Arizona Republican calls Trump ‘deleted database’ statement ‘unhinged’ – The Guardian

Arizona

  • Maricopa county recorder calls for end to ‘insane’ election lies
  • Trump supporters back ongoing, chaotic partisan recount

Associated Press in Phoenix

Sun 16 May 2021 07.41 EDT

The Republican who leads the Arizona county elections department targeted by a GOP audit of the 2020 election results is slamming Donald Trump and others in his party for their continued falsehoods about how the election was run.

Maricopa county recorder Stephen Richer on Saturday called a Trump statement accusing the county of deleting an elections database “unhinged” and called on other Republicans to stop the unfounded accusations.

“We can’t indulge these insane lies any longer. As a party. As a state. As a country,” Richer tweeted.

Richer became recorder in January, after defeating the Democratic incumbent.

The Republican state senate president, Karen Fann, has demanded the Republican-dominated Maricopa county board of supervisors answer questions raised by the private auditors she has hired.

The Arizona senate took possession of 2.1m ballots and election equipment last month for what was supposed to be a three-week hand recount of the presidential race won by Joe Biden.

Instead, the auditors have moved as a snail’s pace and had to shut down on Thursday after counting about 500,000 ballots. They plan to resume counting in a week, after high-school graduation ceremonies planned for the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, which they rented for the recount.

Trump’s statement said, in part, that “the entire database of Maricopa county in Arizona has been DELETED! This is illegal and the Arizona State Senate, who is leading the forensic audit, is up in arms.”

Richer and the board say that statement is just plain wrong. In recent days, both he and the board have begun aggressively pushing back at what they see as continuing falsehoods from Republicans who question Trump’s loss.

“Enough with the defamation. Enough with the unfounded allegations,” Richer tweeted on Thursday. “I came to this office to competently, fairly, and lawfully administer the duties of the office. Not to be accused by own party of shredding ballots and deleting files for an election I didn’t run. Enough.”

The board, led by Republican chairman Jack Sellers, have been aggressively using Twitter to push back, firing off messages slamming the private company doing the audit. The board plans to hold a public hearing Monday.

“I know you all have grown weary of lies and half-truths six months after 2020 general elections,” Sellers said on Friday in announcing Monday’s meeting.

Fann sent Sellers a letter on Wednesday requesting county officials publicly answer questions at the senate on Tuesday, but she stopped short of her threat to issue subpoenas.

Fann repeated the senate’s demand for access to administrative passwords for vote-counting machines and internet routers. County officials say they have turned over all the passwords they have and have refused to give up the routers, saying it would compromise sensitive data, including classified law enforcement information held by the sheriff’s office.

Fann proposed allowing its contractor to view data from the routers at county facilities under supervision of the sheriff’s office.

“The Senate has no interest in viewing or taking possession of any information that is unrelated to the administration of the 2020 general election,” she wrote.

The county says the passwords the senate is seeking are maintained by Dominion Voting Systems, which makes the vote-counting machines and leases them to the county.

The company said in a statement on Thursday that it cooperates with auditors certified by the US Election Assistance Commission, and did so for two prior audits of 2020 results in Maricopa county, but won’t work with Cyber Ninjas.

Fann has hired that company, a Florida-based cybersecurity firm, to oversee an unprecedented, partisan review of the 2020 election in Arizona’s largest county. They are conducting a hand recount of all 2.1m ballots and looking into baseless conspiracy theories suggesting there were problems with the election, which have grown popular with supporters of Trump.

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