Those wanting to learn more about one aspect of the recent Arizona Senate Audit can tune in Thursday morning for a live presentation by Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, who has raised questions about the county’s procedures for handling the 1.9 million early ballots cast in the 2020 General Election.
Ayyadurai, who holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in engineering systems, was contracted earlier this year by Senate President Karen Fann to review images of the affidavit envelopes used by voters to mail-in their ballot. A voter must sign a boxed area on the envelope in order for the ballot to be sent for tabulation.
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But in his Sept. 24 assessment report, Ayyadurai raised a number of questions about the various Standard Operating Procedures, elections protocols, and state laws which govern how a signature is verified against a voter’s registration file. He then challenged county officials to a joint public discussion about their answers.
After receiving no response, Ayyadurai decided to go ahead with a solo event to help voters understand why he now has even more questions than before about how Maricopa County conducts its elections.
“Audits are not conducted like games of ping-pong,” Ayyadurai told Arizona Daily Independent on Wednesday. “This back and forth, this not really answering questions and not providing auditors with the procedures is not how you do it.”
According to Ayyadurai, he is setting aside four hours Thursday for the presentation to ensure ample time to take audience questions after he addresses each of Maricopa County’s responses and explain why he now has even more questions.
The event can be watched live starting at 9 a.m. Arizona time via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF4nMoX0IkY and a recording will be available once the event is completed.
Ayyadurai’s assessment report to Fann noted that it appeared a large number of the envelope images contained no signature at all or just small stray marks. Whether any of those ballots were eventually counted is unclear because Maricopa County officials refused to cooperate with the Senate’s audit.
“Why are they afraid of voters knowing whether the procedures and laws were followed? Just give us the Standard Operating Procedures used in the 2020 election,” Ayyadurai said, adding that if Maricopa County is worried about opening the documents to public scrutiny, “then give them to the Senate or to the Attorney General.”
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has had his election integrity unit open an investigation into Maricopa County’s election process and the response of county officials to two subpoenas issued by the State Senate.
For his part, Ayyadurai stresses he is motivated by a purely scientific need to understand what Maricopa County did and why last November, and to propose improvements to the process.
“This is not a left or a right thing,” he insists. “Candidates from any party could be effected if an election system is squishy, as it is easier to rig it on either side. Why would anyone not want to have a solid election process?”
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[Read Dr. Ayyadurai’s original report HERE and his replies to Maricopa County HERE and HERE]