Withheld routers the latest of many roadblocks to Arizona Senate’s audit of 2020 election
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Officials in Maricopa County, Ariz., threw up another roadblock before the state Senate’s 2020 election audit this week, refusing to surrender a portion of subpoenaed materials due to the alleged security risks they pose.
That refusal came in the form of a letter on Monday from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office that cited “a significant security risk to law enforcement data utilized by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office as well as numerous federal agencies.”
In its subpoena, the Arizona State Senate had asked for, in part, “access or control of all routers, tabulators or combinations thereof, used in connection with the administration of the 2020 election, and the public IP of the router.”
The Monday letter from the MCAO said the county was refusing to hand over those routers or even digital copies of them, citing an alleged “security risk” associated with the hardware.
County spokesman Fields Moseley told Just the News on Thursday that “the routers the Senate subpoena commanded the County produce support [more than 50] departments, not just elections operations,” including “critical law enforcement data that, by law, cannot be disclosed, as well as Maricopa County residents’ protected health information and full social security numbers.”
“By providing the routers, or even virtual images of routers, sensitive data and the lives of law enforcement personnel could be endangered,” he added.
That explanation would appear to conflict with the February ruling of Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason in which the judge ordered Maricopa to comply with the state Senate’s subpoena. Addressing the county’s numerous objections to the subpoena, Thomason argued that Maricopa’s claims of confidentiality concerns do not preempt the requirements of the subpoena.
“The Senators had the power to issue the Subpoenas and have the statutory power to enforce those Subpoenas in the manner set forth in the statutes,” Thomason wrote. “The Subpoenas are, in essence, the equivalent of a Court order, requiring production of certain information. The County cannot avoid a subpoena based on statutes that require that the material being subpoenaed be kept confidential.”
Thomason’s ruling constituted “a minute entry that the subpoenas are legitimate and enforceable by the Senate,” Moseley said. “Maricopa County has worked hard to comply with the demands of the subpoena and tried to solve this security risk in a number of ways. We continue to study this issue.”
Ken Bennett, the former Arizona Secretary of State and the current liaison between the audit team and the state Senate, said the legislature is working to obtain the routers in spite of the county’s denial. “I don’t know why the routers in a tabulation and election center have anything to do with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office or numerous federal agencies,” Bennett told Just the News on Thursday.
Moseley said the county is “working with the IT professionals to better explain the function of these routers because a lot of people are asking.”
If the county prevails, that could mean that a significant portion of the election is itself effectively un-auditable, insofar as a fair chunk of the election data may be stored on hardware shielded by adjacent confidentiality claims.
The Arizona audit has been the most high-profile effort by Republicans yet to investigate the results of last year’s election to ensure that the official outcome of that race was properly certified, with the router controversy being just one of many roadblocks thrown up by the county in the last several months.
State Senate Republicans fought for several months to secure the audit, battling the issue out in Arizona court before getting the green light earlier this year.
A further legal challenge by state Democrats came to an end this week with an agreement between the Arizona Democratic Party, state Senate President Karen Fann, and several other parties, including Cyber Ninjas, the Florida-based security firm conducting the audit.
That agreement in part stipulated that Cyber Ninjas workers “will not compare signatures on early ballot envelopes with signatures from the voter registration file.” The agreement also demanded that auditors put in place numerous security measures to ensure the integrity of the archived voting materials.
State Senate President Karen Fann told Just the News that signature verification will be undertaken “if necessary” and that nothing in the agreement precludes auditors from matching the signatures.
Fann said signature matching will only occur when the signature itself is unclear “or any other instance where we would need additional verification.”
“Signatures are already captured on the ballot envelope images,” she said. “If for some reason we cannot clearly see the signature image, then we can match with the actual envelope.”
Cyber Ninjas’ role in the audit has been controversial, in no small part due to claims from critics that the company is being unduly secretive about its funding sources.
Controversy has also intensified lately around Maricopa County’s governance of the election. Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward on Wednesday posted a picture of what she claimed were “the servers for Maricopa Co elections” along with “external drives that were loaded w/ nightly early vote totals.” She said she was told that the drives were “taken to an offsite ‘undisclosed location’ nightly ‘for safety’ by an employee or a Dominion contractor working for [the county].”
Fields expressly denied that any Dominion workers were involved in taking the results offsite. He said the county created “two daily backups of the Election with daily tabulation data,” one of which was stored onsite and the other of which was stored at “a secure offsite location at a County facility” with “highly restricted access.”
“The backup is created in the event there is a disaster (e.g., fire, flood) at MCTEC and the onsite servers are rendered unusable,” he said.
Darrell Issa Just Made His First Official Move Against Big Tech For Interfering in The 2020 Election
Darrell Issa is on a mission.
He finally got the memo that Republican voters are pissed off about the 2020 election and the interference from Big Tech, and is actually taking steps right now, to hold them accountable.
He just made a bold move that put Big Tech on notice.
The Free Beacon reported that Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) asked Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal on Thursday to preserve all internal records related to the companies’ suppression of news coverage of Hunter Biden’s laptop in 2020, according to copies of the congressional preservation letters obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The congressman is asking Zuckerberg, Agrawal, Facebook communications director Andy Stone, and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to “Immediately initiate document preservation for all materials relating to questions, inquiry, conversation, strategy, and response to the media reporting of the Hunter Biden laptop and/or its contents that first appeared in the New York Post on October 14, 2020,” and to notify employees, consultants, and subcontractors who might have access to relevant materials.
Issa said his office is investigating efforts by social media outlets and Democratic operatives to stifle the New York Post bombshell story about Hunter Biden’s corrupt foreign business dealings, which was based on emails found on Hunter’s abandoned laptop.
“This is the scandal that Big Tech and the Democrat industrial complex wish would go away,” Issa told the Free Beacon. “They know what they did, and of course they think they’ve gotten away with it. That’s why it’s critical that we not squander the opportunity for accountability.”
Issa also sent preservation requests to top Biden 2020 campaign aides—including now-White House press secretary Jen Psaki and chief of staff Ron Klain—as well as a group of Biden-supporting former U.S. intelligence officials who claimed the laptop appeared to be part of a “Russian information operation.”
The preservation requests don’t have the legal power of a congressional subpoena, but companies could take a political risk if they refuse to comply—particularly if Republicans gain the House majority next year, giving them control of investigative committees and subpoena authority.
Although there was no evidence in 2020 that the Post’s reporting was inaccurate—and even Hunter Biden didn’t deny that the emails were real—Democrats decried the story as Russian “misinformation,” and Facebook and Twitter took unprecedented steps to prevent users from viewing or sharing it weeks before the election.
This looks to be step one of what Republicans have planned for Big Tech when they take over Congress.
But we can’t allow this to become a “Trey Gowdy” dog and pony show, all talk and no action… we must make sure that they actually hold Big Tech accountable and regulate them.
Texas County Elections Commissioner Resigns After 10,000 Uncounted Ballots Discovered
The elections commissioner in Harris County, Texas, has announced that she will be resigning following significant problems with last week’s primary, including the discovery of 10,000 uncounted ballots, a lack of poll workers, and issues with the voting machines. This was the first statewide election in Texas since the implementation of new, stricter voting laws.
At a meeting of county commissioners on Tuesday, Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria took responsibility for the disastrous election, and rightfully so. “Ultimately, the buck stops with me. I didn’t meet my own standards,” admitted Longoria.
She also announced that she will be resigning on July 1, which will allow time for a proper replacement to be appointed.
“I think this date ensures that there is a presiding officer during the May and June elections and allows the election commission the time they need to find a replacement,” said Longoria. “I remain committed to the office and its mission and hope to aid in defeating harmful rhetoric to ensure successful elections in the future.”
Longoria’s resignation comes after both Republican and Democratic parties called for her removal after the 2022 primary which took place on March 1.
During the primary election, there were staffing problems and equipment issues that backed up the voting process. Additionally, and most shockingly, 10,000 uncounted votes were discovered days after the election, with 6,000 Democratic votes and 4,000 Republican votes. Officials from both parties signed a document acknowledging this difference in votes, and insisted “further investigation [is] needed.” Longoria also faced criticism for a slow count which took 30 hours to complete.
Current state Rep. Harold Dutton Jr. shared his surprise that so many missing ballots went unnoticed.”It seems to me that somebody should’ve known that 10,000 ballots were missing,” said Dutton. “If 10,000 ballots were missing and nobody knew that, God help us.”
In addition to Longoria’s resignation, she is also being sued by the state GOP for an alleged breach of contract. The Harris County Republican Party is also suing the county for several alleged violations of the Texas election code.
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