Kurt Olsen — the attorney representing Arizona Republican Kari Lake in her challenge of Democrat Katie Hobbs’ victory in November’s governor’s race — said in court Wednesday that a review of data from Maricopa County showed at least 334,000 mail-in ballots were in effect not verified.
By the official tally, 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.
“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 told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson.
“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.
“That’s not signature review, your honor,” Olsen said.
Kurt Olsen: “Maricopa’s own log data shows that over 264,000 ballots were reviewed at a rate less than 3 seconds and 70,000 at a rate of less than 2 seconds.
In addition, testimony that level 2 reviewers were so overwhelmed that they simply didn’t look at the signatures.” pic.twitter.com/JLPlcKWyUR
— Kari Lake War Room (@KariLakeWarRoom) May 17, 2023
The process in Maricopa County — the Phoenix metro area — 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.”
Olsen further said, “What that log data shows, your honor, is that over 274,000 ballots were approved at less than three seconds each. That includes one signature verifier who approved 100 percent of the 26,900 signatures that he verified at less than 3 seconds a signature.”
“Maricopa’s log file data shows that 11 of these signature verification workers approved 170,000 signatures at a rate of … between zero and 2.99 seconds with a 99.97 percent approval rating,” he said. “That’s not signature review, your honor. Simply flashing a signature on the screen, clicking a button and moving on is not signature review.”
Olsen added, “The evidence will show that Maricopa knew exactly what was going on. They could monitor each of their workers and in fact told them that they were being monitored.”
Lake’s legal team released video footage Monday of two reviewers sitting side by side while apparently verifying signatures on mail-in ballots.
Verification on the right side of the video took place at a fairly deliberate pace, with the screener taking time for the ballot image to load and seemingly reviewing it before going on to the next one.
However, on the left side of the video, it was a different story, with the man approving the ballots almost as fast as they loaded.
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In a Tuesday interview on Real America’s Voice, Lake told “War Room” host Steve Bannon, “This challenge is not simply about a few bad signatures. We are prepared to show the systemic failure of the entire signature verification process — the only way we have security on those mail-in ballots, by the way. And it’s a complete joke.”
“Signature verification is one of the only methods to verify that a mail-in ballot would be authentic, and the process we have in Maricopa County is a complete sham. They’re not following the law at all,” she said.
Lake told Bannon that her legal team met with three whistleblowers “who were intimately involved in the signature verification process in Maricopa County.”
“They speak of how they were rejecting tens of thousands of signatures, up to the tune of maybe 130,000 ballots. And then somewhere above them in the chain of command, they were just being sent on through,” the Republican said.
She asserted that because of this lax verification process, hundreds of thousands of bad ballots were injected into the system.
“We’re confident that the number of fraudulent ballots exceeds the 17,000 margin separating myself and Katie Hobbs in their count of the election,” Lake 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 whistleblower testified in Wednesday’s trial that there was not the same sense of urgency regarding voter verification during the general election as during the primary.
She said the county turned down reviewers’ offer to cure ballots identified as having mismatched signatures.
“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,” the whistleblower testified.
Whistleblower: “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… pic.twitter.com/ufxmQ6De3V
— Kari Lake War Room (@KariLakeWarRoom) May 17, 2023
County Recorder Stephen Richer defended Maricopa’s signature review process in the 2022 election, telling Fifield some improvements had been made since 2020.
She reported that the county “increased training for workers who review signatures, increased the signatures the workers had to compare, added an audit step for approved signatures, and increased the number of people doing the work, according to a Votebeat review of county documents and data.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.