Republican Arizona Attorney General Effectively Admits Maricopa County 2020 Election Review Did Not Find Fraud
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s Republican attorney general released an interim report on his review of the 2020 election in Maricopa County on Wednesday that raised concerns about certain election procedures but provided no evidence of major problems despite six months of investigation.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who is competing in a tough GOP primary for the U.S. Senate, broadly reiterated concerns raised by a widely criticized election review conducted last year by supporters of former President Donald Trump on behalf of Republicans. of the State Senate.
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Brnovich is courting Trump‘s endorsement for his Senate run, which would give him a significant boost in an area with no clear Republican frontrunner to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly.
“Trump, the former president, has repeatedly spoken out about the pace of Brnovich’s review of the 2020 election and said people are wondering if the attorney general ‘is ready to do the right thing’ .”
Arizona has been ground zero thanks to efforts by Trump and his allies to find proof of their claim that Trump’s narrow loss here was tainted with fraud. The former president has repeatedly spoken out about the pace of Brnovich’s review of the 2020 election and said people are wondering if the attorney general “is ready to do the right thing.”
In Wednesday’s 12-page letter to Republican Senate Speaker Karen Fann, Brnovich said some of the forms documenting the transport of ballots were missing signatures or other information. The issue has been widely discussed among Trump supporters who falsely claim the election was stolen from him, but no evidence of tampering has been produced, and Brnovich has offered none.
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Brnovich also claimed election officials were working too quickly to verify voter signatures on mail-in ballots. He suggested several changes, including requiring voters to provide additional information such as a driver’s license number, adopting uniform statewide standards for accepting or rejecting signatures, and allowing partisan observers to monitor and challenge the signature verification process.
He also argues that a drop in the number of ballots with rejected signatures between 2016 and 2018 and again in 2020 warrants scrutiny. That he rightly notes that the law has been changed for 2020 to give voters five days after the election to resolve any issues.
Brnovich also complained about the slowness of county officials in responding to his requests for information. County officials have previously said they are cooperating but also need to focus on conducting local elections while gathering the wide range of documents Brnovich has requested.
He asked the legislature to give him subpoena power to force county officials to quickly turn over the documents he requests, and added a list of recommendations for tightening election procedures.
“The Attorney General’s Interim Report on the 2020 Maricopa County Election includes no new evidence, nothing that would have changed the results, and nothing that should cause people to question the overall health of our electoral system,” a said Maricopa County Secretary Stephen Richer and the Board of Directors. supervisors, Chairman Bill Gates, both Republicans, said in a statement. The clerk and council jointly oversee elections in the county.
They noted that Brnovich did not respond to several debunked claims made by Trump allies, including that the election computers were connected to the Internet and that the data had been illegally deleted.
Fann called the report a “historic day for voter integrity in Arizona.”
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“We wanted an entity with prosecutorial power to validate the missteps revealed by our audit, and this interim report does just that,” she said. “The AG’s findings on failures, fraud, and potential misconduct in the 2020 Maricopa County election are not surprising, given the lack of compliance and cooperation that Maricopa County election officials have had. displayed from the beginning.”
Brnovich’s letter to Fann said his Election Integrity Entity “has uncovered instances of voter fraud by individuals who have been or will be prosecuted for various election crimes.” But none of the lawsuits in Arizona have anything to do with the way the election was handled, and none reveal a case of malfeasance by election officials or workers.
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The attorney general has admitted filing criminal charges against nine people across the state for voting crimes stemming from the 2020 general election, where more than 3.4 million ballots were cast. Of those cases, only two were in Maricopa County, and both involved people who illegally filled out the ballot of their relative, who died shortly before the election.
One woman is awaiting her reduced felony sentence, and the other has already completed the probation she received after pleading guilty in December. Brnovich’s office revealed the case on Wednesday, but did not say how the crime was discovered. The first case came to light after a group of citizens went through lists of recently deceased people who could have voted and handed it to the attorney general.
Also on Wednesday, the attorney general announced that a woman from Cochise County in southern Arizona pleaded guilty to voting for her late mother’s ballot.
Under a plea deal, the woman will be sentenced to probation and could receive up to 60 days in jail for a low-level felony that could be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Following a thorough internal review of his election, the Maricopa County Department of Elections in January assigned Brnovich 38 cases of potential voter fraud he uncovered while reviewing his 2.1 million ballots from the 2020 general election. They included five people who could have voted in more than one county and six who could have voted twice in Maricopa County. The county also located 27 voters who may have died before their ballots were mailed back.
Death certificates are automatically sent to state and county election officials so their voter registrations can be revoked, but if they occur within two months of an election, a relative may be able to return. their mail-in ballot envelope. This has happened in most of the cases The Associated Press has tracked since the 2020 election. The other charges come from felons who allegedly voted.
The AP spent months last year tracking potential voter fraud cases in Arizona and other battleground states and found few cases, despite Trump’s claim of voter fraud. widespread. In Arizona, the AP’s initial tally from July was below 200. That figure dropped after Pima County completed its review of 151 potential voter fraud cases and concluded none deserved to be investigated. criminal charges.
Since then, only a handful of new criminal cases have been filed.
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