On the first day of hearings on Kari Lake’s lawsuit on signature verification, level one signature reviewer Jacqueline Onigkeit was the first witness. She testified that ballots that were rejected based on the fact that the signatures did not match were sent back by supervisors with orders to approve them the second time. She says that some of the names did not match the name of the voter. Onigkeit said that some other reviewers “didn’t feel comfortable with what they were seeing.”
From Kari Lake’s lawsuit:
Three signature verification workers have signed sworn declarations concerning their experience at Maricopa County during the 2022 general election.These three witnesses testified that their and their co-workers’ rejection rates while verifying signatures ranged from 35-40% (Onigkeit Decl. ¶¶ 19-22), 15%-30% (Myers Decl. at ¶¶ 18, 21), to 35%-40% (Nystrom Decl. ¶ 13). These figures are consistent with the rejection rate of WPAA discussed above equating to tens of thousands of illegal ballots being counted.
Each of these witnesses testified to deep flaws in the ballot signature verification and/or curing process employed by Maricopa County.
Jacqueline Onigkeit reviewed approximately 42,500 ballots and rejected about 13,000 to 15,000 of them, with rejection rates in the 25% – 40% range. Her co-workers complained of similar rejection rates. Onigkeit Decl. ¶¶ 23, 25.
Maricopa permitted any signature reviewer to un-reject ballots without accountability using curing stickers. Workers were able to obtain massive amounts of these stickers and use them to cure ballots without oversight. Onigkeit explained:
In order to perform the curing process, we were given a batch of stickers to place on a ballot, which included stickers with abbreviations. Some, but not all, of the ballot stickers and abbreviations were as follows: “VER” meant that we verified the voter’s information, and their ballot was approved to be counted, “WV” meant that a voter did not want to verify their ballot over the phone, and “LM” meant that we called the voter and left a message.
One of the problems with the stickers was that nothing prevented a level 1, 2 or 3 worked from requesting a massive amount of “approved” stickers and placing them on ballots. Again, observers did not watch any level 3 work and did not watch most of level 2 work. Once stickers were placed on ballots, there was no record on the ballot or elsewhere to determine who placed the sticker there. We were told to not sign or initial the sticker, but to only date it. Accordingly, there was no way to know who placed “verified” stickers on ballots. The system was wide open to abuse and allowed for potential false placement of “verified” stickers without accountability.
Onigkeit Decl. ¶¶ 17-18.
This morning, during the trial, Onigkeit testified the following:
We were having so many problems with signatures and the rejections… they [level two reviewers] were getting overloaded with signatures and they were getting frustrated.
We would go out on breaks or at lunch, and Andrew and Jeff would complain about how many [signatures] they were having to go through, and they didn’t think they were going to be able to get through those signatures because there was too many and there was not enough of them. I do know there were times when rejected signatures that I did send to them, they actually sent them back to us because they got so overloaded for level two. So, because we would question, we would ask the manager, I just looked at this signature and I rejected it. Why am I seeing the same signatures again? And so they would say, the level two managers, they’ve got too many to go through. So, we’re just sending them back to you to re-review and see if there isn’t anything that matches.
It should be interesting to hear why the judge tosses out the lawsuit this time. I have a funny feeling this will go back to the Arizona Supreme Court causing more months of delay.