Arizona Senate President Karen Fann made clear one of the reasons the election audit in her state has taken so much longer than anticipated is because Maricopa County has done everything it can to thwart it along the way.
Really, the obstruction started in December when the county opted to go to court rather than comply with subpoenas issued by the state Senate. The county has resisted every step of the way since.
In a Thursday interview with The Western Journal, Fann pointed out that another source of delay is that a full forensic audit of this type has never been undertaken before, so the auditors, in a sense, were writing the book on the subject.
“So it’s been a challenge,” she said, “but what has been even more of a challenge is the fact that Maricopa County has intentionally done everything in their power to sabotage it, to withhold information, to be less than honest with the public about this, and so it’s created a huge problem.”
Fann noted the county has yet to turn over all the information an Arizona judge ruled in February auditors have every right to review, including the routers used by the Maricopa County Elections Department.
“They withheld the blue tally sheets. We have not gotten the chain of custody [documentation for ballots]. We have not gotten the routers, the passcodes, the fobs,” she said.
The state Senate president highlighted one vital piece of information that has emerged from the audit is that Maricopa County election officials do not have access to key passwords used in the Dominion Voting Systems machines.
“Maricopa County doesn’t even have control over their own election system,” Fann said. “Only Dominion has those passwords and they have 24 hour a day access to those computers.”
The auditors testified at a hearing last week that multiple Dominion employees have access to the passwords, which undermines accountability since there is no way of knowing exactly who accessed election equipment in each instance.
In May, Dominion refused to turn over the passwords to the auditors, saying to do so would cause “irreparable damage to the commercial interests of the company.”
Another key finding of the audit revealed at last week’s hearing is that there is no record of up to 74,000 absentee ballots being mailed that apparently were counted in November’s election.
Asked about that number on Thursday, Fann said the county’s “numbers are not adding up,” and it is not clear if officials are simply withholding information or something else is going on.
“It’s apparent they do not want this audit to continue and they are not cooperating in any way whatsoever,” she said.
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers threw down the gauntlet in May when he refused to attend a meeting requested by Fann to address some questions the audit had raised at that point. No other county election officials participated either.
He accused Fann of seeking to legitimize “a grift disguised as an audit.”
Arizona Senate Judiciary Chairman Warren Petersen listed some questions, based on last week’s hearing with the auditors, in a pair of Sunday tweets.
This is an excerpt from Flag and Cross.
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