PHOENIX, AZ – An interim report issued Wednesday by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich investigating allegations of widespread voter fraud related to the 2020 presidential election in Maricopa County has raised concerns over multiple voting procedures and vulnerabilities that the AG said should be addressed in future elections.
Six months into his investigation, Brnovich – a Republican who is vying for a U.S. Senate seat – stated that his office “has left no stone unturned in the aftermath of the 2020 election” in a letter sent to Arizona Senate President Karen Fann.
The investigation was fueled by claims by former President Donald Trump that he lost the 2020 election to challenger Joe Biden due to widespread voter fraud. Trump lost Arizona to Biden by less than 10,500 votes.
Previously, Brnovich was dismissive of claims of voter fraud in 2020, saying shortly after the election that “if indeed there was some great conspiracy” to steal votes from Republicans, “it apparently didn’t work.”
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“There is no evidence, there are no facts that would lead anyone to believe that the election results will change,” Brnovich said.
However, after enduring criticism from Trump and multiple Arizona Republicans – and announcing his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Mark Kelly – Brnovich changed his tune and began his office’s investigation into the election.
Wednesday’s report noted that “instances of fraud” were discovered by individuals who have been – or will be – “prosecuted for various election crimes” that purportedly took place during the 2020 election.
It also chronicled issues that the AG’s office repeatedly encountered with Maricopa County election officials and their alleged reluctance to cooperate with requests for data and documentation relating to the investigation; as a result, Brnovich has recommended amending laws regarding subpoena power and their enforcement.
The report also outlined several “serious vulnerabilities” involving electoral procedures, including the signature verification process and the transportation of ballots from drop box locations.
In particular, it was reported that between 100,000 to 200,000 ballots in just Maricopa County broke established chain of custody, which is a set of established procedures that refers to the processes, or paper trail, that documents the transfer of materials from one person (or place) to the next.
Brnovich also claimed that the investigation “uncovered multiple violations of ballot transportation procedures,” a class two misdemeanor. (A.R.S. 16-452 1.7). including 381 forms from 1,895 early voting ballot transportation statements that had missing required information.
One of the main issues that the Brnovich report uncovered regarding election integrity concerned early ballot signature verifications – which he said were not at a level that would prevent abuse – and urged the state legislature to enact changes that would add additional layers of verification security.
In his letter to Fann, Brnovich concluded that his investigation is still ongoing and that “we are therefore limited in what we can disclose about specific criminal and civil investigations.”
The report is the latest of a series of investigations into Arizona’s 2020 election; a previous audit conducted by the Florida-based company Cyber Ninjas – which has since gone out of business – confirmed that Biden defeated Trump in vote totals, but claimed to have uncovered issues with “thousands” of ballots in the process.
Cyber Ninjas’ results, however, were heavily disputed by Maricopa County voting officials, who alleged that they contained “misleading, inaccurate, and false” claims.