Maricopa County rejects allegations of deleting election databases as controversial audit is on pause

2.1 million ballots and equipment had to be cleared out of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Downtown Phoenix on May 14.

The audit, which has captured the attention of the country, for better or for worse, is now on pause due to high school graduation ceremonies. Ballots and equipment are now being stored nearby at the Wesley Bolin Building.

The Arizona State Senate’s audit of November 2020’s election results in Maricopa County may be on hold for now, but the fight between the senate and the county might just be picking up.

The audit's Twitter account tweeted out an accusation recently, accusing officials with Maricopa County of spoliation of evidence by deleting a directory full of election databases from the 2020 election cycle. Audit liaison Ken Bennett addressed the claim on May 14.

"It may not be missing. Maybe it’s been deleted because it was duplicated somewhere else. So, it’s not a finding. There’s no finding that something was deleted or missing. It’s just a question," said Bennett.

"Most recently, my office has been accused of unlawfully deleting files. That is just not accurate," said Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican who won his election in November.

Richer has been inundated with accusations about a stolen election since taking office. The county maintains they’re complying with the Senate’s lawsuit for the audit, but the County will also look to more aggressively defend itself, starting next week.

"They did exactly what they promised not to do. They released allegations before the conclusion of their study. They did it from the anonymous Twitter account and said it was unlawful, which is sort of defamatory in nature," said Richer.

Board to respond to accusations

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will hold a meeting at 1 p.m. to respond to accusations from Arizona Senate President Karen Fann.

Following the meeting, county officials, including Richer and Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone, held a news conference to "address concerns with the audit."

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