Surveillance video shows 'dumpster divers' at Maricopa County Elections Department

Posted at 5:19 AM, Mar 10, 2021

PHOENIX — Since the 2020 general election, officials working at Maricopa County's Election Tabulation Center have faced several security threats.

The first came just hours after polls closed in November when protestors made their way inside the usually secure building as ballots were being tabulated. Later, a swarm of protesters gathered outside, where they spent weeks claiming the vote count was fraudulent.

The latest threat was captured on surveillance cameras last week. A group of people attempted to get inside the tabulation center where more than 2.1 million ballots from the 2020 election are still being held.

According to the Maricopa County Elections Department, a woman drove towards the bays behind the building on March 5. Surveillance video shows the woman, who has identified herself online as Staci Burk, taking photos and videos of the open bay doors Friday.

Burk posted several videos on social media pages claiming boxes filled with ballots were visible and accessible to the public.

Surveillance video shows similar activity on March 6.

A group of three are seen approaching, then inspecting items inside dumpsters outside the facility. One man, with the help of a step stool, jumps inside and removes a yellow bag filled with shredded documents. Then, the group attempts to open doors into the building, to no avail.

Burke took to social media after the "dumpster dive" to post photos of shredded documents she claimed were voted ballots from the 2020 general election.

The photos and claims quickly spread, fueling those who continue to cast doubt on Arizona's election results.

Newly elected Recorder Stephen Richer was quick to respond and dispute accusations that election officials tossed ballots ahead of an audit said to be led by the Arizona Senate after GOP lawmakers won a long-fought court battle to review ballots from 2020.

"None of the ballots stored in the vault have been unsealed or shredded. Not one," said Richer in a statement released Tuesday. "Every single ballot of the 2.1 million November General Election ballots that were tabulated have been held securely and the chain of custody has never been broken... After speaking with the voter registration team, I’ve confirmed that we shred a variety of non-classified documents. In addition, we also destroy deceased voter ballots since they could never be legally tabulated."

Several questions surrounding the security of the building were raised by both the group involved in the incident and those who saw photos posted online. County election administrators say the building has well-established security measures in place protecting sensitive materials inside the facility, including ballots and other election equipment. Still, the group was able to gain access to dumpsters outside the building.

"What we cannot have, and what nobody should be comfortable with, is individuals attempting to break into secure facilities potentially interrupting the legal processes currently underway, as well as an election currently in process for the City of Goodyear," said Richer.

ABC15 reached out to Burk for comment on statements made by election officials in response to the incident but has not received a response.