The Republican audit of Maricopa County, Arizona 2020 election ballots has already turned up "three serious issues."
According to a letter from Karen Fann, President of the Arizona State Senate, sent to the Maricopa Board of Supervisors, the county continues to flout valid, legislative subpoenas, refusing to hand over virtual images of routers. The county has also allegedly failed to provide the passwords necessary to access vote tabulation devices for the audit.
"...attorneys for Maricopa County have refused to produce virtual images of routers used in connection with the general election."Karen Fann, Arizona Senate President
A second issue flagged by the audit has to do with "anomalies" in chain of custody processes for ballots. The letter says the county has yet to provide chain of custody documentation, bags storing the ballots were not sealed, batch dividers are missing, and ballot boxes were sealed with regular tape rather than tamper evident seals.
The third issue mentioned is the alleged deletion of "the entire 'Database' directory from the D drive of the machine 'EMSPrimary'.” That would mean subpoenaed data has been removed. According to the audit, there is also evidence that the "main database for all election related data for the 2020 General Election has been removed."
Arizona is one of several important states where Donald Trump enjoyed an initial lead, only to have it disappear as questioned mail-in, dropbox, and absentee votes were counted.
The vast majority of votes cast in Arizona, 2.1 million of nearly 3.4 million ballots, were cast in Maricopa County.
According to the official tally, Biden beat Trump by 10,457 votes, or 0.3 percent.
Over 70,000 more people voted in Maricopa County in 2020 than in 2016.
Joe Biden is only the second Democrat to win Arizona in 70 years.
In not turning over the routers, Maricopa County officials have said that providing them would “endanger the lives of law enforcement officers, their operations, or the protected health information and personal data of Maricopa County’s citizens." The county has also said that producing the internet routers for inspection would cost up to six million dollars.
Read the letter and documentation below.
Maricopa Board of Supervisors
c/o Chairman Jack Sellers
301 West Jefferson Street, #10
Phoenix, Arizona 85003
Dear Chairman Sellers:
I am writing to seek your assistance and cooperation in the resolution of three (3) serious issues that have arisen in the course of the Senate’s ongoing audit of the returns of the November 3, 2020 general election in Maricopa County.
I. Ongoing Non-Compliance with the Legislative Subpoenas
The first issue concerns Maricopa County’s apparent intent to renege on its previous commitment to comply fully with the legislative subpoenas issued on January 13, 2021, which, as you know, Judge Thomason found were valid and enforceable.
To date, attorneys for Maricopa County have refused to produce virtual images of routers used in connection with the general election, relying on a conclusory and unsupported assertion that providing the routers would somehow “endanger the lives of law enforcement officers, their operations, or the protected health information and personal data of Maricopa County’s citizens.” If true, the fact that Maricopa County stores on its routers substantial quantities of citizens’ and employees’ highly sensitive personal information is an alarming indictment of the County’s lax data security practices, rather than of the legislative subpoenas. Similarly, the County’s assertion that producing the internet routers for inspection would cost up to $6,000,000 seems at odds with Deputy County Attorney Joseph La Rue’s prior representation to Audit Liaison Ken Bennett that the routers already had been disconnected from the County’s network and were prepared for imminent delivery to the Senate.
Nevertheless, in an effort to resolve the dispute regarding production of the routers, we propose that agents of CyFIR, an experienced digital forensics firm and subcontractor of Cyber Ninjas, review virtual images of the relevant routers in Maricopa County facilities and in the presence of representatives of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Such an arrangement would permit Maricopa County to retain custody and monitor the review of router data, while ensuring that the Senate may access the information it requires—and to which it is constitutionally entitled—to successfully complete its audit. The Senate has no interest in viewing or taking possession of any information that is unrelated to the administration of the 2020 general election.
Separately, Maricopa County has refused to provide the passwords necessary to access vote tabulation devices. 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.
II. Chain of Custody and Ballot Organization Anomalies
As the audit has progressed, the Senate’s contractors have become aware of apparent omissions, inconsistencies, and anomalies relating to Maricopa County’s handling, organization, and storage of ballots. We hope you can assist us in understanding these issues, including specifically the following:
- The County has not provided any chain-of-custody documentation for the ballots. Does such documentation exist, and if so, will it be produced?
- The bags in which the ballots were stored are not sealed, although the audit team has found at the bottom of many boxes cut seals of the type that would have sealed a ballot bag. Why were these seals placed at the bottom of the boxes?
- Batches within a box are frequently separated by only a divider without any indication of the corresponding batch numbers. In some cases, the batch dividers are missing altogether. This lack of organization has significantly complicated and delayed the audit team’s ballot processing efforts. What are the County’s procedures for sorting, organizing, and packaging ballot batches?
- 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?
- 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? For your reference, please see several illustrative (i.e., not comprehensive) examples in the table below:
|Pallet||Ballot Type||Batch||Pink Slip Total||Actual Total||Discrepancy|
For your convenience, images of the corresponding pink report slips are attached in Exhibit A.
III. Deleted Databases
We have recently discovered that the entire “Database” directory from the D drive of the machine “EMSPrimary” has been deleted. 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. 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?
The image below shows the location of the files known to be deleted. In addition, the main database for “Results Tally and Reporting” is not present.
* * *
I am hopeful that we can constructively resolve these issues and questions without recourse to additional subpoenas or other compulsory process. To that end, I invite you and any other officers or employees of Maricopa County (to include officials in the Elections Department) who possess knowledge or information concerning the matters set forth above to a meeting at the Arizona State Capitol on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. in Hearing Room 109. Chairman Petersen, former Secretary Bennett and I will attend the meeting, which will be live-streamed to the public.
Please let me know at your earliest convenience whether you accept my invitation and, if so, which Maricopa County personnel will attend.
Thank you for your cooperation on these important issues of public concern.
Karen Fann, President
Arizona State Senate