A lot has been said about election integrity in the past few years. It's been a divisive topic because the people who challenge election results are often the losers. The winner's "side" can't reconcile the fact that maybe, just maybe, their candidate didn't win, so they embark on a quest of sheer cognitive dissonance, not caring that they, too, are disenfranchised by an election devoid of any shred of integrity.
They scream, "Grifter! No evidence!" They mock those who attempt to ensure one of our most sacred rights is protected for all people. The movement to "fix" our election issues knows that when fixed, everyone's vote will count. I am consistently stunned at the vitriol with which the "other side" attacks those who seem to care more about their attacker's vote being counted than the person doing the attacking does.
The 2020 election aside, I don't think another election in modern history has been so transparently broken/stolen/mismanaged to the point of utter chaos than the Arizona midterm election in 2022. It was so clearly a mess that to deny such, in order to proclaim "there is no evidence, and a judge said so too!" you must literally twist yourself into a pretzel and bury your head in the sand. I will review just a few of the most egregious issues with the hopes that this may serve as a resource for those who still give a damn about living in a free country. This isn't detailed or even fulsome; however, our more detailed reporting is linked throughout.
Improper Ballot Image Size and the Curious Case of the Heat Maps
In 2022, there were serious technical issues for voters. The majority of these issues occurred across Maricopa County, a county that represents 62% of the total population of the state. On election day, reports began flowing in that people could not get their ballots to scan once they voted. Arizona has print-on-demand ballots, so voters can go to any voting precinct, provide their address, and get the ballot representing their area. There were 7,000 ballots rejected by the machines every HALF HOUR in Maricopa County from 6-8 PM, never mind the rest of the day.
Voters were assured that their ballots would be counted if placed in a separate drawer. We later learned through election workers' affidavits that no suitable procedure was followed to ensure those ballots were treated properly. We also learned that 19" ballot images had been printed on 20" paper, a problem the county knew about and was allegedly investigating, as it had also happened in the previous two elections.
The County supervisors didn't tell anyone they were aware of this issue and were in the midst of a root cause analysis to figure out how it happened. They kept that from the public.
So, thousands and thousands of voters cast their ballots on 19" images printed on 20" paper. Those ballots needed to be duplicated to proper sizes and scanned to be counted. We later learned that Robert Jarrett, the elections director, could not produce a SINGLE duplicated ballot, and none of the processes was followed to have those duplicated ballots attached to the original. We learned that only because Kari Lake was granted the ability to have an expert (Clay Parikh) spend just a few hours at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC) and look at certain batches of ballots.
Adding insult to injury, in what may have been the most obvious and blatant case of perjury we have seen in a trial of national significance in a long, long time, the "co-elections director" lied when testifying about these issues during the Lake v. Hobbs trial.
Additionally, Maricopa County had "heat" maps hanging in their offices. There were conflicting stories about these "heat" maps, which separated voters by their voting party. Officials from the Maricopa Recorders office said they were glorified wall art. Officials from the Maricopa County Elections Department said they helped the election office to prepare for elections. What no one could explain, however, was why those printer issues we have been discussing occurred almost exclusively in Republican "hot" zones.
We are being told that because a judge took Maricopa's word for it, everything was on the up and up, and we should sit back and be confident they aren't lying to us. They want us to believe that, as their witness lied to a judge while under oath and on the witness stand.
They said it wasn't possible for a 19" image to print on 20" paper. When they were found out, they said that someone probably just bumped the printer, even though that happened exclusively in Republican-heavy voting areas, areas they had a map hanging on the wall to identify. When an expert debunked the theory that a printer could've been bumped or settings changed, they finally admitted the issue happened. When questioned further, they admitted that not only had it happened, but it had also occurred in two previous elections. They don't know why, and they are still investigating the problem.
We went from "it is impossible that the issue you describe happened" to "yea, it happened, but only because a tech made a local error" to "yes, it happened on a wide scale, we can't show you how we duplicated the ballots that were affected because we didn't attach them as we should, and we are investigating this with a root cause analysis because it just seems to keep happening every election."
Spare me, "no evidence" crowd. If this were your candidate, you'd be camped outside the recorder's office with a bullhorn chanting "No Justice, No Peace!" at all hours of the morning. Be honest with yourself.
Chain of Custody Issues
Chain of Custody is one of the most important tenets of an election. Honest brokers do everything they can to maintain the Chain of Custody. The path of a ballot, its stops along the way, and who moves and counts them are critical to an honest election. There are pages and pages of procedure written regarding election-related Chain of Custody. We learned in this election that Maricopa didn't follow its own policy.
This column would become voluminous should we delve into the particulars of every Chain of Custody violation, so we will focus on the most egregious. Heather Honey, an expert witness for Kari Lake at trial, testified to numerous ways Chain of Custody procedures weren't followed, including that Maricopa County called its vendor, Runbeck, to get an accurate tally of the number of votes cast. Maricopa County is supposed to know that at all times. Otherwise, anyone can insert ballots into the batch as it travels, and no one would be the wiser.
While covering this case, I was shocked when I learned that, yes, in fact, ballots were injected into the count. We know this because an employee who witnessed it told us so in a sworn affidavit. Additionally, Honey filed a Request for Information with Maricopa County asking for the Chain of Custody slips that were supposed to accompany each batch of ballots along the way. The County could provide none of those slips.
During testimony, in a fit of legal wrangling, defense attorneys asked Ms. Honey a series of questions designed to allow the judge an "out" with the Chain of Custody issues. The fact remains that the slips have not been produced to this day, and one would think, given the amount of scrutiny, Maricopa County would be jumping to provide them.
There is much more where that came from, but ultimately the Chain of Custody for over 275,000 ballots can not be determined. Maricopa County could clear that up immediately by producing the Chain of Custody slips they have assured us they have. None have been produced to date, and no judge has required their production.
With the advent of mail-in voting, signature matching is critical to a fair election. After all, you want to ensure that the ballot being presented is actually voted by the person it is assigned to, right? You would think this would be a big concern to many, as it is one of the single biggest opportunities to taint an election.
In the 2022 Arizona election, several whistleblowers working for the County to verify signatures stepped forward to sign sworn affidavits explaining their concerns—and document that process and procedure weren't followed. Naysayers to our efforts to ensure fair elections count on confusing you into thinking that Ms. Lake was challenging the process itself, not whether it was followed. Incorrect. Kari Lake challenged the adherence to the process.
The sworn affidavits document several claims, from the speed at which signatures were verified to the fact that a small percentage of them actually matched—and of the ones that did not match, few, if any, were returned down the line to be remedied. The affidavits also alleged that stickers were handed out—outside of the scope of procedure—to be affixed to ballots that had allegedly been cured, even though most were not.
In response to the claims, Maricopa County attacked its workers. They stated they weren't trained well enough, couldn't possibly know the process, or were simply misinformed about how things work. Tens of thousands of ballots with mismatched signatures were added to the final count, tainting the entire election and leaving the results in question.
Critics will say that those concerned about all of this have "no evidence." I've just scratched the surface of the evidence that is available. And that brings another issue to the forefront because the system makes it virtually impossible to adjudicate an election once it is finished. File too early; your suit is dismissed because you don't have standing yet. File too late; a technicality causes a dismissal because you waited for just a second too long. Couple that with the fact that judges have been absolutely unfair when litigating election integrity issues, and it seems hopeless.
The judge in the Lake case legitimately ignored dozens and dozens of pieces of hard evidence that called the election into question while requiring Ms. Lake to prove intent. The judge granted her a few short days of extremely limited discovery and five and a half hours of trial time to present their case. They had hundreds of sworn affidavits and dozens of witnesses who would have testified. It's akin to forcing the government to litigate a complex murder case within two days of arresting their suspect.
Having watched the trial and covered this in detail for months, I can say that in a just world, Ms. Lake and her team proved their case even under the ridiculous (and incorrect, in the opinion of many legal scholars) standards hoist upon them. You have to be blind not to see it.
They Ask us to Believe What?
In conclusion, I want you to understand what the people who refuse to acknowledge the fraud in this election are asking you to believe. They are asking you to believe that an election where election officials lied to the public, refused to provide information as required by law, didn't follow process and procedure, and legitimately perjured themselves on the stand was a free and fair election. They ask you to believe that Maricopa County election officials lied in dozens, if not hundreds, of sworn affidavits. First-person accounts and sworn affidavits aren't evidence or proof, they say.
They ask you to believe that the alignment of the issues at the tabulator and heavy Republican vote centers is a mere coincidence. They ask you to believe they aren't biased when the County Recorder created a SuperPAC specifically targeting one candidate. They ask you to disregard everything that went wrong that day and not to trust your eyes and ears. Their requirement for "evidence" is likely a videotaped or recorded conversation of an election official admitting they did all of this on purpose, and even that wouldn't be enough. After all, "their" candidate won.
Worse still, our justice system has ignored these issues and more because justices are too cowardly to rule with the required principles. Because of this, Arizona has a slate of leadership that the people did not choose. Whoever you are, that should scare the living daylights out of you. If it doesn't, I pity you and your future.
The mismanagement of the Arizona election was egregious. And the proof is so abundant only a fool could argue otherwise. Don't be a fool.