EVB signatures verified, the County reported only 25,000 were flagged as signature mismatches requiring review – ‘curing;’ and after curing, the County concluded only 587 of the 25,000 (2.3%) to be ‘Bad Signatures.’
“This Extended Study confirms the findings of the earlier Pilot Study and concludes that the process used for signature verification in Maricopa is a flawed signature verification process,” it said.
To address the issues raised in the report, the attorney general’s office asked for “copies of all the signature exemplars in the voter’s registration file.”
Wright also asked for information regarding the county’s procedures on determining whether the signature on the envelope matched the one that was on file with the county.
Republican Arizona Senate President Karen Fann who commissioned the audit sent a copy of Wright’s letter in a tweet and asked what they were hiding.
“Looks like Maricopa BOS doesn’t want to comply with AG’s request for documents. What are they hiding now?” she said.
Looks like Maricopa BOS doesn’t want to comply with AG’s request for documents. What are they hiding now? pic.twitter.com/Ar7XQlxj9T
— Karen Fann (@FannKfann) March 20, 2022
Last month, Ayyadurai was interviewed by The Western Journal and said that the county never handed over the files with the signatures to the Senate, so the study was conducted by matching 2,700 ballot envelope signatures with the ones that were on file with the Maricopa County Recorder of Deeds.
“Voter signatures and ballot envelopes are not public record. We have not released this protected voter information to any organization other than the Arizona Senate as required,” Megan Gilbertson, communications director for the county’s Elections Department, said to The Journal.
“I found it fascinating that they didn’t give us an exact number. They just said up to 25,000,” Ayyadurai said to The Journal, saying that the county called it a “rigorous signature verification process.”
“So the bottom line is this, that if you’re doing curing, that means for every cured envelope, there should be the verified and approved [one]. That’s what they’re saying,” Ayyadurai said.
“Which means you should know exactly how many were cured. Why did you say, ‘Upward of 25,000’? Because we found out exactly 17,126 were duplicate images, that means we definitively know how many were cured. Why isn’t the county saying exactly how many were cured?” he said.