November 23, 2023 Rachel Alexander
The CONELRAD Group found “malfeasance, incompetence, and possible criminal activity” in their review of the 2022 election in Pinal County. The team of mostly former intelligence and military officers located primarily in southern Arizona concluded in a new report sent to The Arizona Sun Times on Wednesday, “Evidence was clearly identified that should have led to an immediate halt to certifying the General Election.”
Jack Dona, who holds 43 intelligence and technical certifications and diplomas from civilian colleges, technical schools and military academies, and who served in military intelligence, retiring as a master sergeant/first sergeant, summarized his team’s report for The Sun Times.
“It is our opinion that the entire legal system in Arizona may be compromised. From the State Bar attacking the law license of Brian Blehm, to the entire judicial system of Arizona dismissing election integrity cases, this appears to be a coordinated effort to intimidate and block any BOS [board of supervisor] elected official attempting to verify our election system via hand counts, or any election integrity transparency at all,” he said. “All cases being blocked and shut down via ‘lawfare’ in the courts and by county attorneys … All avenues of redress are being shut down.”
The report contained six main findings. It was based on 637 pages of evidence, consisting primarily of transcripts of meetings of the Pinal County supervisors, emails, reports, and articles.
Two of the findings related to Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkner, who appointed the law firm of Coppersmith & Brockelman PLC to analyze the 2022 primary election results. However, that firm also represents Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs, an election fraud denier who has fought attempts to uncover corruption in the elections. It was founded by Sam Coppersmith, who has previously served as chair for the Arizona Democratic Party. The team was concerned about why Volkner chose a firm with conflicts.
The team recommended, “At a minimum, candidates who lost their elections statewide and in Pinal County should subpoena to see the communications records between Katie Hobbs, Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer and the firm used by both of them for elections, Coppersmith & Brockelman PLC.”
The team found regarding Volkner, “It appears that the County Attorney’s Office now effectively controls all elections in Pinal County and will fight fiercely, using his interpretations of state and county laws, to ensure there is no verification of the internal workings of these machines by a full hand count.”
The report recommended, “Kent Volkmer in his capacity as Pinal County Attorney should be investigated to the fullest extent allowable under the law.”
The report was skeptical of Volkner stating during a meeting that it would take days or weeks to hand count ballots. The team responded in its report, “Ridiculous comment on face value. Given the correct procedure and personnel with observers, a full hand count could have taken place within 48 to 72 hours. Our ancestors did it successfully on election night 40 years ago.”
A third finding in the report compiled a list of Election Day problems, from “multiple problems with these machines receiving re-programming on election day to multiple poll books not functioning correctly.” The team said the election must be hand-counted to fix this issue, and “source codes and super user or root passwords must be given to independent IT experts for analysis.”
The report included testimony from an election worker who said they were instructed to help tear up Republican ballots that had been double-voted or scanned twice through the tabulators. The election worker admitted no Democratic ballots were ripped up.
“I don’t believe the double ballot issue involved the Democrats because other poll workers assisted me with tearing up mail in ballots but the ballots I tore up were all RED,” the ballot worker said.
The team responded in the report, “This is evidence of nefarious activity. These mistakes always affect GOP Candidates. Why wasn’t this referred to Sheriff Lamb for investigation?”
Another poll worker said many voters showed up to vote and were not listed as registered. It was unclear whether they were forced to vote a provisional ballot. Volkmer said about 100 voters called to report that problem on Election Day, which the team described as “possible criminal activity at the worst, and malfeasance or incompetence at the least if true. … This is NOT an anomaly and appears widespread.”
An email sent by Scott Johnson, deputy director of operations for the Pinal County elections department, five days before the election was certified, acknowledged he knew about the problem. The team commented, “By the email, Scott Johnson clearly knew there were problems identified but not investigated. The certification appears to have been rammed thru. More evidence of possible criminal malfeasance.”
The report cited numerous testimony from poll workers regarding all the problems, many of which broke the law. Boxes used to transfer ballots lacked seals or locks, and the tops were left open.
When one poll worker discovered discrepancies between the number of voters who had checked in and the number of ballots cast, they opened up some of the locked boxes containing ballots to investigate. Four of them had different numbers of ballots inside than indicated, including one that contained 188 additional ballots.
One observer saw a woman show up with multiple ballots to drop off, which she said she had collected from a senior community. The observer said, “No one even questioned it no one raised an eye.”
In Arizona, no one but a family member, household member, or caregiver defined as those providing medical or health care – including assisted living – are allowed to collect and submit absentee ballots. Anyone outside of that narrow definition is subject to a class 6 felony prosecution.
Poll workers were asked to sign off on documents and procedures regarding the validity of the votes that they had not reviewed. Someone who reviewed the election found, “An audit board appears not to have reconciled errors before results were certified, a safeguard required by state law.” The team said this was “[m]ore evidence of possible criminal negligence or worse.”
The report found that the voting machines were not properly certified, citing investigator Daniel Wood’s work. Wood worked with a team looking into the certifications of voting machines in Arizona and found that many had expired or were invalid for various reasons.
The fourth finding cited the shortage of ballots for the primary election, “which led to a severe shortage of GOP ballots and a complete breakdown of the primary election was never fully investigated.”
When the polling locations ran out of ballots, they could not reach the county elections department. One poll worker said, “If we had been allowed to use the PM3s we had, we would not have run out of ballots 36 and would not have voters leave without voting.” The report referred to the ballot shortage as “deliberate malfeasance.”
Another problem discussed in the report was Republican voters discovering their party registration had been changed to independent, known as party not designated (PND). One voter observed, “the problem seems to be republican specific.”
The fifth finding in the team’s report was that the election should have never been certified.
The team concluded that unless the judiciary “levies punishment and consequences” for the “incompetent malfeasance regarding the voting systems in the state, these issues will likely arise again.”
Marcus Tork, a small business owner in the water industry who was part of the team, said that Arizona’s statutes do not appear to prohibit hand counts, as officials like Attorney General Kris Mayes assert.
“I don’t see anything in the statutes that says the machines must be used,” he told The Sun Times. “It says if they are to be used, here are the guidelines.”
A.R.S. 16- 621(C) states that elections may be conducted by hand count if it becomes “impracticable” to conduct them with machines. The report said, “Malfunctioning ballot tabulation equipment for any reasonable thinking individual makes it impossible in practice to do accurate vote tabulation, thus fulfilling the definition of the operative word, impracticable.”
The report said that Volkmer claimed A.R.S. 16-602 was the only applicable statute regarding hand counts, which authorizes a very limited hand count. The team said, “Since there is no exact provision written into that statute that says a full hand count can be done by a vote of the BOS, it is against the law. This is an insane interpretation of the law, as Mr. Serdy points out, 30-40 years ago 100 percent hand counts were done. 16-602 was written to provide provisions to randomly sample the machines’ veracity up to a certain point, and no more transparency is allowed.”
Tork said he found it strange that Volkswagen was accused in 2015 of conducting a similar type of cheating as is alleged regarding the voting machines — manipulating its cars’ computers in order to cheat emissions. Everyone was outraged; there was an investigation, and the practice was stopped. Volkswagen admitted to installing the cheating software, which only activated emissions controls during emissions testing.
Dona told The Sun Times, “My family escaped Communist Nicaragua … and we believe this is how it starts. First they gain control of the election system and the courts, then they deny any redress on their march towards total control and Marxism.”
“We need ALL of our statewide Board of Supervisors to stand up to, in our opinion under the 1st Amendment, a legal ‘cabal’ organized to BLOCK any and all election integrity efforts. The recent capitulation of Mohave County to vote to approve a full hand count of the 2024 election is evidence that the county attorneys, state Attorney General, and the courts are working in concert to block any and all transparency regarding our elections system,” the report said.
Read the analysis:CTT Analysis Pinal County AZ 2022 Primary and General Election SEP 6 2023
Read the public communications and transcripts:Pinal County 2022 Election Public Communications