A long-awaited audit of the 2020 presidential election results in Arizona’s largest county showed Friday that President Biden defeated former President Donald Trump by slightly more votes than certified in last year’s official count, although Republican leaders said the review raises significant concerns of voter fraud and election security.
The audit of the election in Maricopa County, conducted by the firm Cyber Ninjas, showed that Mr. BIden won the county by 45,469 votes, 360 more votes than the 45,109-vote margin originally certified.
State Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, said it’s true that Mr. Biden’s margin of victory increased slightly in the audit by “a few hundred” votes.
But she said the review revealed that election laws were broken, and the ballot “chain of custody” was not always followed.
“We had a number of issues, which is why people question the ballots in the election,” she said. “What this is all about is making sure your vote counts.”
She said the Senate will send an unredacted version of the report to the state attorney general for “further investigation on these ‘anomalies.’”
Republican state Sen. Warren Petersen said it was “unfortunate” that the review amounts to “an incomplete audit” due to lack of cooperation from Maricopa County officials.
“This report should help the Senate understand what has been working, what needs improvement, and whether further investigation by law enforcement should occur,” he said.
The vote totals certified in December by state officials showed that Mr. Biden defeated Mr. Trump in Arizona by 10,457 votes. He was the first Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1996 to win the state.
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers, a Republican, said the findings mean “the tabulation equipment counted the ballots as they were designed to do, and the results reflect the will of the voters.”
“That should be the end of the story. Everything else is just noise,” Mr. Sellers said in a statement.
The Republican-ordered recount of nearly 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa took six months and cost more than $6 million. State Republican legislators subpoenaed Maricopa County’s ballots and tabulating machines, over the objections of county officials, and provided the material to outside contractors.
Doug Logan, CEO of Cyber Ninjas, said the county’s official canvass showed a “discrepancy” of 3,432 more ballots cast than the list of voters who actually voted. He said county officials recently explained to him that the remaining voters were “protected” voters such as judges and “battered women” who are concerned about their addresses being published.
“I can’t validate whether that’s accurate,” Mr. Logan testified.
Mr. Logan also said at least 23,344 voters should not have voted by mail-in ballot because they no longer lived at the mailing address where they were publicly listed. He said 5,047 voters may have voted in more than one county.
He said duplicate ballots actually favored Mr. Trump by a margin of 58% to 33%, with a third candidate receiving the rest.
Mr. Logan also said 282 “potentially deceased” voters voted in the election. “We tried to validate the stuff very, very precisely,” he said. “It can be a difficult thing to match up voter rolls to individuals.”
Shiva Ayyadurai — or “Dr. Shiva” as he is known to his conservative fans — told legislators Friday that more than 4,000 mail-in ballots in Maricopa should not have been sent for signature verification due to “non-signatures” or “scribbles” on the envelopes. He also said out of more than 1.9 million early voting ballots, only 587 were rejected for “bad signatures.”
A former U.S. Senate candidate who works in the field of “pattern recognition,” Mr. Ayyadurai was hired as part of the audit. He said the audit firms were not asked to perform actual signature verification.
He said the state’s signature verification process is “unverifiable,” and needs to be improved.
Mr. Trump said in a statement Friday that the report “conclusively shows there were enough fraudulent votes, mystery votes, and fake votes to change the outcome of the election four or five times over.” He cited 23,344 mail-in ballots from voters who Cyber Ninjas said were no longer living at an address on file with election officials, and 10,342 people who “voted in multiple counties.”
“Just those fraudulent ballots alone total 50,252, and is fraud many more times than the so-called margin of ‘victory,’ which was only 10,457,” Mr. Trump said. “In addition, election data appears to have been intentionally deleted, and ballot images were ‘corrupt or missing.’ There is fraud and cheating in Arizona and it must be criminally investigated!”
He called the audit “a big win for democracy and a big win for us — shows how corrupt the election was.”
The report did not show that ballots were cast or counted fraudulently, but said more investigation is needed. Cyber Ninjas compared voter registration rolls with information from a commercially available address-validation tool, and acknowledged that a “small percentage of error is expected.”
Democrats said the audit proves that the election was not “stolen” from Mr. Trump, as he has argued since last November.
“As we have known for nearly a year, the 2020 Arizona election was a success — not for any one party or individual, but as a demonstration of the will of Arizona voters,” said Sen. Krysten Sinema, Arizona Democrat. “It has been deeply troubling to see state leaders wasting time and taxpayer money sowing doubt about the election when no credible evidence of irregularities exists. Arizona has offered early voting for more than 100 years, and our vote-by-mail system includes strict safeguards.”
She said eight challenges contesting the election results in federal and state court were all withdrawn or dismissed.
“The Arizona election produced bipartisan results, in which members of both parties won races — and these results have been confirmed by stakeholders across the political spectrum,” Ms. Sinema said.
Democrats in Washington have asked Mr. Logan to testify at a House Oversight Committee hearing on Oct. 7.
The House Oversight Committee, which is investigating the Arizona ballot review, sent a letter to Mr. Logan Monday night requesting his testimony at an Oct. 7 hearing.
“This request follows your repeated refusal to produce documents requested by the committee regarding this largely privately funded audit,” Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney of New York and Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland wrote to Mr. Logan. “As a result of your obstruction, your participation in a committee hearing is necessary for the committee to advance the investigation of the questionable audit your company performed and to examine whether this audit is interfering with Americans’ right to vote free from partisan interference.”