What do the missing files mean, the demands to vote around the Maricopa County election audit?
Update: On Thursday evening, Maricopa County Supervisory Board Chairman Jack Sellers released a statement refuting the claims in the letter. The statement demands “an immediate retraction of any public statement made to the media and disseminated via Twitter.” The county plans to hold a public meeting on Monday on the issue.
Arizona State Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) sent a letter to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors advising them that auditors had discovered “serious problems.” Fann identifies three issues in particular: non-compliance with legislative subpoena, chain of custody issues with ballots, and evidence that database files have been deleted from the election management computer.
The letter was sent to Maricopa County the same day Arizona Secretary of State Democrat Katie Hobbs posted a statement on social media that observers representing her office had located a connected wireless router. to the audit network.
Auditors recognized the router but said the antenna was not turned on and the router was being used to assign internal network addresses to IT equipment.
President @jacksellers responds to “false and misinformed” allegations from the Arizona Senate and Senate audit account. “It’s clearer on a day when the people hired by the Senate are way over their heads.” Full statement below: pic.twitter.com/kBkVKgbEcD
– Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) May 14, 2021
Here’s what we know so far about the complaints in Fann’s letter.
“Assignment of non-compliance and password”
Fann says Maricopa County has “refused to produce virtual images of routers used in the general election.” The County Oversight Council previously refused to provide the routers as well as virtual images because the traffic information on the routers includes not only electoral department network traffic, but traffic from all county departments, including the “sensitive data” of the police.
She also says the county has refused to “provide the passwords necessary to access the vote tabulation devices.”
Passwords have become a point of friction for both parties.
Maricopa County insists that passwords are not under their control as they are only needed by the vendor to maintain those parts of the tabulation equipment software that is not directly responsible for tabulation. ballots.
The Senate letter argues that the county would not have been able to conduct its own independent audit, two of which were completed in February, without those passwords.
“Anomalies in the chain of custody and the organization of the ballot”
Audit staff identified what they called “apparent omissions, inconsistencies and anomalies in the management, organization and storage of ballots by Maricopa County.”
Once the ballots are counted by the tabulator of the machine, they are organized in batches of approximately 200. A “pink card” is then added to the batch which assigns it a batch number and the number of ballots contained in the batch. This is done so that if a manual count is required, the process would be more efficient and the ballots can be easily compared between a manual count and a machine count.
Audit staff say they identified several examples of lots in which the pink ballot total did not match the actual number of ballots in the lot. They also listed several other items such as the unsealed storage bags, the use of tamper-evident tape, and the general disorganization of the lots themselves.
So far, the county has not provided a response to this claim, but a spokesperson for the county registrar said in a text message “… much of the letter is a misunderstanding of election operations.”
Word of Fann’s letter initially went viral on social media when the Arizona audit Twitter account posted an image showing the filenames contained in a recently deleted database directory, but retrieved by the CyFir audit provider.
In the tweet, they accuse the county of removing “a directory full of electoral databases from the 2020 election cycle days before election materials were delivered for audit.”
ABC15 reviewed this claim and the image posted on social media.
Of the 27 database files listed in the image, seven had names indicating they could be linked to the 2020 general election.
ABC15 contacted Ryan Macias, the former deputy director of equipment certification for the Election Assistance Commission. Macias is a representative for Secretary Hobbs in the audit room, which he says is pro bono.
Macias examined the image and determined, based on the names and dates, that the remaining seven deleted database files were from a post-machine test required by law after each election called a “Logic Test and accuracy “, as well as the two audits already carried out in the department by ProV & V and SLI.
The letter also lists a database called “Results Tally and Reporting” as not being located on the server, however, the published image does not list this database. Without further context, Macias was unable to comment on the claim.
The letter asks county officials with knowledge of the relevant information to come to the Capitol on May 18 at 1 p.m.