Maricopa election practice 'raises questions' about 2020, Arizona AG report

AG Mark Brnovich says Maricopa County revealed "serious vulnerabilities" in its election practice that "must be addressed."

Updated: April 7, 2022 - 10:30am

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The Arizona attorney general has released an "interim report" detailing what he describes as "serious vulnerabilities" in the Maricopa County voting system. 

"We have reached the conclusion that the 2020 election in Maricopa County revealed serious vulnerabilities that must be addressed and raises questions about the 2020 election in Arizona," wrote Attorney General Mark Brnovich in the report released Wednesday.

The 12-page report failed to issue a judgement on Maricopa's handling of the election but highlight enough issues pertaining to chain-of-custody ballot handling and voter ID concerns that Brnovich has called for a significant tightening of the rules around voting.

Maricopa includes the city of Phoenix and is the state's most populous county and the fourth-largest in the country. Democrat Joe Biden's narrow win in the state in the 2020 presidential elections over Republican President Donald Trump was pivotal in Biden's White House victory.  

The report also states Brnovich is preparing civil and criminal charges against select individuals who have been probed by the his office's Election Integrity Unit.

"The EIU’s review has uncovered instances of election fraud by individuals who have been or will be prosecuted for various election crimes," reads the report, according to the Washington Examiner.

The review was a followup to the Arizona state Senate's probe into the election practices of Maricopa.

Brnovich identified significant issues with signature-matching verification practices and chain-of-custody practices for ballots in a state in which an enormous part of the population voted by mail, amid the pandemic. 

"Whether we agree with peoples' reasons for questioning election integrity or not, we should go above and beyond our call of duty to assure Americans that each legal vote was counted, and no illegal votes were allowed," wrote Bronvich, a candidate in the state's 2022 GOP primary to replace Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly.

Among other issues identified in the report, Brnovich wrote that he found it difficult to get Maricopa officials to cooperate with his requests for information.

He also found that in a high number of cases, election officials were granted just five seconds (or less) to verify voter signatures on file with early voting ballots. About $8 million in outside funding and grants were used in the vote count, which is now illegal based on a recently passed measure – Mark Zuckerberg and his wife were responsible for more than 50% of that money.

There were also, according to the report, "multiple violations" in the handling and delivery to election offices of about 20% of ballots in drop boxes.

"We can report that there were problematic system-wide issues that relate to early ballot handling and verification," Brnovich wrote. "With each passing election, Americans on all sides of the political spectrum have less confidence in the integrity of our elections. This is a crisis that should be addressed immediately with bipartisan solutions grounded in the rule of law."