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June 24, 2021
Thursday, June 24, 2021

AZ Senate Asks County to Address ‘Serious Issues’ Uncovered in ongoing Election Audit

The president of the Arizona State Senate asked the chairman of the Maricopa Board of Supervisors in a letter on Tuesday to address “three 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. “

Arizona State Senate President Karen Fann identified those three issues in her letter to Maricopa County Supervisors Board Chairman Jack Sellers as: (1) ongoing non-compliance with legislative subpoenas, (2) chain of custody and ballot organization anomalies, and (3) deleted data bases.

As Breitbart News reported on December 16:

Arizona Senate Republicans on Tuesday issued subpoenas to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors for a scanned ballot audit and ‘full forensic audit of ballot tabulation equipment, the software for that equipment and the election management system used in the 2020 general election.’

The audit of Maricopa County’s November 2020 election results began on April 23 and may continue into the summer.

“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,” Fann wrote in Tuesday’s letter, adding:

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.”  . . .

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.

Fann then addressed the second issue, chain of custody and ballot organization anomolies:

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:

      1. The County has not provided any chain-of-custody documentation for the ballots. Does such documentation exist, and if so, will it be produced?

      2. 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?

      3. 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?

      4. 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?

      5. 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?

Fann then addressed the issue of deleted data bases:

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?

Fann closed by inviting Board Chair Sellers and appropriate Maricopa County employees to meet with her personally at a hearing room in the Arizona State Capital on Tuesday, May 18 to address these three serious issues.


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