On Wednesday, Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake's election lawsuit went to trial. Among the experts called forth by Lake's legal team was professional investigator Heather Honey.
Honey went over statements given to her by a number of individuals in the Maricopa County election process, and claims that legal requirements for chain of custody were not followed.
"One of the areas that we looked at," Honey said, "was the dropbox chain of custody, and the election procedure manual specifically has guidelines, … about eight specific requirements that the recorder is required to do."
She explained that while researching the issue, she and her team spoke with people who had participated in the process, including an employee of Runbeck, a third party election services company that operated in Maricopa County.
"The Runbeck employee, Denise, did she tell you about any problems at Runbeck with respect to chain of custody?" Lake's lawyer Bryan Blehm asked.
"Yes," Honey replied. "She expressed her concern over the fact that the procedure that had been well established during the election had not been used for the large number of election day dropbox ballots that were received."
Honey explained that she also spoke to a woman named Leslie, who was an "observer" at the Maricopa County Tabulation Election Center (MCTEC) on election night when the ballots were received back from the dropboxes.
"Her concern," Honey explained, "was that specifically the seals were being removed from the transport containers, and the ballots inside were not counted. That was a requirement, as she understood it, and the fact that they were just taking those ballots out of the transport containers without counting them was her primary concern."
"So we have two different people," Blehm reiterated, "and both of them are both telling you that there was no chain of custody on election day for ballots being transported from MCTEC to Runbeck?"
"Correct," Honey replied. "They weren't following the legal requirements for chain of custody. There were seals on the containers when they transported them, but the specific issues were that they were just cutting them open, taking the ballots out, putting them in trays without regard to how many; there was no documentation."
When questioned further by lawyers for the defense, Honey reiterated that she believed somebody somewhere along the line "failed to maintain chain of custody," and thus made it impossible to know "how many ballots were or were not transferred."
In her lawsuit, Lake alleged that, "The number of illegal votes cast in Arizona's general election on November 8, 2022 far exceeds the 17,117 vote margin," and that "Witnesses who were present…show hundreds of thousands of illegal ballots infected the election in Maricopa County."
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