Arizona Senate President Reveals 3 'Serious Issues' the Election Audit Has Uncovered
Five months after the Arizona state Senate issued subpoenas for election records from Maricopa County, the state is still battling to get to the facts over November’s election.
A letter from Senate President Karen Fann to Maricopa Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers said the county has failed to comply with the subpoenas, and the audit done to date has uncovered some troubling findings.
The Senate called for an audit to resolve, once and for all, any questions over the accuracy of the count. But Fann’s letter citing three “serious issues” uncovered to date — ongoing non-compliance with the legislative subpoenas, chain of custody and ballot organization anomalies, and deleted databases — said it appears data needed to complete the task is missing.
“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,” the letter said.
“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.”
Former President Donald Trump shared a copy of the letter on his website, and offered his take on its significance.
“A devastating letter written by Arizona Senate President Karen Fann on voting irregularities, and probably fraud, in Maricopa County during the 2020 Presidential Election. Even the database was illegally deleted after the subpoena to produce the information,” Trump wrote.
“The Fake News and Lamestream Media is doing everything they can not to cover this major story. They just refuse to talk or report about it. They don’t want the United States or World to see what is going on with our corrupt, third world election.”
Fann also said critical information about the routers used during the election has not been provided.
Fann scolded the county for advancing the “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.”
Fann also noted county officials have contradicted “the County’s assertion that producing the internet routers for inspection would cost up to $6,000,000.”
To keep the process moving, Fann proposed a solution in which the routers would stay in the custody of county officials, but a firm working with the audit would review virtual images of the routers in the presence of Maricopa sheriff’s office representatives.
“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,” Fann wrote. “The Senate has no interest in viewing or taking possession of any information that is unrelated to the administration of the 2020 general election.”
Fann also said the 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.”
She said it “strains credulity to posit that the County has no contractual right to obtain (i.e., control of) password information from Dominion.”
Fann also said the audit has uncovered “apparent omissions, inconsistencies, and anomalies relating to Maricopa County’s handling, organization, and storage of ballots,” and asked for explanations.
For example, she pointed out, “The County has not provided any chain-of-custody documentation for the ballots,” and “Most of the ballot boxes were sealed merely with regular tape and not secured by any kind of tamper-evident seal.”
In addition to some security questions, Fann said there are other irregularities that need explaining.
“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,” she wrote.
Fann requested a meeting with the county on May 18 to resolve the issues raised in her letter.
UPDATE, May 19, 2021: On Tuesday, May 18, a cyber expert working on the Arizona election audit team testified that he was able to recover an allegedly deleted directory from the Maricopa County election server.
Ben Cotton — the founder of CyFir, a digital forensics and cyber risk solutions company — told Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Senate Judiciary Chairman Warren Petersen that he discovered the missing file directory while reviewing the Master File Table.
The MFT, he explained during a special meeting of the state Senate, is a “record of all of the directories and the files that are contained in that partition and a pointing — and a pointer to where that data resides on the hard drive.”
The database directory from the D drive of the machine “EMSPrimary” [Election Management System] had been deleted, he confirmed.
“In the course of performing that MFT discovery, I discovered a MFT that clearly indicated that the database directory was deleted from that server,” Cotton said.
He then told Fann and Petersen he was able to successfully recover the files.
“All of this, however, may be a moot point because subsequently, I’ve been able to recover all of those deleted files. And I have access to that data,” Cotton said.
But on Tuesday, following Cotton’s remarks, the Maricopa County Twitter account appeared to fire back.
Just want to underscore that AZ Senate’s @ArizonaAudit account accused Maricopa County of deleting files- which would be a crime- then a day after our technical letter explained they were just looking in the wrong place- all of a sudden “auditors” have recovered the files. ?
— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) May 18, 2021
“Just want to underscore that AZ Senate’s @ArizonaAudit account accused Maricopa County of deleting files — which would be a crime — then a day after our technical letter explained they were just looking in the wrong place — all of a sudden ‘auditors’ have recovered the files,” the account tweeted.
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