Audit using unproven technology developed by ‘failed inventor’ Jovan Pulitzer

By: - April 30, 2021 8:45 am

Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are being examined and recounted by contractors hired by the Arizona State Senate at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. In doing so, they are using unproven technology that claims it can identify counterfeit ballots. There have been no credible claims that any ballots in Arizona or elsewhere were counterfeited. Photo by Rob Schumacher | Arizona Republic/pool

Policies and procedures recently released by the Florida based firm auditing Maricopa County’s election along with observations of the auditing process reveal that auditors are scouring the 2.1 million ballots for “counterfeits” by using an unproven process created by the man who developed one of the “worst inventions” ever

That technology was developed by Jovan Pulitzer, a favorite of election fraud conspiracy theorists, who claims to have invented technology that can detect fraudulent ballots by examining the folds in the paper and the markings in various elections. When he asserted that Joe Biden’s win in Georgia last year was marred by fraud that only he could detect, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state derided him as a “failed inventor and a failed treasure hunter.” 

Pulitzer is already known to have a role in the Senate’s audit, though it was unknown in entirely what capacity. 

Volunteers at the Senate’s audit appear to be using Pulitzer’s technology on Maricopa County ballots, placing ballots under a device that uploads close-up images of the voter’s markings made to a laptop. 

Policies made public Thursday make clear what the auditors are doing.

“The purpose of this process it (sic) to collect information about the ballot paper, ballot ink and selection marks on the physical ballot during the hand recount process,” reads policies and procedures published by Wake TSI in a section titled “Paper Examination Process.” 

The procedures were released following a judge’s ruling that the Arizona Senate and lead auditing firm Cyber Ninjas cannot keep them a secret.

“[A] mouse click will trigger all for (sic) microscope cameras to capture images,” the paper says. 

The images uploaded to the laptops bear a striking resemblance to images taken by Pulitzer and used in a number of election fraud related lawsuits

Former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who is serving as a liaison between the Senate and the auditing team, previously told the Arizona Mirror that Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, consulted with Pulitzer while designing the process used to test the ballots. 

Arizona Senate hires a ‘Stop the Steal’ advocate to lead 2020 election audit

Pulitzer, who does not have a background in election work, has claimed his technology can tell if a human or machine marked the ballot, as well as if a ballot is made of the right type of paper. 

He has said that his technology identifies “kinematic markers” that indicate if a piece of paper has been handled, folded or processed in the mail and has claimed to have tested the technology on over 2 million ballots. Pulitzer told the Mirror that he cannot discuss anything about that work, including where it was done, because it is subject to non-disclosure agreements.

The policies and procedures released by Cyber Ninjas Thursday show that they are also looking at the “thickness and feel” of each ballot. 

However, those policies made a critical error in guiding auditors on how to examine folds in ballots.

“If Election Day Poll vote, note the presence of a visible fold,” the policies direct auditors. “If non-Election day vote, note the absence of visible fold.” 

In Maricopa County, ballots cast at polling places on Election Day are not folded, while early ballots cast before Election Day are folded and mailed back to elections officials.

Pulitzer’s most well known invention is the CueCat, a barcode reader which placed number five in Time Magazine’s worst inventions of all time just under Agent Orange and beating out subprime mortgages. 

The invention was popular among hackers due to the ease at which they were able to hack the device and use it for whatever purpose they needed. However, CueCat would also later be the subject of a data breach in which 140,000 CueCat users had their personal information exposed. 

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Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.

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