BY Randy DeSoto, The Western JournalMay 18, 2023
7 months ago

Maricopa County Whistleblower Reveals Problems Found on Ballots During Curing: 'How Did This Happen?'

A whistleblower testified Wednesday at Arizona Republican Kari Lake's election challenge trial about problematic practices Maricopa County officials employed during the mail-in ballot voter verification process.

By the official tally, Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs prevailed in the contest by approximately 17,000 votes, or 0.7 percent of the more than 2.5 million ballots cast statewide, but Lake is questioning the legitimacy of tens of thousands of those ballots.

The process in Maricopa County is that ballots rejected by Level 1 reviewers go to Level 2 reviewers, who either decide the signatures match and send the ballots through for counting or determine the signatures do not match and seek to contact the voter to confirm identity. This is called curing.

The whistleblower testified that the county turned down reviewers’ offer to cure ballots identified as having mismatched signatures in the days after the election.

"We didn’t understand why we were leaving early when there was ballots left in the bins. And we had asked the manager, ‘Are you sure that you wanted us to go home? Would you like us to, you know, keep trying to call these voters to get these ballots cured?’ And they said, 'no,'” she recalled.

Additionally, the whistleblower testified that she and her fellow Level 1 reviewers were sent home early despite the massive number of ballots the county needed to verify and count.

In the after-hours, ballots were being tallied at that county recorder's office, but apparently without observers on-hand.

"We thought it was odd," she said, "because we had observers that were constantly watching what we were doing, but there was, I'm assuming, no observers there. Who was watching what they were doing?"

The whistleblower also noted as reviewers were doing their job, "We were catching signatures of individuals, they didn't even belong in the history, meaning say it's a John Smith, and it was a woman's name or, and this wasn't a married couple. This was completely different names."

She said the reviewers were told to report those major discrepancies to their supervisors.

The whistleblower said they asked their supervisors, "How did these even possibly get into the history? They're not even the same, they're not the same name, they weren't a relative. How did this happen? The addresses were different. Everything."

Lake attorney Kurt Olsen told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson Wednesday that a review of data from the county showed at least 334,000 mail-in ballots were in effect not verified.

“Maricopa’s own log data shows that over 264,000 ballots were reviewed [for vote signature matches] at a rate less than 3 seconds [and] 70,000 at a rate of less than 2 seconds,” Olsen said.

“In addition, testimony that Level 2 reviewers were so overwhelmed that they simply didn’t look at the signatures that were piling up on their desk. They simply kicked them back for the Level 1 reviewers to take another look at,” the lawyer said.

VoteBeat Arizona journalist Jen Fifield reported in March, based on numbers she received from the county, that in the 2022 general election, “workers marked 18,510 signatures as ‘non-matching,’ and of those, 15,411 voters confirmed it was their ballot, or ‘cured’ their ballot. That led to 3,099 rejected for bad or missing signatures. Of those, 1,299 were missing signatures and 1,800 were bad.”

A total of approximately 1.5 million ballots were cast in Maricopa County in November.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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Written by: Randy DeSoto, The Western Journal



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