Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers denied on Thursday the allegation contained in a letter by Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, saying that databases had been deleted days before election equipment was delivered to the Senate’s audit team.
Sellers also derided the “lies and half-truths” being propagated regarding this and other election-related matters.
The official Maricopa Arizona Audit account tweeted, “Maricopa County deleted a directory full of election databases from the 2020 election cycle days before the election equipment was delivered to the audit. This is spoliation of evidence!”
Breaking Update: Maricopa County deleted a directory full of election databases from the 2020 election cycle days before the election equipment was delivered to the audit. This is spoliation of evidence! pic.twitter.com/mY0fmmFXAm
— Maricopa Arizona Audit (@ArizonaAudit) May 13, 2021
“We have recently discovered that the entire ‘Database’ directory from the D drive of the machine ‘EMSPrimary’ has been deleted,” Fann wrote in a Wednesday letter to the board of supervisors.
“This removes election related details that appear to have been covered by the subpoena. In addition, the main database for the Election Management System (EMS) Software, ‘Results Tally and Reporting,’ is not located anywhere on the EMSPrimary machine, even though all of the EMS Clients reference that machine as the location of the database,” she continued.
“This suggests that the main database for all election related data for the November 2020 General Election has been removed. Can you please advise as to why these folders were deleted, and whether there are any backups that may contain the deleted folders?”
Sellers fired back in a strongly worded statement Thursday evening.
‘[T]he Senate’s audit Twitter account accused County election officials of deleting files off a server before it was delivered. That would be a crime — and it is not true,” Sellers said.
“I know you have all grown weary of the lies and half-truths six months after the 2020 General Election,” he added.
“Our Board is tired of it too — especially when those lies turn into threats directed at us and County employees who are public servants doing their job. It is dangerous to spout accusations of this magnitude via a tweet.”
Chairman @jacksellers responds to “false and ill-informed” allegations from Arizona Senate and Senate audit account. “It’s clearer by the day the people hired by the Senate are in way over their heads.” Full statement below: pic.twitter.com/kBkVKgbEcD
— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) May 14, 2021
Sellers recounted that he had reviewed the allegations with the county’s election and IT experts and concluded the claims are “false and misinformed.”
“Moreover, the claim that our employees deleted election files and destroyed evidence is outrageous, completely baseless and beneath the dignity of the Arizona Senate,” he said. “I demand an immediate retraction of any public statements made to the news media and spread via Twitter.”
Sellers then called into question the competence of the auditing team, saying, “the people hired by the Senate are in way over their heads.”
The chairman announced, “The Board of Supervisors will hold a public meeting on Monday to refute lies and lay out facts about these issues.”
Arizona Senate Judiciary Chairman Warren Petersen — who along with Fann issued subpoenas in January for election-related materials from the county — pointed out that Sellers did not respond to many of the issues raised in the Senate president’s letter.
“No real answers yet from the County, just angry deflections to President Fanns list of questions. I thought she asked nicely,” Petersen tweeted.
No real answers yet from the County, just angry deflections to President Fanns list of questions. I thought she asked nicely.
— Warren Petersen (@votewarren) May 14, 2021
Beyond alleging that election databases had been deleted, Fann wrote, “The audit team has encountered a significant number of instances in which there is a disparity between the actual number of ballots contained in a batch and the total denoted on the pink report slip accompanying the batch.”
“In most of these instances, the total on the pink report slip is greater than the number of ballots in the batch, although there are a few instances in which the total is lower. What are the reasons for these discrepancies?” she asked.
Fann also had questions regarding the handling and storing of the ballots by election officials.
“The County has not provided any chain-of-custody documentation for the ballots. Does such documentation exist, and if so, will it be produced?” she queried.
She noted that batches of ballots were not sealed, but broken seals could be found in ballot boxes.
Further, “Most of the ballot boxes were sealed merely with regular tape and not secured by any kind of tamper-evident seal. Is that the County’s customary practice for storing ballots?”
Each box remains sealed, in compliance with state statute, and can be traced with tracking and batch numbers created when the boxes were initially sealed in November. This is all done under camera with multiple staff members present. pic.twitter.com/4SmDj2y9uA
— Maricopa County Elections Department (@MaricopaVote) March 2, 2021
Fann also pressed Maricopa County officials why passwords the audit team requires to conduct their review of the Dominion Voting Systems machines used in November’s election have not been turned over.
“Maricopa County has refused to provide the passwords necessary to access vote tabulation devices,” she wrote.
“Its attorneys’ insistence that the County does not have custody or control of this information is belied by the County’s conduct of its own audits, which, if they were as comprehensive as they purported to be, almost certainly would have entailed use of the passwords to examine the tabulation devices, and it strains credulity to posit that the County has no contractual right to obtain (i.e., control of) password information from Dominion.”
The Board of Supervisors released findings of the audit it commissioned of the Dominion Voting machines in February, concluding that no tampering had occurred, no malware was installed, and the machines tabulated accurate counts.
— Maricopa County Elections Department (@MaricopaVote) February 6, 2021
Fann closed her letter requesting that the Board of Supervisors and any other election officials or employees who have knowledge concerning the issues she raised meet with her, Petersen and Senate Audit Liaison Ken Bennett on Tuesday, May 18.
The audit will pause next week to allow previously scheduled high school graduations at the venue to take place. Work will resume the week of May 24.