Must Read: Recap of Monday’s Presentation by Maricopa Co-Directors of Elections
The Maricopa County’s Board of Supervisors held their election hearing and certification vote today. The election marketing team has had 3 weeks to prepare today’s presentation. They used data that supports their narrative that “every vote was counted” and avoided details that support the massive amount of disenfranchised voters. Maricopa County has two Co-Directors of Elections. One answers to the Supervisor Board (Scott Jarrett), the other (Rey Valenzuela) to the County Recorder. The presentation by these Directors tries to bury issues raised by voters, and candidates.
Scott Jarrett explained there were several polling place issues. Although mostly with printers, tabulators had problems too. Maricopa uses an on-demand Sentio Ballot Printing system provided by vendor Runbeck. After a voter is checked in at a polling place, it prints their ballot. The county uses Lexmark printers purchased in 2021, and OKI printers purchased in 2020. Jarrett explains only the older OKI printers caused ballot problems. To prove issues were not specific to Republican areas, he displayed a “heat map” showing the location where OKI printers are used. This sleight of hand avoided showing all the locations where tabulators had problems.
Both Directors focused on topics of little public concern right now. County Supervisor Gallardo (D) expanded these topics to eat up more time. Director Valenzuela discussed Military and Overseas ballots, signature verification, the BeBallotReady to check ballot status, and so on. To prove there was no voter disenfranchisement on election day, Director Jarrett compared voter turnout to previous years. He said Republican turnout in 2022 was 75.4%, as compared to 74.2% in 2018. Both the Democrats were down 1.4%, and Independents were down .7% in 2022. Comparing turnout to a time when voter trust was substantially higher, and during a strong economy, is another sleight of hand trick.
The County provided no data on voters who left lines, were rejected at other locations, and so on. They provided voter support volume but since September 1st. This purposely avoided support details about call and email volume for election day, and shortly after. In every topic they discussed, the data is slanted in the favor of the County, or to obscure further insight into certain issues.
When tabulators couldn’t read the ballot, voters were asked to insert it into a slot below called “Door 3”. This large blue bin has a divider inside. The tabulated ballots go into the back portion. Ballots that are not counted go into the front portion, called Door 3. County Supervisor Hickman asked about polling place repair times. Jarrett says ”It took us a little while to figure out what the issue was. By about 8:30 AM we had technicians onsite and in our command center. The marks were not printing dark enough on the backside of the ballots. At 10:14 AM we recognized a potential fix, adjusting the heat settings on the OKI printers.” They tested it at one site, then at other sites. By about 11:30 AM they started talking to poll workers over the phone about how to adjust the printer settings.
Jarrett provided detailed data on polling location fixes, down the minute. But when asked when the last printer was fixed, he said “I don’t have that data”. Many suggest the fixes didn’t occur until as late as 3-4 PM on election day. Jarrett says “We’ve expanded it to now 84 polling locations that turned in a service ticket related to either a printer or tabulator.” Again, the County purposely avoided showing a map of just these 84 out of 223 voting locations. Jarrett says “We were able to confirm 43 of those needed printer settings changed. A couple of our tabulators did not have enough power from the outlet.” This explanation accounts for 45 of the 84 locations. They provided no explanations for the remaining 39 locations.
Jarrett explained a little over 10% of all ballots inserted into “Door 3” had ambiguous marks on the ovals. Jarrett says “We also have the potential of a voter using a very thing writing utensil such as a ballpoint pen, then using a check mark or an X in the oval. Precinct-based tabulators are programmed to NOT accept ambiguous marks. If a voter doesn’t fill in a sufficient amount of the oval, it’s going to tell the voter they need to revote or put it in Door 3.” GP reported on this previously, a video of a voter’s ballot forced to adjudication.
After the August primary, they realized they had to move to a 20” tall ballot, instead of the normal 19” ballot. Jarrett says this is due to the large “number of contests”. By mid-September, they only had a couple of days to test the new 20” ballot. It had to be sent to the print vendor to make mailing deadlines. Jarrett explained this is why more testing on these printers wasn’t done. However, most ballots had a lot of blank space on the back, after the last Propositions. So what specific precincts of Maricopa had so many election choices the entire County required the use of a new 20” tall ballot?
Although the “Door 3” chaos is the most discussed topic by Maricopa voters, Jarrett only spent 3 minutes explaining it. Most of this time he complained about misinformation, and how other counties use a similar process. He compared using “Door 3” to getting a flat tire, and not using your spare and said: “Every single one of those ballots ended up being counted at the elections department”.
Jarrett brought in a black canvas bag used by all polling places. Ballots are removed from the sealed bins that sit under the tabulators. They are inserted into these canvas bags, along with the tally sheet, and memory card. The canvas bag is sealed with a security strap. Why not just deliver the sealed bin and leave the ballots untouched? Jarrett says there were only 2 locations that mixed uncounted ballots with tabulated ballots. In one case the divider was missing from inside the bin. In another instance, poll workers put both un-tabulated and tabulated ballots in the same canvas bag. He never explained if ballots were also put in trash bags.
Jarrett went on to explain how secure and safe this “canvas bag” ballot transfer system is. However, in 2018 a judge ordered an inspection of ballots at four Maricopa “Emergency Voting Centers”. GOP staff noticed an overwhelming amount of mail-in ballots came from these 4 locations. During that audit, it was discovered the ballots were purposely mixed into the boxes of other polling locations. This was done by someone inside the Maricopa County election warehouse. So much for Jarrett’s security speech, the weakness in this system was revealed just 4 years ago. Steven Richter conducted this audit on behalf of the GOP and was given only 1 week by the judge. He failed, again.
Jarrett discussed how they manipulate inaccurate election data. When ballots are accidentally mixed together by a polling place, the County deletes the entire batch from the EMS server (Election Management System). They take the ballots collected from that location and run them through a tabulator again. This supposedly updates the election server with the new and correct totals for that polling place. GOP Poll watchers are not allowed to supervise either of the Dominion employees who make these changes to the database. There is no supervision, and likely no chain of custody around these events.
Director Valenzuela said only 16,800 ballots failed signature verification. This 1.28% of the 1.3 million early ballots is an incredibly low and questionable percentage. Valenzuela compares this result to the corrupt 2020 signature validation in Maricopa where 20,000 of 2 million didn’t match. Witnesses testified that Maricopa’s signature validation was completely turned off during the 2020 election, per Valenzuela’s orders. Signature rejections typically range from 3-6%. This comparison by Valenzuela was laughable and in your face.
They displayed wait times for polling places on election day. Wait times are created by handing the voter at the end of the line a tracking card. When this voter reaches the check-in station, their time in line is recorded and reported to the county. When chaos erupts, this data is almost useless. It makes no consideration for people who leave. If the line is 25 people long, and 15 people leave because the tabulators are not working, it moves the tracking card faster to the front. There is no consideration for voters standing in the tabulation lines, the time spent spoiling a ballot and starting over, and so on. The County is relying heavily on this type of data to prove there was no voter disenfranchisement.
Jarrett said the mail-in ballots that were dropped off on election day represented 20% of all mail-in ballots. He explained how these ballots are inserted into blue boxes with tamper resistant seals. The boxes are picked up and delivered to MCTEC central tabulation where “we organize all of them”. They re-package and sent to print vendor Runbeck where their envelope signature is scanned.
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