Maricopa County officials admit to deleting election info from subpoenaed servers

An Arizona audit of November’s election results wrapped up last month, sparking some new questions about how votes were managed in Maricopa County.

This week, the chairman and vice-chairman of the county board of supervisors faced questions from U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ). While the pair offered few direct answers, the testimony did include one startling admission.

“Is that fair to say?”

“So you admit that Maricopa County did delete files off the server after the election?” Biggs asked Chairman Jack Sellers at one point. Although he stressed that it occurred only after the data had been archived, Sellers confirmed that the files were deleted.

“Yeah, so when you released these servers and this information to the auditors to begin with, they didn’t have access to those archived files at first,” Biggs continued. “Is that fair to say?”

Vice-Chairman Bill Gates chimed in by asserting that the auditors “did not subpoena those,” but his admission did not go over well with the GOP lawmaker.

“OK, so you didn’t feel obligated to turn that over then to them,” Biggs added with a chuckle.

“A standard practice”

After Gates reiterated the board “responded to the subpoena,” Biggs handed things off to former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who offered his take on the situation.

“I find it frankly laughable to suggest that a county in response to a subpoena could say we will delete files from the hard drives and materials that we give to the auditors because we have those files archived on data that we did not give to the auditors when the subpoena said turn over all the records related to the election,” he said.

Biggs also noted that the county’s Twitter account claimed that purging data related to the 2020 election was “a standard practice” but neither Sellers nor Gates could provide evidence that all previous elections had been followed by similar purges.

When Sellers attempted to pass a related question off on County Recorder Stephen Richer, Biggs replied: “That was the same recorder who called [former County Recorder] Adrian Fontes incompetent and called him a criminal and that you hired someone to oversee Mr. Fontes because you didn’t trust Mr. Fontes as well, is that the same guy Stephen Richer?”

Although Gates said he “wouldn’t put it that way,” he did acknowledge that the board chose to put six of its own members in charge of election oversight. In light of the evidence that has emerged, Biggs shared his controversial view opinion that it is still unclear which candidate won Maricopa County in the presidential election.

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