PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors said auditors of the 2020 presidential election got everything they requested and no data was deleted. If they can’t find it, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers says, it’s because the auditing firm Cyber Ninjas is "incompetent."
“The Ninjas can’t even find files already given to them by Maricopa County. They can’t find the files because they don’t know what they’re doing," said Chairman Sellers.
Last week Senate President Karen Fann sent a letter to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors alleging the board was not complying with Senate subpoenas as part of its audit investigation.
Fann raised issues regarding the chain of custody of the ballots and missing databases.
“Every file the Senate has asked for it received. There is no file, zero from the election, have been deleted. Zero,” said Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer.
Richer said the county will not hand over routers that contain personal data of county residents and classified law enforcement information. The auditing team requested them.
Whether it’s looking for bamboo in the paper the ballots are printed on, trying to find water spots or indications the ballots are fraudulent, the audit has devolved into a hyper-partisan exercise.
“They’re hearing from both pro and con,” said Republican political consultant and lobbyist Stan Barnes. “This is hard to exaggerate in the way of its effect on the political rector scale in the Republican party.”
A recent poll done by Highground Consulting found that 78% of Republicans are convinced there was election fraud.
More than half of all Arizonans in the same poll think there was no fraud. Republicans running or considering running for statewide office may only get them as far as the primary.
“If the narrative in the primary becomes fraud, it’s almost like an albatross around a neck of a candidate in a general election," said Highground President Chuck Coughlin.
With a few exceptions, Republican senators have chosen to say little about the audit, and prefer to let Karen Fann defend it.
Fann has nothing to lose since she Republican in one of the most conservative districts in the state.
“She never has to run a statewide campaign. It’s a safe Republican district. She’s telling people what they want to hear. This is where leadership becomes difficult,” said Coughlin.
Barnes thinks there is a chance, when this audit is done, it will be quickly dismissed by most voters. “We have another 18 months before the election and there is going to be a lot that happens between then,” said Barnes.
But as he says it, Barnes remembers back to 1987-88 when lawmakers were taking sides over whether to impeach Arizona Governor Evan Mecham for obstruction of justice.
“No Republican could escape the question are you on the side of impeachment,” Barnes says of those times, before admitting, every Republican candidate will have to say what side of the audit were they on when it comes time to run in 2022.
“We will be reviewing a response from the senate president’s attempt legitimizing a grift that’s disguised as an audit."