Maricopa County Admits Deleting Hundreds of Thousands of Records They Previously Archived Away from Subpoenas

During a House Oversight Committee hearing addressing the results of the audit of the independent Maricopa County ballot audit ordered by the Arizona Senate, one of the Maricopa County Supervisors who fought the audit admitted that hundreds of thousands of election related files were deleted. Instead of producing them in response to the legislative subpoena, he said the county “archived” them.

Responding to a question from Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) asking him whether it was appropriate to delete files on a server after an election, Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates said, “I would say it is appropriate to maintain files, and that is exactly what we did. We deleted — the files that have been discussed, they were archived.” 

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Rep. Andy Biggs Says During Congressional Hearing ‘We Don’t Know’ Whether Trump or Biden Won in Arizona

The House Oversight Committee held a hearing Thursday on the results of the audit of the independent Maricopa County ballot audit ordered by the Arizona Senate. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) found the audit results troubling, leading him to question whether Joe Biden really won the election in Arizona.

At the beginning of the hearing, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08) asked Biggs who won the presidential election in Arizona. Biggs responded, “We don’t know. There are a lot of issues with this election that took place.” He said the only reason the hearing is being conducted is because the chair, Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12), wants to see any election integrity legislation scuttled. 

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Maricopa County Audit Results Reveal Someone Was Caught on Video Illegally Deleting Hundreds of Thousands of Election Files the Day Before the Audit Started

Arizona Senate Republicans issued the results of the independent ballot audit they conducted of the 2020 presidential and U.S. Senate election in Maricopa County on September 24 during a presentation, revealing findings that numerous election laws were broken and security measures breached. 

The most startling finding came from Ben Cotton, the founder of CyFIR. He said hundreds of thousands of election files — which the Maricopa County Supervisors refused to allow the auditors to examine — were deleted the day before the audit began, a violation of federal law which requires federal election records to be retained for 22 months. Although the name of the account that deleted them was not tied to a specific election worker, Cotton said there is video of the person who accessed those servers at that time. 

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Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Audit Liaison Ken Bennett Confirm Bennett Will Remain as Senate Liaison, Pledge Bennett Will Have ‘Full Access’

Ken Bennett

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann released a statement on Friday that confirmed former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett will continue to serve as the Senate’s Liason to the ongoing audit.

Further, Fann promised that Bennett will be granted “full access” to all aspects of the forensic audit, after Bennett threatened to leave the post earlier this week.

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Senate Liaison for Arizona Audit Reverses Course on Stepping Down, Will Remain Under Certain Conditions

Ken Bennett

The former Secretary of State serving as the liaison for the Arizona State Senate Audit, will remain in his capacity as liaison after all. This is the second time that Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) has apparently walked Bennett back from the brink of walking away from the audit. Their latest agreement to keep Bennett on was less publicized than the first; no official statements have been put forth concerning the new terms of Bennett’s role. Per their agreement, Bennett will regain access to the building and may obtain information from the auditing company, Cyber Ninjas, upon request.

As The Arizona Sun Times reported on Thursday, Bennett has gone back and forth over his decision to bow out of the audit. Bennett relayed those sentiments twice this week: once on Monday, then again on Wednesday. Both times, Bennett discussed stepping down from his role with the radio host James Harris on morning episodes of The Conservative Circus. Both times, Bennett said he was liaison “in name only” because he was repeatedly excluded from overseeing critical aspects of the audit.

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Senate Liaison for Arizona Audit Announces He May Step Down

Ken Bennett

On Wednesday, the Arizona Senate’s audit liaison Ken Bennett announced he will step down from the audit. Bennett issued the announcement on Wednesday morning in a radio interview.

Bennett said it was “impossible” to function as liaison, and revealed that volunteer consultant Randy Pullen would be assuming his duties. He said he would be a liaison in name only. Bennett refused to approve any final report on the audit, since he wasn’t allowed inside any longer.

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Kari Lake Calls for Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs to Recuse Herself from Overseeing Gubernatorial Race

Kari Lake AZ

Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is calling for “the most partisan Secretary of State in the history of Arizona,” Democrat Katie Hobbs, to recuse herself from overseeing the governor’s race. Hobbs is also running for governor. Lake cited Hobbs’ behavior during the 2020 election and aftermath, her “history of irrational bias and disdain toward Republicans in addition to what election investigators have reported to the public about serious issues affecting tens-of-thousands of ballots and voters.” She said, “Arizona voters have lost confidence in Katie Hobbs to run another election.”

Lake is concerned that Hobbs will not conduct the election fairly for Republicans like herself in the race. She asked other candidates to join her demand. She cited a tweet from Hobbs in 2017, where Hobbs said, “[email protected] has made it abundantly clear he’s more interested in pandering to his neo-nazi base than being @POTUS for all Americans.” Hobbs did not delete the tweet.

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Election Auditors Report Surplus of over 74K Mail-In Ballots, 4K Voters Registered After Deadline, 18K Voters Removed from Rolls Following Election

During the Arizona Senate hearing on the election audit in Maricopa County Thursday morning, audit officials reported discovery of issues such as ballot duplicates and surpluses, voter roll data, and machine security. The audit officials testifying were Senate Liaison Ken Bennett, Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, and digital security firm CyFIR founder Ben Cotton. Cyber Ninjas is conducting the audit.

The Arizona Sun Times checked the Arizona legislature website at 8 am MST. The website was down. All that was displayed was an error message that said service was unavailable. The website remained that way until sometime after the Senate hearing began. 

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Counting of Paper Ballots in Maricopa County Has Concluded, But There’s Still Work to Do Before Report is Released

The counting and examination of paper ballots in Maricopa County, Arizona concluded on Friday, but there is still more work to do before the full results are made public. According to one report, however, preliminary results could be released as early as this week.

The Maricopa County Audit Twitter account announced that they had finished counting paper ballots Friday evening.

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Status Update: The Maricopa County Ballot Audit

The ballot audit in Maricopa County is winding down, and as details leak out from the counting and analysis, it is becoming clear what many of the problems are that will need addressing. Some could be honest mistakes, such as voters marking their ballots incorrectly, but others could be far more serious.

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) listed off several discrepancies in a letter to the Maricopa County Supervisors on May 12, such as different numbers of ballots in the boxes than the numbers listed on the pink sheets inside the boxes. She cited several examples, including one box that contained an alarming 35 fewer ballots than the number on the pink slip.

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