In case you didn't know it, here's the news:
After months of delays and blistering criticism, a review of the 2020 election in Arizona’s largest county, ordered up and financed by Republicans, has failed to show that former President Donald J. Trump was cheated of victory.
Instead, the report from the company Cyber Ninjas said it found just the opposite: It tallied 99 additional votes for President Biden and 261 fewer votes for Mr. Trump in Maricopa County, the fast-growing region that includes Phoenix.
“Truth is truth and numbers are numbers,” Karen Fann, the Republican Senate president who commissioned the vote review, said as the findings were presented to the State Senate on Friday.
This is from the Audit's Executive Summary. This is the reality:
What has been found is both encouraging and revealing. On the positive side there were no substantial differences between the hand count of the ballots provided and the official election canvass results for Maricopa County. This is an important finding because the paper ballots are the best evidence of voter intent and there is no reliable evidence that the paper ballots were altered to any material degree.
reality will not sway the Trump-mob:
After all the scurrying, searching, sifting, speculating, hand-counting and bamboo-hunting had ended, Republicans’ post-mortem review of election results in Arizona’s largest county wound up only adding to President Biden’s margin of victory there.
But for those who have tried to undermine confidence in American elections and restrict voting, the actual findings of the Maricopa County review that were released on Friday did not appear to matter in the slightest. Former President Donald J. Trump and his loyalists redoubled their efforts to mount a full-scale relitigation of the 2020 election.
Any fleeting thought that the failure of the Arizona exercise to unearth some new trove of Trump votes or a smoking gun of election fraud might derail the so-called Stop the Steal movement dissipated abruptly. As draft copies of the report began to circulate late Thursday, Trump allies ignored the new tally, instead zeroing in on the report’s specious claims of malfeasance, inconsistencies and errors by election officials.
So what were some of those specious claims?
[Doug Logan, CEO of Cyber Ninjas], claiming election results were deleted from Maricopa County’s election management system: “So some individual went into an application, and they chose specifically to run something that would clear all records in the system that was used to generate the official results, the day before an audit started.”
THE FACTS: No, the data never disappeared; it was just moved. Maricopa County officials made copies of the data and archived it before removing it from the election management system.
“We have backups for all Nov. data & those archives were never subpoenaed,” the county said in a statement on Twitter. County officials said data cannot be stored indefinitely on the election management system. “Cyber Ninjas don’t understand the business of elections,” the county said. “We can’t keep everything on the EMS server because it has storage limits.”
LOGAN: “23,344 people voted when they should no longer have access, or would not normally have access” to voting in Maricopa County because they have moved.
THE FACTS: No, that’s not what happened. Logan reviewed the names of voters against a commercial database of addresses, not a database of voters. He found that 23,344 reported moving before ballots went out in October. While the review suggests something improper, election officials note that voters such as college students, those who own vacation homes and military members, can move to temporary locations while still legally voting at the address where they are registered.
“A competent reviewer of an election would not make a claim like that,” said Trey Grayson, a former Republican secretary of state in Kentucky.
And the Maricopa County had some more info on this:
CLAIM: 23,344 mail-in ballots voted from a prior address.— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) September 24, 2021
BOTTOM LINE: Cyber Ninjas still don’t understand this is legal under federal election law. To label it a “critical” concern is either intentionally misleading or staggeringly ignorant. AZ senators should know this too.
And the report actually addresses this:
You're going to see a lot of people reference the number 23,344 in the coming hours. That's the number of people Cyber Ninjas said voted from a previous Maricopa County address in the 2020 election.— Joe Uchill (@JoeUchill) September 24, 2021
But the report itself notes that number doesn't imply 23,344 fraudulent votes.🧵 pic.twitter.com/o7LTxkbqwi
Then there's this from AZ Central:
Did Maricopa County count 17,000 “duplicate” ballots?
Analysis by Shiva Ayyadurai, or "Dr. Shiva" as he is known to far-right adherents, found what he called 17,322 “duplicate” ballot envelope images in the county’s files. These were different images of the same envelopes, with the same voter ID.
Just because there are multiple images of the same envelopes does not mean that the county counted the ballot inside more than once.
Sometimes there is more than one image of the same ballot envelope because, if there are issues with the original signature, the county takes an image of the same envelope multiple times as workers attempt to get a valid signature from the voter.
For example, if there is a blank signature, the county takes an image of the envelope before contacting the voter to attempt to get a signature. If the voter then signs the envelope, the county takes another photo.
Because the Senate’s subpoena asked for all envelope images, the county provided the Senate with all of the images, even those that did not have final signatures.
The county says it only counts the ballot inside once there is a valid signature.
And so on.
Real world example from Breitbart.
After rather quietly pointing out the truth:
At the presidential ballot level, the report found very little difference between “the results of the hand-recount of the Presidential Race of the Maricopa County Forensic Audit” and the Official Maricopa County Canvass.”
The Trump-patriots at Breitbart spend an inordinate amount of time talking about what they call in the headline "49,000 questionable votes."
The headline, of course, does not mention the reality that the audit showed Biden winning.
Then they break down those 49k.
- 23,344 mail-in ballots were counted from individuals who no longer lived at the address to which the mail-in ballot was sent. The audit called these “mail-in ballots voted from prior address” in the voter history phase. (critical impact)
We've dealt with this above.
- 9,041 more ballots returned by voters than received in the voter history phase. (high impact)
Maricopa tweeted a response to this:
CLAIM: 9,041 more ballots returned by voters than received— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) September 24, 2021
BOTTOM LINE: This suggests a lack of understanding about how EV 33 files work. It’s not unusual for more ballots to be returned by voters than received.
- 5,295 voters that potentially voted in multiple counties in the certified results phase. (high impact)
Mariacopa tweeted on the "multiple counties" issue:
EXPLANATION: 10,000+ votes in multiple counties is unlikely.— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) September 24, 2021
More likely: different people, same name. Example: if you search for Maria Garcia born in 1980, you’ll get 7 active voters in Maricopa County and 12 statewide. And that’s just one name.
ABC15 in Arizona goes further:
Public voter files in Arizona only contain the name, address, and year the person was born. This makes for a very weak match to other databases that would, at the very least, require a full date of birth. In a state with over 4.3 million active voters, there is a very real risk of false positives, two people with the same name and birth year. The audit report confirms that around 86,000 voters could not be matched to Melissa Data.
But even if the match is completely reliable… there are still issues.
There are two findings in the report marked “critical”; 23,344 people that the audit says voted from prior addresses and 10,342 potential voters that voted in multiple counties.
ABC15 provided a random sampling of the underlying data that the audit report used to make these claims.
Both reached the same conclusions. Most of the samples were false positives, meaning the person had the same name and birth year, but had a different driver's license and social security number on file.
They said there was no evidence of people voting in multiple counties.
- 3,432 more ballots cast than the list of people who show as having cast a vote. The audit called this group of ballots “official results does not match who voted,” in the certified results phase. (medium impact)
For this we go to Doug Logan, head of Cyber Ninjas himself:
Logan said one of the audit’s findings, that 3,432 more ballots were cast than were shown in a file of voters provided by the county, was resolved when election officials explained on Thursday that those voters didn’t show up in the files because their addresses are protected. The addresses of certain voters, such as law enforcement members, judges and domestic violence victims, are kept confidential under state law.
Do I need to keep going?
Biden won. Biden won Maricopa County. The Cyber Ninjas "audit" was a waste of time and money.