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Maricopa County Elections Director Reynaldo Valenzuela testified at Republican Kari Lake’s election challenge trial Wednesday that mail-in ballot reviews were done at election officials’ homes in 2020 with no observers present.
Valenzuela also confirmed officials still have the ability to do so now.
Lake is contesting Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs’ win last November by approximately 17,000 votes, or 0.7 percent of the more than 2.5 million ballots cast statewide.
In March, the Arizona Supreme Court remanded the issue of whether the mail-in ballot legally mandated signature verification process was followed in Maricopa County during the election back to the trial court.
Lake attorney Byran Blehm questioned Valenzuela regarding the places where mail-in ballot verification took place in November and whether independent observers were present.
Valenzuela said there were three locations where mail-in verification took place: Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center, known as MCTEC in downtown Phoenix; the Maricopa County Recorder’s office, also in Phoenix; and Maricopa County’s Southeast Regional Center in Mesa.
Whistleblower Jacqueline Onigkeit, who worked as a ballot reviewer at MCTEC in November, had testified before Valenzuela that she thought it was “odd” when she and her fellow reviewers were sent home at 7 p.m. as counting continued of mail-in ballots.
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