Although the majority of members on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors are Republican, they have been fighting the Arizona state Senate’s forensic audit of the November election from the get-go. Last week, the board refused to turn over routers the Senate had subpoenaed and claimed not to have the “passwords to access administrative control functions of election machines,” according to the Epoch Times.
The Maricopa County audit team discovered on Wednesday that “a directory full of election databases from the 2020 election cycle” had been deleted days before county election officials were scheduled to hand over the election equipment for forensic review.
The team broke the news on social media, saying that this was a “spoliation of evidence.” A screenshot provided by the Maricopa audit Twitter page shows that all of the data had been “modified” on April 12.
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
After the team discovered that the database had been deleted, Karen Fann, the president of the Arizona state Senate, sent a letter to the chairman of the Maricopa Board of Supervisors, Jack Sellers, demanding some answers.
“We have recently discovered that the entire ‘Database’ directory from the D drive of the machine ‘EMSPrimary’ has been deleted,” she began. “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,” Fann wrote. “Can you please advise as to why these folders were deleted, and whether there are any backups that may contain the deleted folders?”
“To date, attorneys for Maricopa County [Board of Supervisors] 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,'” Fann said.
“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,” she continued.
“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 wrote.
“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,” she added. “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.”
Fann also informed Sellers that Cyber Ninjas, the independent contractor hired by the state Senate to assist in conducting the audit, had “become aware of apparent omissions, inconsistencies, and anomalies relating to Maricopa County’s handling, organization, and storage of ballots.”
Fann’s complete letter, including all exhibits, is available for viewing by the public.
On Wednesday night, Arizona GOP Chairwoman Dr. Kelli Ward weighed in on the latest development in this saga.
No wonder Maricopa County & the Democrats have been trying to prevent this audit…
— Dr. Kelli Ward ?? (@kelliwardaz) May 13, 2021
? WOW! Letter from Senate President @FannKfann to BOS regarding significant “irregularities” in Maricopa County. #AmericasAudit will help to restore #ElectionIntegrity & #VoterConfidence! ? pic.twitter.com/12RE2k2ZXk
— Dr. Kelli Ward ?? (@kelliwardaz) May 13, 2021
Dr. Ward has been providing regular video updates on the team’s progress. In a message delivered earlier on Wednesday (before news of the deleted material was known), she said the audit has sent Democrats “into a total frenzy.” That is not an overstatement.
“There is new information coming to light nearly every day as to how poorly the election in November was supervised in Maricopa County and in our state,” she told viewers.
“Election officials say they didn’t have access to passwords that are critical … critical equipment. But outside vendors like Dominion did. Routers weren’t secure and may have been used to allow access to a network of county offices,” Ward explained.
“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire … So stay focused — there is plenty, plenty of news to come.”
America’s Audit: What the mainstream media isn’t telling you… Legal action imminent. Audit side benefit: questions of election office irregularities, breach of Voter ID information AZGOP Chairwoman @kelliwardaz reports #AmericasAudit #FinishTheAudit #ElectionIntegrity pic.twitter.com/GZVeMAx2Wj
— Arizona Republican Party (@AZGOP) May 13, 2021
If these allegations are true, and it is proven that the Board of Supervisors deleted election data, one doesn’t have to be a lawyer to think that they’ve crossed the line into illegal territory.
Why would they go to such great lengths to keep the auditors from seeing the records? Let me come out and say it. What are they hiding?
Not only has the Board of Supervisors been obstructing this audit, the entire Democratic Party has been trying to block it. First, Democrats within the state tried to stop it and when they failed, it became a crusade for the entire Democratic Party.
Following months of obstruction via bogus lawsuits and a full-court press from heavyweight Washington lawyer Marc Elias (who commissioned the Steele dossier) and his many minions, influential Democrat-run organizations appealed to the Department of Justice.
The organizations behind this eight-page missive include The Brennan Center for Justice, Protect Democracy and The Leadership Conference. Their efforts have born fruit. According to KNXV-TV, the DOJ decided to get involved in some capacity in the matter. Last week, the DOJ Civil Rights Division’s Principle Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela Karlan wrote a letter to Karen Fann to express the department’s concerns about ballot security and potential voter intimidation arising from the forensic audit.
#BREAKING the DOJ Civil Rights Division has sent a letter to Senator Fann raising concerns over how the #azaudit is being conducted.
1. Election assets are not under the control of election officials.
2. Reports of door to door canvassing. pic.twitter.com/OaCWvyAM57
— The AZ – abc15 – Data Guru (@Garrett_Archer) May 6, 2021
These moves smack of desperation and leave many Republicans wondering what has the Democrats running scared.
Are the auditors perhaps “over the target”? The state Senate plans to get to the bottom of it.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday afternoon that the Senate just signed a lease through the end of June so it can complete the audit.
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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