General Question

crazyguy's avatar

How exactly are we ensuring the accuracy of mail-in ballots?

Asked by crazyguy (1434points) 1 week ago

This morning, CNN has a story titled “Post-election audits find no fraud in Arizona” see
https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/12/politics/arizona-audits-no-fraud/index.html

If you dig into what is included in these audits and who does them you find the following priceless statement: “The audits, which counties begin within 24 hours of the polls closing, must include five races, including the presidential race. By regulation, they have to count regular Election Day ballots from at least two precincts or 2% of precincts, whichever is greater. The precincts are selected at random, by drawing.” The audits are performed by “bipartisan audit boards”. Not people independent of the election office.

So back to my question: How do we audit mail-in ballots?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

104 Answers

Zaku's avatar

An “audit” is not the only component of checking for fraud.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Ballots have serial numbers for one. Fox is touting a GOP shill who claims ballots are scanned over and over and over. That doesn’t work. A unique serial number is needed. Duplicates are not accepted.

Whether it’s deliberate dishonesty or ignorance, the disinformation is shameful.
. It’s a desire to undermine democracy.

Rebuking Trump, DHS cybersecurity agency says no evidence of deleted, changed votes

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Wall Street Journal – Nov 13, 2020 – “President Trump has claimed widespread fraud was at play in the presidential election. Several of his lawyers have told judges in courtrooms across the country that they don’t believe that to be true”

Law and Crime – Nov 11, 2020 – “Lawyers Litigating for Trump Suddenly Remember Their Licenses Are on the Line If They Lie to a Judge”

kritiper's avatar

There is nothing to indicate that ballots are not accurate, if that applies. Like in a court of law, they should be assumed to be “accurate” as a person is assumed to be innocent. Especially as society as a whole.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

NY Times – Nov 9, 2020 – “Growing Discomfort at Law Firms Representing Trump in Election Lawsuits – Some lawyers at Jones Day and Porter Wright, which have filed suits about the 2020 vote, said they were worried about undermining the electoral system.”

Forbes – Nov 13, 2020 – “Attorneys from the law firm Porter Wright Morris & Arthur withdrew late Thursday from representing the Trump campaign…

”..Law firm Snell & Willmer also withdrew from representing the RNC in a Trump campaign lawsuit in Arizona…

”...Jones Day—which is representing Pennsylvania GOP lawmakers at the U.S. Supreme Court and reportedly also facing internal dissent over its role in Trump’s legal strategy—released a public statement distancing itself from the Trump campaign, saying the firm is “not representing President Trump, his campaign, or any affiliated party in any litigation alleging voter fraud” or any lawsuits “challenging or contesting” election results.

seawulf575's avatar

Each state has different rules concerning how they process mail-in ballots. Right now, one of President Trump’s legal points concerns mail-in ballots in PA and MI. Both states have it in the law that when a mail-in ballot is processed, a representative from both the DNC and the GOP are present to inspect the envelope before it is opened and the ballot is pulled out. That is because there is information on the envelope. In both these states, there are witnesses that have testified in affidavits that there were hundreds of thousands of votes that mysteriously showed up in the middle of the night, that no GOP representatives were present, and they were all processed in violation of the law. But once the ballot leaves the envelope and enters the pile of ballots, it is basically an anonymous ballot at that time. It can’t be audited to ensure it was processed correctly or that the signatures matched or any of that.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

no GOP representatives were present

That’s a lie. The Republican lawyer on that case had to admit so in court. Stop spreading false rumors.

American Bar Journal – Exasperated judges question Trump lawyers on election claims – “In one of the most-cited examples, U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond of Philadelphia questioned campaign lawyer Jerome Marcus about claims that GOP observers weren’t allowed to watch the ballot count in Philadelphia.

“Under questioning, Marcus conceded there were “a nonzero number of people in the room.”

“I’m sorry, then what’s your problem?” [Judge] Diamond responded.”

Washington Post – Nov 11, 2020 – ”...At one point on Friday afternoon, 12 Republican observers and five Democrats were watching the count, according to a ballot counter who was working…

“After that “nonzero” answer, Diamond pressed the Trump campaign lawyer to be more explicit — and he suggestively invoked their standing with the bar: “I’m asking you as a member of the bar of this court: Are people representing the plaintiffs in the room?” The lawyer responded more directly: “Yes.”

“By the end of the hearing, Diamond invoked his right to make sure lawyers in his courtroom acted in good faith.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

How can we be sure the ballots we drop off in ballot boxes are accurate? What about in person voting? What is so special about mail in ballots that some people thinks the method is more prone to fraud?

Response moderated (Spam)
si3tech's avatar

We are not! At all. Hence, the current situation.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well there are checks in place but as long as trump continues to lose he won’t accept those checks.

Pandora's avatar

All the reasons above and also the following. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/rebuking-trump-dhs-cybersecurity-agency-evidence-deleted-changed/story?id=74188202 I also know through my daughter volunteering to count the ballots all the procedures to keep things accurate and open to both republican and democrats. They had poll watchers from both sides and even had cameras on at all times. Where there were ballots( like people using markers or the wrong color ink or yellow markers, they would copy it over and it would be certified by another person before it was submitted. And the original is put with the new copy once the new copy was submitted through the machine. Poll watchers from both sides at anytime can stop anything they thought fishy. And have the video recording bought up to overlook what was seen as fishy and have that ballot bought forward for another look by the poll watchers. So everything is very much on the up and up where she worked. Dems by the way were not the only ones volunteering either. So you don’t know if the other person feet away from you is a dem or a republican. Also the person certifying could also be a dem or a republican. And of course the poll watchers were from both camps.

SEKA's avatar

Why aren’t the mail-in ballots from Alaska being challenged? Is there not widespread fraud?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think they’re only recounting in swing states….but what constitutes a swing state is beyond me. I’ve never bothered to find out.

SEKA's avatar

I thought trump hated Alaska’s governor which seems to be a determining factor to me

Dutchess_III's avatar

He hates all the governors.

SEKA's avatar

It does seem like it. Actually, upon further thought, it was Alaska’s Rep Senator Lisa Murkowski who was butting heads with trump and he was threatening to take her down. Maybe they kissed and made up when she fell into line with the Amy Coney Barrett nomination

crazyguy's avatar

Mail-in balloting has just one way to make certain that the correct person is using the ballot. That one way is a signature match.

During in-person voting, the person voting can be identified by face, fingerprints (if necessary) and a signature match. Anybody who says one method is as secure as the other has been smoking something.

jca2's avatar

Where I live, when I do in-person voting, they ask me my name and address, they give me a book to sign, and that’s it. No ID, no photo, no fingerprints. Do they look at the signature? I don’t know because my signature is often different each time I sign it (sometimes more of a line, sometimes more detailed).

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t think they ever look at my signature either. I think they just match up the info on my driver’s license to my voter registration info. Maybe. Or not.

Zaku's avatar

@crazyguy Mail-in voting is also verified by mailing coded ballots to specific people. To vote for someone else, you’d need to steal their ballot and accurately forge their signature. I’ve had my signature questioned and was required to verify it, just because my handwriting of it has evolved over the years, but only on a mail-in ballot.

In-person voting is not verified by fingerprint nor by face, and doing so would be pointlessly onerous and impractical. As the amount of such attempted voter fraud is extremely small, the only real reason to suggest it is to discourage voting and lie to inflate the political narrative that voter fraud of that is an actual concern. Which it isn’t.

crazyguy's avatar

@jca2 I voted in-person only once, before I realized I was permitted to vote by mail. The mere fact that more checks can be run on in-person voters keeps down the amount of fraud.

Mail-in voting, on the other hand, is a recipe for fraud. As for the evidence of fraud, how can anybody find any evidence without access to the actual ballots?

@Dutchess_III The fact that they look at your driver’s license enables a surreptitious confirmation that you are the intended voter.

@Zaku The mere fact that more checks are possible with in-person voting holds down the amount of attempted fraud. The mere fact that such checks are not possible with mail-in balloting, increases the chance of fraud.

Zaku's avatar

@crazyguy No, it doesn’t.

Imagine you’re an evil fraudster. How would you defraud mail-in voting, in a way that can be done to mailed ballots but not in-person ballots?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@crazyguy “The fact that they look at your driver’s license enables a surreptitious confirmation that you are the intended voter.” Ya think? You act like I should have a problem with the verification. I don’t. Not even a little bit. No matter whether it’s “surruptitous” or blatantly obvious.
What is with your paranoia?

crazyguy's avatar

@Zaku With mail-in voting, there is little or no risk that the perpetrator will be found and arrested. All s/he has to do is get his/her hands on a legitimate ballot.

If the ballot has been filled out, s/he can look at the selections made and discard the ballot. If the ballot has not been filled out, s/he can fill it out anyway s/he pleases, and forge the signature. Given the cursory check of the signature in most states, the ballot will probably be considered legitimate. If the ballot has been completed as desired, the perpetrator delivers it to a collection box as is.

In all cases above, the chances of the perpetrator being arrested are slim to none.

If you guys cannot see the possibilities for fraud, my mind is boggled at your credulity, and I hope to take advantage of it some day!

crazyguy's avatar

@Dutchess_III The reason for saying “surreptitiously” is because of the post by @jca2. Like you, I would welcome any confirmation of my identity. If I am there in person, that is easy. If it a mail-in ballot, verification of identity, like I have been saying all along, is much harder.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They only send ballots out to registered voters, in their name, to the address on record. How the hell would some random criminal get their hands on a custom ballot? Much less “forage” the signature of someone who they have no idea what their signature looks like!
It’s your brand of hysterical, absurd paranoia that keeps the GOP, and their followers, breathing.

crazyguy's avatar

@Dutchess_III I am just amazed at your response. Just what part of my post did you find “hysterical, absurd paranoia”?

Here is a good link on signature verification:
https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/oct/28/donald-trump/trumps-misleading-claim-about-ballot-signatures-ne/

That link provides the official line. Here is another one that shows how it may work in practice:
https://www.reviewjournal.com/opinion/opinion-columns/victor-joecks/victor-joecks-signature-verification-is-a-joke-heres-how-i-beat-the-system-2072456/

Dutchess_III's avatar

Your comment that they were “surreptitiously” checking my ID. Why the hell would they have to be sneaky about checking it? Why would they have to hide what they were doing? The fact that you think they were makes you paranoid.

Zaku's avatar

@crazyguy

“With mail-in voting, there is little or no risk that the perpetrator will be found and arrested. All s/he has to do is get his/her hands on a legitimate ballot.”
– Oh really?
– So what will you do to get your hands on a legitimate ballot? Go raiding mail boxes? That has a decent chance of being caught, and has decent penalties even for single infractions, especially if they figure out you’re trying to do voter fraud.
– And, if you steal someone’s ballot before they use it, then they will tend to notice, and report it, and so your risk and effort will be wasted.
– If instead you are planning on stealing ballots after they’re in a ballot box or mailbox, that’s quite risky and will attract serious attention.

“If the ballot has been filled out, s/he can look at the selections made and discard the ballot.”
– Ok, so you managed to loot a mailbox or infiltrate the USPS without being caught. You open a ballot to see what it says… If it was for your favorite candidate, now you’ve broken the security envelope. If it was one you want to throw out, the voter may check and find out their ballot wasn’t counted, and report it. If that happens more than a couple of times for ballots put in the same box at the same time, there will be an investigation.
– Notice that the best you can accomplish this way, is reducing the number of ballots, since opening them spoils the ballot, and you can’t see the votes without opening them,

“If the ballot has not been filled out, s/he can fill it out anyway s/he pleases, and forge the signature. Given the cursory check of the signature in most states, the ballot will probably be considered legitimate. If the ballot has been completed as desired, the perpetrator delivers it to a collection box as is.”
– See above for the problems with stealing another voter’s ballot before it’s used.
– Also, most states have automatic signature checkers that check all signatures. As I mentioned before, I’ve had my own signature ballot questioned just because my signature has changed a bit over the years.

“In all cases above, the chances of the perpetrator being arrested are slim to none.”
– I think the risk vastly outweighs the possible effect. Even if you’re not arrested (which I think you probably would be, given your lack of a good plan), I don’t think you’re likely to manage to actually change any votes.

“If you guys cannot see the possibilities for fraud, my mind is boggled at your credulity, and I hope to take advantage of it some day!”
– I’d be surprised. So far it sounds to me like you’re going to get caught without having any effect on any election.

crazyguy's avatar

@Zaku Have you heard of paid ballot harvesters? These people have a financial incentive to take some risks. Of course, the risks I imagine they take do not involve getting arrested. I am thinking in terms of persuading legitimate voters to part with their rightful ballots, perhaps with a bit of sweetener thrown in.

ragingloli's avatar

Right….
Biden leads the swing states by tens of thousands of votes.
You are suggesting that there was a large campaign of an army of co-conspirators persuading tens of thousands of potential voters (more like hundreds of thousands, if not millions, because most would obviously decline), of which, by necessity of probability, half would be republicans and a substantial number would be die hard trumpers.
You seriously think that all of them would have kept quiet?
You would have had tens of thousands of them contacting authorities on the spot, exposing the scheme immediately.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Don’t you guys know you can buy ballots for a buck each at Walmart.

Zaku's avatar

As @ragingloli says, you can’t attempt bribery on thousands of voters and not get caught.

ragingloli's avatar

It would have been far easier for them to just bribe a drumpf staffer to slip some polonium into his big mac.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@crazyguy How are the Republican accusations of fraud doing in court? GIve us an update.

crazyguy's avatar

@ragingloli Perhaps, if we truly investigated, we would find a few. Those few may confess to who gave them $20 for their ballot. And we could go from there. Will it happen? Not a chance.

@Dutchess_III I hate to disillusion you, but I am sure somebody who does not know where his next beer is coming from may be willing to part with his ballot for $5!

@Zaku You think the bribee knows who the person trying to bribe him/her?

@ragingloli That last comment is so far below your normal standard.

@Call_Me_Jay I have said many times that no evidence can be developed without access to the ballots.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I doubt that someone who is worried about where his next beer is coming from IS ACTUALLY REGISTERED TO VOTE! You can’t receive a mail in ballot unless you’re registered to vote. Do you not know that?

crazyguy's avatar

@Dutchess_III That is a very duchess remark (as in snobbish).

Dutchess_III's avatar

Snobbish. Alcoholics and drug addicts aren’t exactly socially aware. They are concerned about their minute by minute survival. Society as a whole, outside of their addiction, isn’t a strong consideration.
You’ve got some fantasy about voter ballots going on.

Zaku's avatar

@crazyguy In this case, perhaps the bribery campaign “masterminds” might be clever enough to try to disguise who is offering them money for their ballots (and presumably you need to get them to sign them for you too). But you’d need to approach thousands of people to make any difference, and some of them would report it, and so the operation would be detected, even if the people responsible weren’t necessarily identified.

If no one has come forward and said they were approached, then no significant number of people have been approached.

The only reason I can see why some (still crazy) person might (pay people to) pay a bunch of desperate people for their ballots, would be if they wanted some of them to squeal, in order to create a story about election fraud. “Here, go pay some people to get caught trying to cast fake votes for my opponent.” Who would do that? Well, I seem to remember one politician saying mail-in votes were unreliable and suggesting people vote multiple times… who would that be?

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I have said many times that no evidence can be developed without access to the ballots.

Nobody was denied access. The lawsuits alleging that have all been shot down.

At least you admit there is no evidence. It’s sad that you try to stir up fear and hysteria based on nothing.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The really sad part is the ridiculous paranoia spilling over onto normal people who are too simple to think critically.

seawulf575's avatar

Well, given the news conference today, I’d say there are MANY ways that mail in ballots can be used to cheat in an election. According to sworn testimony, piles of ballots would show up mysteriously after counting stopped and all the observers went home. Many of these ballots were “mail in ballots” that didn’t arrive with envelopes. Sometimes one pile would be put through the counter over and over and over again. So in this case it wasn’t necessarily someone mailing it cheating, it was the plentiful number of ballots that were floating around that probably played the trick.

ragingloli's avatar

“Sworn testimony”. Like that postal worker that ended up admitting that his “sworn affidavit” was prewritten by the criminal grifting group “project veritas”.
Or that old woman who was caught trying to vote twice, then tried to blame some unknown person for submitting a mail ballot with her signature on it.
I mean, you will just believe any lie that comes out drumpf’s or one of his minion’s gob.

jca2's avatar

Trump’s just trying to keep hope alive for his followers, since more and more politicians and others are jumping off the Trump Ship.

crazyguy's avatar

@Dutchess_III I agree that they couldn’t care less about Trump or Biden – they have probably not even heard of either of them. That is why they may sell the ballot for little more than its value as recyclable paper…

crazyguy's avatar

@Zaku Then just ask yourself a rather simple question: why does the People’s Republic of California pay ballot harvesters?

crazyguy's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay It is a double-edged sword. Those who say there is no evidence have no proof either.

crazyguy's avatar

@Dutchess_III Well, thank you. I have never been called too simple. I’ll take that as a complement.

@ragingloli Could you answer a simple question, please? Do you think there are more opportunities to mess with a mail-in ballot compared to in-person ballots? Note I am not saying or even implying this actually happened, just asking a theoretical question.

jca2's avatar

@crazyguy: ”Those who say there is no evidence have no proof either.” Those who make the accusation have to prove that a crime has been committed. Nobody else is obliged to prove that a crime has not been committed. You can accuse me of stealing your Amazon package from your front door, but without proof, I owe you no defense or explanation.

seawulf575's avatar

@ragingloli Sworn testimony in the form of affidavits IS evidence. Sorry to tell you that is how it works. So yes, there IS evidence. But I understand you don’t want to believe it. After all, you will believe any lie that comes out of the mouths of those that hate Trump.

Dutchess_III's avatar

God. It’s like a broken record.
Please provide proof that there is sworn testimony out there some where about voter fraud
@seawulf575.
This is so stupid.

jca2's avatar

After Giuliani’s press conference yesterday with his hair dye running down his sweaty face, more Republicans are agreeing with Biden that this is doing more harm than good.

crazyguy's avatar

@jca2 Without access to the ballots, all anybody can do is read the tealeaves. It is up to the courts to force the election commissions to provide access to the actual ballots.

I personally believe there is enough evidence from a reading of the tealeaves that fraud was more than just possible. However, I understand the legal process. Attempts to short-circuit the legal process (which in 2000, dragged on into December) contribute to my belief that the Democrats do indeed have something to hide.

crazyguy's avatar

@jca2 I did not and would not watch Giuliani. I think he is nothing short of the court jester.

However, I do not believe the mainstream media rant that the legal meanderings are doing any harm. They may end up strengthening our confidence in our democracy.

jca2's avatar

It’s not just the media rant that harm is being done, @crazyguy. It’s other Republican lawmakers (Senators, Congressmen, etc.).

Dutchess_III's avatar

The legal meanderings are over. Various courts threw them out.

jca2's avatar

I read that the legal documents contain elementary errors, like spelling “poll” as “pole.” As anybody knows, legal documents must have no spelling errors and must be typed perfectly.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That makes my head hurt.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I did not and would not watch Giuliani. I think he is nothing short of the court jester.

He is leading the legal efforts you trust in and the blustering that you parrot.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Sworn testimony in the form of affidavits IS evidence.

No, they are statements. They can be hearsay, they can be lies, they can be unhinged ranting, they can be irrelevant babbling, they can be manifestos from schizophrenics.

Only a fool or a dishonest schemer presents affidavits without corroboration as factual.

SEKA's avatar

Sworn affidavits can be bought by billionaires easier than legal ballots can be bought from poor folk

I see evidence of one person or maybe 2 who would sell their sworn testimony just to be sure that their clown stays in office

ragingloli's avatar

And I am not sure which specific case it was, but in one of them they tried to submit dozens of “sworn affidavits”, that they solicited through their website.
The vast majority of the affidavits from the website were obviously fake and spam, and those that they could not immediately identify as such, they tried submitting to the court.
The judge in that case was like ‘are you fucking serious?”

Dutchess_III's avatar

Do you have a YouTube version for us Raggy?

crazyguy's avatar

@ragingloli That is a great find. I was shocked to watch it and am amazed that the Judge had to make an argument to toss out the affidavits. If I were in the Judge’s place, I would have thrown out the affidavits and immediately ordered the arrest of the lawyer for the crime of misleading the court. Thank you.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You really blather more than any person here ever has @crazyguy.

seawulf575's avatar

@ragingloli I find it an odd conclusion by the judge, personally. Think about it. They gathered a bunch of affidavits. They then went through to verify the truth of those affidavits and found some people lied. So they threw out those affadavits. The ones they couldn’t find falsehood with, they submitted. The judge’s argument seems to be that since some affidavits were false, then all of them are suspect. Given that mentality, if you ever have anyone testify in court and lie, then all people that testify could be lying and their testimony is, therefore, unacceptable. So you could never have any witnesses in any trial.

ragingloli's avatar

@Dutchess_III
Here is the youtube version:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS0I55ZSTFk

@seawulf575
And that is why you are not a judge.
They did not go through “to veryfiy the truth”, they only weeded out the obviously fake ones.
And submitted the rest to the court. And according to the video, even some of the fake ones were submitted.
Even the lawyers on the other side knew they were wrong, that is why they did not argue back.
It is like you had a chest of “gold coins”, and found that half of them were lead coins that had their gold paint come off already. So you decide to throw away the the coins where the paint came off, then proceed to try to sell the rest of the coins as genuine gold coins without further inspection.

crazyguy's avatar

@seawulf575 As usual, you make a valid point. However, keep in mind that all the affidavits, including the ones that were submitted, were solicited by the plaintiffs. We do not know if financial compensation was provided or not. And the Judge did not throw out the affidavits, he just stated that they were ‘suspect’.

On this point, I part company with you.

seawulf575's avatar

@ragingloli To say they weeded out some of them indicates they took the time to research and verify ALL the affidavits. And to suggest that because they found some that were not valid means all of them are suspect goes right back to the idea that if one person lies under oath then every single witness is going to be tossed out because they are “suspect”.

seawulf575's avatar

@crazyguy Every time a case is held in this country, one side or the other solicits for witnesses. If the cops walk around looking for witnesses to a crime, they are soliciting for them. So solicitation for witnesses is not a new thing. And, as with live testimony, the attorneys are going to get the story up front, do their best to verify the story, and throw it out if it is sketchy or absolutely false. And just like with live witnesses, you could say that the attorneys had witnesses who lied and some they couldn’t find fault with. Isn’t that pretty much the definition of determining whether a statement is valid or not? That is what I’m saying about this judge’s statement. He is wording it that SOME statements were rejected by the filing attorneys because they determined them to be false…but some were not rejected because the fault couldn’t be found. That indicates he believes all the statements are false and isn’t willing to accept any of them.
To suggest financial compensation was offered or provided is stretching it for no apparent reason. As our leftist jellies love to say about voter fraud…there is no proof for that so it is just a lie. And I’m really not sure offering financial compensation is a crime or not. It, in my mind, isn’t a smart way to do business since it offers incentive for someone to lie, making your job even harder. But I don’t know if it is a crime.

ragingloli's avatar

And according to this article, the affidavits were eventually thrown out.

“Attorneys representing Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, one of the election officials who was sued, moved to have declarations collected online tossed out, arguing they lacked “any guarantee of trustworthiness.”

Langhofer acknowledged some of the online declarations were found to be false but noted those entries had been removed, saying his team had cross-referenced the remaining declarations to ensure voters were where they said they were on Election Day.

Judge Daniel Kiley was unconvinced, ultimately granting the motion to exclude the declarations collected online.

“The fact that your process for obtaining these affidavits yielded affidavits that you yourself found to be false does not support a finding that this process generates reliable evidence,” Kiley said. “This is concerning.”

seawulf575's avatar

@ragingloli That merely consolidates what I am saying. He has no evidence they are false at all, yet he assumes they are because others were, even though those were weeded out. Picture this: You go into court. You have witnesses to whatever you are suing for. You are asked if you had to reject any witnesses that came forward and you indicated you did since their stories didn’t seem credible. So based on the fact you did your job, the judge then discredits ALL your witnesses, effectively calling them all liars. Does that sound reasonable to you?

ragingloli's avatar

The motion to toss out the affidavits was not because they are assuming them to be false, but because of the fact that the process by which they were obtained yielded fraudulent affidavits, their veracity was not even close to being reliable.

Which is absolutely reasonable in a court of law, where standards of evidence matter.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wow. I love smart judges. He determined that the process used to obtain the affidavits was faulty.

seawulf575's avatar

@ragingloli The process used was what weeded out the false ones. So how does that discredit the others?

ragingloli's avatar

The process was the website that yielded the affidavits, and it did not weed out the false ones.
The “weeding out” was done superficially after the fact.
Which is not good enough.
In a court of law, you have to have very high confidence that the evidence you use to judge a case is most likely true, and the parties involved have to show that the evidence they try to offer does pass that test, which in this case it simply does not. “not obviously false” is not the same as “most likely true”.
The fact that you are arguing with that fact, just makes one glad that these cases are not tried in front of a jury.

seawulf575's avatar

@ragingloli Where does it say the weeding out was done superficially? It was done and several affidavits were weeded out. Of course it was done after the fact. You get a statement, you have to verify it. How in God’s name would you verify it BEFORE the fact? Even with a live witness you intend to put on the stand…you would have to verify their statement before you put them on, but it is absolutely impossible to verify their statement before they make it.

ragingloli's avatar

You vet your sources before you take the statement.
You do not just set up a website, where any yahoo with a grudge or agenda can leave their droppings.
Imagine you took blood samples at a crime scene and performed DNA tests on them, and half of the tests return dogs, cats, frogs, and a multitude of other people.
Does not matter if you discard the animals and the people that obviously were not there, the fact that your test returns those false results, does cast doubt on all the others.

ragingloli's avatar

The fact remains that these affidavits were rightfully laughed out of court, and if that happened to the ones that drumpf’s lawyers were bold enough to throw at the wall in court, why should anyone be impressed by the ones that Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg is parading around at his press conferences?

seawulf575's avatar

Again, how do you “vet your sources” before they make a statement? You can’t. You have to hear what they have to say before you can vet. Which is exactly what they did. And the judge determined that because some people lied, they all must have lied and therefore wouldn’t accept any statements. How does that work? It isn’t even logical. It makes the gross jump that doesn’t make a bit of sense.

ragingloli's avatar

And once again your inability to read rears its head.
We are done.

seawulf575's avatar

Yes, since you dodge the simple concepts, we are done.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Response moderated (Unhelpful)
crazyguy's avatar

@seawulf575 @ragingloli I found your posts and argument stimulating. Initially I agreed with @ragingloli that all affidavits obtained through the website would be considered suspect. However, after reading wulfie’s rationale, I am not so sure. Everybody who submits a sworn affidavit is laying himself/herself to a perjury charge. Just like a false witness in court. Therefore, there seems to be no reason to arbitrarily discard all sworn affidavits.

ragingloli's avatar

To reiterate, when you are trying a a case in court, you have to be confident that the evidence you are using to come to a judgement is accurate. And it is the responsibility of the party entering the evidence, to reasonably demonstrate that it is.
There are codified rules of evidence that a court has to follow.
Now I am not a lawyer or an expert in this, but the Arizona Rules of Evidence 901 b example 9 would seem to require just that from the plaintiffs regarding their method of soliciting affidavits.
Which, given that their methods yielded a substantial number of fraudulent affidavits, they failed to do.
Sure, you could say that the rest could then be examined in court, in detail, by directly examining the witnesses that signed these affidavits, but doing that, especially with the time critical nature of certifying election results, would then run afoul of rule 611 a, in particular point 2 and 3.

ragingloli's avatar

Also, since affidavits are out of court declarations, they would be considered hearsay, and thus be inadmissable unless they fall under an exception.
The best chance they would have is probably the “catch-all” exception, which they would fail, because the “It has sound guarantees of trustworthiness” requirement is not met, due to the unreliable method of soliciting these affidavits.

seawulf575's avatar

@ragingloli I’m not a lawyer either, but looking at your example, I wouldn’t say 901(b)(9) applies. The evidence being presented…the affidavits…are sworn testimony…testimony of a witness with knowledge. That would fall under 901(b)(1). The plaintiffs gathered a whole lot of affidavits and did exactly what they were supposed to do…weeded out the ones that couldn’t be factual. The judge is saying he didn’t like how they went about gathering the affidavits. Basically, he (the judge) is trying to use the logic that since they came up with some bogus affidavits, then every one of them has to be suspect. That makes no sense. It’s like saying I know someone that lied therefore you are probably a liar too.
And affidavits are statements made under oath….sworn testimony just like in-person testimony. They would only be hearsay if their testimony said they didn’t have first hand knowledge of what they were testifying to. Hearsay has to do with the testimony itself, not the form it takes. It is my understanding that affidavits are not as favored by the courts because it is a one-sided statement and both sides don’t get to ask questions. But in this case, they are being used only to show that a problem worth looking into exists so they would be appropriate.

crazyguy's avatar

@ragingloli “Now I am not a lawyer or an expert in this…” Well, you could have fooled me. You have the language and the precision of a lawyer.

@seawulf575 “I’m not a lawyer either…” I love it. Three non-lawyers trying to analyze an extremely legalistic ruling! Where are the lawyers? Does Fluther have any?

I have no idea about Sections 901 and 611, and am not energized enough to look them up. I did look up Judge Kiley. To my amazement I found out he was a Republican appointee! I agree with wulfie that a sworn affidavit is like in-person testimony and not hearsay unless the statement is about non-first hand knowledge. Therefore, I think Kiley erred. But it appears that the Trump team has dropped the case as far as its impact on the Presidential race.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I agree with wulfie that a sworn affidavit is like in-person testimony and not hearsay unless the statement is about non-first hand knowledge

it is hearsay. The lawyers are presenting someone else’s words to the court.

If the affiant goes to court and can be cross-examined, it is not hearsay.

seawulf575's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay The lawyers are not testifying for a person. That person testified, under oath. Here is a definition for Hearsay Evidence:
“HEARSAY EVIDENCE. The evidence of those who relate, not what they know themselves, but what they have heard from others.
2. As a general rule, hearsay evidence of a fact is not admissible. If any fact is to be substantiated against a person, it ought to be proved in his presence by the testimony of a witness sworn or affirmed to speak the truth.”

The affidavits are from people who are relating what they know first hand, not what they heard from someone else. And they were sworn in prior to making the statements or else it couldn’t be an affidavit. Ergo…not hearsay.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Whatever @seawulf575. The courts would make the affiants appear for cross-examination. Affidavits are not treated the same as court testimony.

Dumping a pile of garbage paperwork on the court and saying “prove it isn’t garbage!!” is a crap move from trash lawyers with a piece of junk client.

Trump and his allies have won zero out of the 22 lawsuits they’ve filed since Election Day

ragingloli's avatar

https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_801
(a) Statement. “Statement” means a person’s oral assertion, written assertion, or nonverbal conduct, if the person intended it as an assertion.
(b) Declarant. “Declarant” means the person who made the statement.
(c) Hearsay. “Hearsay” means a statement that:
(1) the declarant does not make while testifying at the current trial or hearing; and
(2) a party offers in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement.

seawulf575's avatar

https://affidavits.uslegal.com/use-and-admissiblity/

“Some common uses of affidavits are as follows:

An affidavit may put the court process in motion, ie be included in a complaint,
An affidavit may be used for impeachment purpose,
An affidavit may influence decision making,”

In this case, it was being used to put the court process in motion.

ragingloli's avatar

Here is the defendant’s motion to dismiss the affidavits and the argument for dismissal:
https://www.clerkofcourt.maricopa.gov/Home/ShowDocument?id=1632

crazyguy's avatar

@ragingloli Like I said before, I am not a lawyer. And I think I am much less of a legal scholar than I thought, because I have not seen the original Exhibits 3 and 4 or read the argument you linked. After reading the argument, I have two questions. I could probably dig up the answers myself, but you may already have the answers:

1. What exactly is the difference between Exhibits 3 and 4?
2. Are the statements to be excluded “declarations” or “sworn affidavits”? If they are the latter, do they require any further screening before they are excluded?

ragingloli's avatar

1. If I gather this correctly, according to the list of exhibits and witnesses,
exhibit 3 was a collection of declarations sent in by supporters in response to a press release by the campaign,
while exhibit 4 was a collection of declarations without signatures, gathered by a specially designed website, https://www.clerkofcourt.maricopa.gov/Home/ShowDocument?id=1634,
where people only had to check radio buttons and fill in personal information.

2. I believe they are considered one and the same, since the motion to dismiss refers to them as declarations, while in the video during the hearing, the judge referred to them as affidavits.

crazyguy's avatar

@ragingloli Thanks for saving me at least 30 minutes of searching and analyzing. Do you think a sworn affidavit can be dismissed as easily as a “declaration”?

ragingloli's avatar

I would think that they have to follow the rules equally, and that dismissing an affidavit carries with it the charge of perjury.
But I am speculating. You would have to ask a lawyer for that.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther