An audit into the results of November’s presidential election in Maricopa County, Arizona, has received praise from the state’s Republican-led Senate and supporters of former President Donald Trump across the U.S.
Members of the GOP-led Board of Supervisors, however, are making it clear that they want the audit to come to an abrupt halt. Board members claimed in a statement that they believe the audit, which was ordered by the Arizona Senate, is spreading misinformation via claims about a supposedly deleted database and other perceived irregularities.
“Spoliation of evidence”
As a result, they held a meeting on Monday afternoon to address related concerns, during which the call for an end to the audit was approved.
Senate President Karen Fann wrote a letter to Supervisor Jack Sellers, the board’s chairman, to express suspicions raised by auditors, including an election database believed to have been improperly deleted by officials.
For their part, county officials vehemently denied deleting any such database and cited security issues in defending a decision not to provide certain personal voter information.
In a 13-page letter signed by all five county supervisors, the board declared: “These accusations are false, defamatory, and beneath the dignity of the Senate. They are an insult to the dedicated public servants in the Maricopa County Elections Department and Office of the Recorder, who work incredibly long hours conducting the County’s elections with integrity and honor.”
A Twitter account created by the audit team made similar assertions, claiming that “spoliation of evidence” was involved in a database deletion prior to the audit.
“Effectively and accurately”
Maricopa County defended itself in no uncertain terms in a tweet of its own, insisting that that claims of “deleted files” and “chain of custody issues” were unfounded.
The county board further accused private security firm Cyber Ninjas of “incompetence,” adding: “The failure of your so called ‘auditors’ to locate data files on the copy they made of the County’s server speaks more to their ineptitude than it does to the integrity and actions of our dedicated public employees who effectively and accurately run the elections in the fourth largest county in the United States.”
Supervisors have also argued that the Senate-backed audit was unnecessary and even refused to comply with subpoenas until a judge’s ruling in the matter. Two audits were conducted by local officials after the election, finding no irregularities and serving as the basis for the county’s stance.
“We are trying to do the best we can as publicly elected officials,” said Republican supervisor Clint Hickman. “We ran a bipartisan, fair election.”
The board refused to attend a requested meeting on Tuesday to address the issues, asserting: “We will not be responding to any additional inquiries from your ‘auditors.'”