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Maricopa County says Brnovich’s claims about the 2020 election are ‘despicable’

On April 6, Brnovich had issued a report concerning documents he received from the Arizona State Senate about its forensic audit of the 2020 election.
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 2:42 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors issued a blistering response to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich regarding his letter about the 2020 interim election report. The Board of Supervisors along with the County Recorder signed off on a letter responding to the Attorney General’s office saying that Brnovich’s report “omitted pertinent information, misrepresented facts, and cited distorted data to sow doubt in county election processes, equipment, and staff.”

“The Attorney General’s April 6 ‘interim report’ (as if that’s a normal prosecutorial thing) and his subsequent remarks on Steve Bannon’s program are remarkable departures for the man who eight days after the election said on Fox News that the election obviously wasn’t stolen, the man who chose not to file a lawsuit in the aftermath of the election, and the man who said the issue with Sharpies was ‘overblown,’” said County Recorder Stephen Richer. “If he wants to play politics and lie about the 2020 election, fine, he’ll join a long list of other candidates who lie in public and then in private mock the stolen election theory. But he shouldn’t do this with the powers of the state, especially the prosecutorial power. That’s wrong on so many levels” continued Richer.

The county’s response also explains that in February 2021, officials invited Brnovich to attend and watch audits conducted by Pro V&V and SLI Compliance to ensure election integrity. Both companies are accredited by the Election Assistance Commission as Voting System Laboratories. But the county says Brnovich declined to attend. Audits from both companies found that the county’s tabulation equipment was using certified software, had no malware installed, was not connected to the internet, and had not been hacked thus debunking often popular claims used by conspiracy theorists online. County officials also found the claims by Brnovich to be inconsistent with his previous statement made on Nov. 11, 2020, where he said, “What really happened [is that] people split their ticket. That’s the reality. Just because that happened doesn’t mean it’s fraud.”

The Interim Report

Brnovich issued his interim election report on April 6 concerning documents his office received from the Arizona State Senate surrounding their forensic audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County. Brnovich cited concerns about vulnerabilities in the state’s election systems and early ballot handling and verification. Maricopa County officials criticized the report, saying Brnovich failed to include any new evidence affecting the 2020 election results. County officials also claimed that Brnovich’s report never stated the election was stolen or that there were any unlawful acts by election workers.

Omissions

The county’s letter breaks down several components, addressing several grievances from Brnovich’s interim report. In terms of omissions, the county states that Brnovich’s office has looked at at least 30 issues since his office’s analysis of the Cyber Ninja’s claims.

Board members say Brnovich’s interim report is missing several key details including:

  • County Recorder Richer’s meeting with investigators from the Attorney General’s office to discuss inaccurate allegations of deleted election files on Sept. 29, 2021
  • Internet connectivity
  • Special Master’s report

Ballot Collection

Early voting ballot transportation statements are documents used to record the transport of sealed boxes of ballots from early voting centers or drop boxes to the Election Department for tabulation. County officials say there are there approximately 1,900 statements. The Election Procedures Manual requires that voted ballots be retrieved and placed in a secure ballot container by two people. The county provides a retrieval form, which includes dates and times of the departure from the early voting center or dropbox location and the time of return to the Election Department.

County officials said Brnovich incorrectly suggests that because data was missing from some of the forms, anywhere between 100,00 to 200,000 votes may be subject to question. Officials point out that a review of the statements showed less than a 1% error rate. The error rate is regarding the completion of the form, not the integrity of the ballots, which are in sealed envelopes within sealed boxes that the transporters were prohibited from opening. The county claims Brnovich’s agents spent less than one hour reviewing the statements at the Election Department and never asked questions about the forms.

The Recorder and Board of Supervisor’s response also include segments about signature verification, reduced number of missing and mismatched signatures, Brnovich’s interview with Steve Bannon on April 7, and the Auditor General’s Report on Mar. 30, 2022.

“I appreciate the Recorder’s leadership in sending a strong message to the Attorney General. The AG’s report was inaccurate and out of line, and it was important to me that we point out those falsehoods and share facts with voters,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, District 3. “As I’ve said before, the attempt to undermine democratic elections puts at risk everything else we take for granted in a free country, and I will not stand for it.”

Wednesday afternoon, Mark Brnovich responded to the board’s meeting in a recorded video posted to Twitter.

The Maricopa County Elections Department has a website that provides residents with election information. To learn more about the county’s election process, click here.