Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer on Monday said he had no choice but to get vocal about his opposition to the audit of the 2.1 million ballots cast in his county during the November presidential election.
Arizona's GOP-led state Senate used subpoenas to get the ballots, voting machines, and personal information on voters, and hired a Florida-based cybersecurity firm called the Cyber Ninjas to run the audit. There is no "legitimate reason that would have prompted this audit," Richer, a Republican, told ABC News Live's The Breakdown. "It's happening, not because the evidence merits it. All the tests came back clean. The parties themselves oversaw the hand count auditing of 47,000 plus votes."
Cyber Ninjas has no experience with elections, and its CEO tweeted in support of former President Donald Trump's false claim that he really won Arizona, not President Biden. Richer said it was "frustrating" that "some professional, legitimate companies did make bids to the Arizona Senate to do this work and we would have welcomed that." The audit will cost taxpayers millions, as Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said the chain of custody was broken with the voting machines, and since elections officials don't know what Cyber Ninjas may have done to the machines, they can't be used in future elections.
Richer told The Breakdown he planned on remaining silent during the audit, but when an anonymous Twitter account falsely accused Maricopa County of deleting voter files — a claim that Trump was quick to amplify — it "crossed the line. I wanted to stay out of this, but when the good workers of Maricopa County — who are my friends, my teammates, my staff — are accused of unlawfully destroying evidence under my watch, then I had to say something." Maricopa County, he added, is now determining whether it can pursue charges of defamation.