Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward Threatens Arrests In Arizona Election Audit

Written by Carmine Sabia

OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion




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The Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward has had it with what she sees as the obstruction in the Maricopa County, Arizona election audit and now she is threatening action.

“There have to be consequences,” she said during an appearance on One America News, The Daily Mail reported. “There could be arrests of people who are refusing to comply.”

It’s the latest drama to encompass the audit of the 2.1 million ballots in the state’s largest county, which has featured false allegations votes were destroyed and  conspiracy theories alleging the ballots were shredded and eaten by chickens, who were then killed to cover up the evidence.

Ward’s comments came after the Republican-controlled Board of Supervisors for Maricopa County refused to attend a meeting Tuesday with GOP senators who had demanded the audit. The board called the audit was a ‘sham’ run by ‘grifters’ that cast doubts upon the democratic process. 

And it wasn’t the first time an arrest has been suggested.

In February, when the county was arguing against the audit in court, most Arizona Republican senators supported a resolution to hold the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in contempt and arrest supervisors for failing to turn over access to voting records. The resolution failed to pass but showed the mindset of those elected officials who demanded the audit.

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Her interview came on the same day that it was discovered that election data that was rumored to have been deleted was found.

The information that was alleged to have been deleted has been recovered, an auditor said on Tuesday, The Arizona Mirror reported.

At a hearing on Tuesday afternoon in the Senate, CyFIr founder Ben Cotton, a subcontractor on Senate President Karen Fann’s audit team, said that his team was able to recover data that the Senate’s election team had accused Maricopa County of deleting.

“I’ve been able to recover all of those deleted files, and I have access to that data,” he said at the hearing. “I have the information I need from the recovery efforts of the data.”

Maricopa County officials responded in a tweet after the hearing.

“Just want to underscore that AZ Senate’s @ArizonaAudit account accused Maricopa County of deleting files- which would be a crime- then a day after our technical letter explained they were just looking in the wrong place- all of a sudden ‘auditors’ have recovered the files,” it said.

Cotton’s explanation indicates that county officials were correct when they said no files had been deleted. 

The audit’s official Twitter account explicitly claimed the county “deleted a directory full of election databases from the 2020 election cycle” shortly before turning over its ballot tabulation machines to the audit. To back up its claim, it posted a screenshot purporting to show a list of deleted files, all of which were shown as being modified on April 12, about a week and a half before the county delivered the machines to Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where the audit is being conducted.

Last week State Senate President Karen Fann asked for county officials to come and meet with her to “constructively resolve” issues with the audit, including the reported claim that a “main database” in the Election Management System was deleted, The Arizona Independent Journal reported.

“We have recently discovered that the entire ‘Database’ directory from the D drive of the machine ‘EMSPrimary’ has been deleted,” she said in a letter on Wednesday to Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chair Jack Sellers. “This removes election-related details that appear to have been covered by the subpoena.”

“This suggests that the main database for all election-related data for the November 2020 General Election has been removed,” she said. “Can you please advise as to why these folders were deleted, and whether there are any backups that may contain the deleted folders?”