Additional findings given to UncoverDC by Jovan Hutton Pulitzer on Sunday show a large batch of anomalous ballots which he reports share “odd common characteristics.” These 140,000 ballots are “an island within a sea of other ballots.” In other words, they stand apart from the other 1.9 million images tallied in the Maricopa County 2020 General Election.

After months of back and forth with the Maricopa Board of Supervisors over the release of router and Splunk logs, the county finally turned over an additional hard drive with images. The drive allegedly contained 140,000 “missing” images and was “turned over to the audit team on the new drive (not the same drives as all 1.9m other images). It is partly because of this delay in the release that Hutton’s findings are just now being released. Hutton believes his kinematic artifact detection report shows these additional ballot images indicate “additional supporting evidence these anomalous ballots were “inserted” into the election to “manufacture a predetermined outcome” for the election.” It may well be a coincidence, but back in May of 2021, The Arizona GOP Senate voted to purge 140,000 voters from the state’s Permanent Early Voting List. Dirty voter rolls are notorious sources of illegal votes. 

The forensic audit confirmed a number of anomalies as well as what appears to be either sloppy handling of the ballots or blatant neglect of Arizona election laws. His additional findings show:

  1. The alteration of digital logs that show what “actually happened during the election.”
  2. An additional drive that showed in excess of 140,000 ballots that “DID NOT display the same file structure as the previous 1.9m ballots did not have the same batching and logging, which confirms they were actually part of the Dominion EMS Software, which tallies the results.”
  3. “Additionally, these specific ballots bore no resemblance to be of the same nature/structure as all the other ballots cast in the 2020 Election, yet these images showed up months later after the audit began.”

Whereas the other 1.9 million ballots had the correct headers and markings, the additional batch did not. A correct ballot image contains a header that is readable, “the Tabulator which tallied the ballot, the batch number, the number of the ballot within the batch as it was run, and then the exact date and time stamp of when the ballot was tallied in the system.” This data is essential to track and verify a ballot as it is tallied.

The additional drive with the 140,000 ballots shows an entirely different but consistent set of data. All of the additional ballots are missing the header information that is so critical to the legal tracking of ballots. The type font size is larger and the margin is missing to the left of the data. Hutton believes the missing information shows “someone went into either the system or the images themselves and altered the image to cut off the date time stamp.” That means the “images are completely void of any mechanical proof these ballots were actually scanned by the tally machines.” Notably, the ballots with the “‘intentionally removed time-stamp’ are for ballots that specifically occurred on election day.

Additionally, the report demonstrates that the additional ballots show a change in rhythm that sets them apart from the other ballots. Whereas working up to election day, the ballots follow a predictable upward pattern; beginning on election day and the days thereafter, the rhythm becomes a “roller coaster ride” that is completely out of sync with the pattern seen up and until election day. Hutton postulates this pattern represents a” ‘smoothing out effect’ so as to adjust the “votes” within the election outcome to “hit an exact predetermined outcome.” 

Additional Batch/JHP

It is also important to understand the “normal” cycle of how a ballot is recorded as a vote. An image from his report shows the procedure:

Normal Procedure/JHP

The cycle for the 140,000 is different because his team was not provided with a pre-image. A pre-image requires a physical ballot that is then scanned and produces a pre-image. He has a post-image (a physical artifact that is on the drive that was provided) and a text file. However, the text file “is devoid of any date and time stamp confirmation.” As a result of the missing information, Hutton concludes that the ballots were “somehow inserted digitally into the ballot flow.” Logically, he then concludes there must have been no physical ballot because the ballot must have been a “DIGITAL IMAGE FIRST.” He also posits the county hid the DIGITAL INSERTION by not releasing the routers and Splunk logs.

Routers allow for detailed tracking. The Splunk logs provide further verification of data. Moreover, Hutton points out, “since the ballot was inserted DIGITALLY, it would count towards the tally and EMS records, but the date-time-stamp must be scrubbed to not flag these digital ballots as being inserted nefariously.” He then uses chain-of-custody to prove his hypothesis of the way the digital images were inserted. He says the election day ballots had to have “been made after the digital image of the ballots were inserted.” Thus, “they were made to reflect” what the digital system showed.

Chain of Custody: An Essential Part of Secure Elections

The chain of custody procedures during elections is a vital procedural aspect in proper handling of ballots. Breaks in those detailed procedures do not always mean fraud. People can be sloppy or poorly trained. However, such handling, whether intentional or not, is still in violation of Arizona election statutes and a failure to follow procedures can result in criminal prosecution. A ballot is a sacred record of a person’s intended vote. Voters deserve to trust that their ballots are treated with the utmost care at every step in the process. The process is purposely fastidious. 

Chain of Custody/Additional Batch/JPH

In the case of the 140,000 election day ballots, Hutton’s findings do not inspire trust. When he examined the handling of the ballots specifically on the date of Nov. 3, 2020, there were “glaring breaks in security and handling.” A random sampling of chain-of-custody documents showed missing transport receipts, failure to count ballots that were picked up even though ballots were clearly picked up, and in some cases, no indication of Receiving Agent or Audit Agent. Hutton concludes there is “no way to 100% confirm these election day ballots with so many anomalies ever existed on election day the date they electronic systems say they were tallied.

Chain of Custody/JPH

Whatever you may think of Hutton’s conclusions, his findings seem to show the mishandling of data and ballot chain of custody issues that violate Arizona election statutes. Secure and accurate handling of a voter’s ballot must be guaranteed to ensure free and fair elections. Elections that do not follow the laws and procedures set aside by a state legislature do not deserve to be certified.