The Maricopa County forensic audit of the 2020 election is once again in the spotlight this time with auditors claiming to have found major issues with the way election officials have handled ballots.
This according to a letter written by the Arizona State Senate President to the board of supervisors. The letter states that the audit team has discovered numerous omissions, inconsistencies and anomalies relating to the county’s handling, organization and storage of ballots.
II. Chain of Custody and Ballot Organization Anomalies:
As the audit has progressed, the Senate’s contractors have become aware of apparent omissions, inconsistencies, and anomalies relating to Maricopa County’s handling, organization, and storage of ballots. We hope you can assist us in understanding these issues, including specifically the following:
*The County has not provided any chain-of-custody documentation for the ballots. Does such documentation exist, and if so, will it be produced?
*The bags in which the ballots were stored are not sealed, although the audit team has found at the bottom of many boxes cut seals of the type that would have sealed a ballot bag. Why were these seals placed at the bottom of the boxes?
* Batches within a box are frequently separated by only a divider without any indication of the corresponding batch numbers. In some cases, the batch dividers are missing altogether. This lack of organization has significantly complicated and delayed the audit team’s ballot processing efforts. What are the County’s procedures for sorting, organizing, and packaging ballot batches?
*Most of the ballot boxes were sealed merely with regular tape and not secured by any kind of tamper-evident seal. Is that the County’s customary practice for storing ballots?
*The audit team has encountered a significant number of instances in which there is a disparity between the actual number of ballots contained in a batch and the total denoted on the pink report slip accompanying the batch. In most of these instances, the total on the pink report slip is greater than the number of ballots in the batch, although there are a few instances in which the total is lower. What are the reasons for these discrepancies?
(in other words When auditors received the boxes of ballots, the tamper-proof tape was cut and the number of ballots inside the boxes was not the number reported by the County reporter)
I am hopeful that we can constructively resolve these issues and questions without recourse to additional subpoenas or other compulsory processes. To that end, I invite you and any other officers or employees of Maricopa County (to include officials in the Elections Department) who possess knowledge or information concerning the matters set forth above to a meeting at the Arizona State Capitol on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. in Hearing Room 109.
Chairman Petersen, former Secretary Bennett, and I will attend the meeting, which will be live-streamed to the public.
Please let me know at your earliest convenience whether you accept my invitation and, if so, which Maricopa County personnel will attend. Thank you for your cooperation on these important issues of public concern.
Respectfully, Karen Fann,
President Arizona State Senate