Support Just the News

Help Fund Honest Journalism

Donate

Arizona audit reportedly found 'potentially thousands' of duplicated ballots without serial numbers

State Senate hearing sought to assess current findings of audit.

Updated: July 16, 2021 - 12:27am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A state official in Arizona on Thursday said the state Senate's audit of Maricopa County's 2020 election results revealed "potentially thousands" of missing serial numbers on ballot copies that had been duplicated from damaged originals. 

In the state Senate hearing on Thursday, Senate Liaison Ken Bennett described the process by which election workers duplicate a ballot. "If a ballot gets damaged and has to be sent to duplication, there is a very specific process in the [state] elections procedure manual," he said. That process involves applying matching serial numbers to both original and duplicated ballots.

"We found, I would have to say, thousands of duplicate ballots where those serial numbers are not on them," he said. "And so it has created great difficulty to try to match up a duplicated ballot to its duplicate."

Bennett said many serial numbers were applied with a "dot-matrix printer" atop border lines around the ballot, a mixup which "made for some very difficult matching of duplicated ballots and their duplicates."

"One of the most important things you need to do when you duplicate ballots is reflect the serial number on [the two ballots] so that you can do two main things," he said. "One, make sure you have one for every one of the other and two, make sure that you can look at the votes reflected on the duplicated ballot to make sure they reflected those correctly from the ballot that was damaged and was duplicated."

During his testimony, state Senate President Karen Fann asked Bennet: "If the corresponding numbers aren't on there, how would you know whether it was duplicated once or ten times?" To which Bennett responded: "You wouldn't."

The ongoing Maricopa audit is expected to continue for a few more weeks.