The “forensic audit,” as Senate GOP leaders are calling their review, is overseen by Cyber Ninjas, a small computer security firm with no election experience before Trump questioned the 2020 results. Its CEO, Doug Logan, spread false conspiracy theories about the election before being hired to lead the Arizona Review.
Logan and Ben Cotton, a digital forensics analyst working on the audit, described issues they say need further review. Trump gave him a parrot as proof that the election results were tainted.
County officials and election experts say the claims are false and based on a misunderstanding of election material, which they say creates an appearance of irregularities where none exist.
Trump specifically made his claims in a statement on Friday night. A look at the irregularities he alleges in that statement:
Trump: “168,000 Fake Ballots Printed on Illegal Paper (Unofficial Ballots)”
Fact: It’s all a lie. The ballots were not unofficial or printed on illegal paper, and even Logan never alleged that they were fraudulent.
Logan pointed to ballots that had a slight offset between printing front and back. He claimed that if the ink goes from one side to the other, the votes may be counted for the wrong candidate. He said the alignment issues were mostly from polling-place ballots, which are printed onsite, and added that about 168,000 ballots were cast this way. The majority of Arizona voters cast ballots by mail.
“We’re seeing very thin paper stocks being used up, especially on Election Day,” Logan said.
The allegation goes back to the “sharpgate” conspiracy theory that surfaced in the days following the election. Election experts say bleed-through does not affect vote counting because bubbles on one side of a ballot do not align with bubbles on the other side. Ballots that cannot be read are flagged and duplicated by a bipartisan team.
Arizona’s election process manual only states that ballots must be “printed with black ink on white paper of sufficient thickness to prevent printing from appearing on the ballot in the opposite direction.” Fields Mosley, a county spokesman, said Maricopa County uses 80 pounds of Voteskur paper from Roland, one of the papers approved by the Dominion Voting System, which makes up the county’s tabulation tool.
Logan provided no evidence that alignment problems affected the vote count, saying the issue needed further analysis.
TRUMP, “74,000 mailed in ballots that were never mailed (magically appearing ballots).”
Fact: No, there were no magically appearing ballots. They allege that the number of filled-in ballots received in the mail by election officials exceeds the number of people who previously asked for mail-in ballots, more than 74,000. But that didn’t happen at all.
The claim misrepresents reports made to political parties about who voted early so that they can target their vote-out-the-vote efforts.
One report tracks all requests that voters make for an early ballot by mail or in person up to 11 days before the election. The other report tracks all ballots received the day before the election. This leaves a 10-day window during which those who voted in person but did not request a mail ballot will appear on one report but not the other.
TRUMP claimed that “11,000 voters were added to the electoral rolls after the election and still voted.”
Fact: There is nothing obnoxious about growing voter lists after election day. Rolls are updated to reflect only those whose provisional ballots are tallied after election officials have verified that they were eligible to vote.
The allegation that the updated tally was the result of electoral wrongdoing first came from Logan last week, when he told state lawmakers “about 11,326 people who did not appear on the November 7 edition of the electoral rolls after casting their votes.” but then appeared in the voter list of December 4.”
Maricopa County officials said Logan may be referring to provisional ballots, which are cast by people who do not appear on the voters’ list or do not have proper identification on Election Day. They are counted only if the voter subsequently shows that he is eligible to vote. To be eligible, such voters must be registered before the deadline.
Maricopa County officials wrote on Twitter, “These go through a rigorous verification process to ensure that provisional ballots are only counted if a voter is eligible to vote in the election.” “It happens after election day. Only eligible voters are added to the voter list.
“All access logs on the machines were wiped out, and election servers were hacked during the election,” Trump alleged.
Fact: It flies in the face of evidence. Maricopa County’s election server is not connected to the Internet and independent auditors found no evidence that the election server was hacked.
Trump’s hacking allegation refers to the unauthorized download of public data from the county’s voter registration system. The system, which is connected to the Internet and widely accessible to political parties and election workers, is not linked to the election management system, the web of ballot counters, computers and servers that collate votes.
The election management system is “air gapped” or disconnected from the rest of the county’s computer network and the wider Internet. Two firms certified by the US Election Assistance Commission to test voting systems found that Maricopa County’s machines were not connected to the Internet and that malicious hardware or software was not installed.
Trump: “Arizona shows more fraud and voting irregularities than is necessary to change the outcome of the election.”
Fact: It is not. The number of possible fraud cases is far less than the margin of victory for President Joe Biden in Arizona.
According to an Associated Press investigation, county election officials identified 182 cases where voting problems were obvious enough that they referred them to investigators for further review. So far, charges have cropped up in only four cases, including those identified in a separate state investigation. No one has been convicted. No person’s vote was counted twice.
Biden won Arizona by 10,457 votes out of 3.4 million cast. Of the four cases that have led to criminal charges, two involved Democratic voters and two involved Republicans.
Editor’s note – A look at the veracity of the claims of political figures.
Associated Press writer Ali Svensson in Seattle contributed to this report.
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