'a grift disguised as an audit'
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has had enough of the Arizona state Senate's audit of the November presidential election, and all of the baseless conspiracy theories that go along with it.
The Republican-led state Senate hired a firm called Cyber Ninjas to carry out an audit of the 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County in November. Using subpoenas, the state Senate was able to get the ballots, voting machines, and private and public voter information. Former President Donald Trump has been following along from Florida, and on Saturday, released a statement falsely claiming that the "entire database for Maricopa County in Arizona has been DELETED!"
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican, tweeted that Trump's comment was "unhinged," and he was "literally looking at our voter registration database on my other screen. Right now. We can't indulge these insane lies any longer." On Monday, Richer told CNN's Erin Burnett that Trump's statement left him "exasperated," and was "tantamount to saying the pencil sitting on my desk in front of me doesn't exist."
He's not the only GOP official in Arizona at the breaking point. Four of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisor's five members are Republicans, including its chairman, Jack Sellers, who on Monday accused the state Senate of running a "grift disguised as an audit. This board is done explaining anything to these people who are playing investigator with our constituents' ballots and equipment, paid for with real people's tax dollars. People's ballots and money are not make believe. It's time to be done with this craziness."
Richer wrote a letter rejecting claims that files were deleted, and Sellers said he will "not be responding to any more requests from this sham process. Finish what you call an audit and be ready to defend your report in a court of law. We all look forward to it."
The audit was being conducted at Phoenix's Veteran's Memorial Coliseum, but is now on pause because the venue is being used for high school graduations. Election technology expert Ryan Macias told CNN he's "never seen anything like it," adding that Cyber Ninjas has no "auditing experience" or "election technology experience." By moving the ballots in and out of the Veteran's Memorial Coliseum, "the more likely the chain of custody will be broken and the less likely that the data is reliable," Macias said.