Under questioning Thursday from US Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., as part of hearings about the Arizona Senate’s recent election audit, the vice chairman of Maricopa County‘s Board of Supervisors admitted that it withheld certain files from the probe of the 2020 presidential election.
In response to Biggs’s question as to whether the relevant files were “deleted,” Vice Chair Bill Gates said that the files were not deleted but rather “archived,” and claimed that the archived files were not given to auditors because they were not specifically asked for in the Senate’s subpoena.
“We responded to the subpoena,” said Gates, evincing a certain self-regard as he put his bureaucratic prowess on display.
Neither Gates nor Chairman Jack Sellers could confirm the county’s standard practices regarding the “purging” of election information in the aftermath of an election, but Sellers cited the need to “make room for additional data” for forthcoming elections on servers with “limited space.”
Also present was Ken Bennett, Arizona’s secretary of state from 2009-2015, who acted as special liaison between the independent auditors and the state Senate during the process.
Bennett confessed to finding “laughable” the county’s willingness to parse words in order to avoid compliance.
After video of the hearing went viral on Twitter, the Associated Press, as part of its “effort to address widely shared misinformation” sent a “fact-checker” to confirm the distinction between “delete” and “archive,” but failed to show that election data was not withheld.
On Sept. 24, the Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee released a 110-page forensic audit report (see the executive summary).
The long-awaited report concluded that “the election should not be certified, and the reported results are not reliable,” in part because the auditor, Cyber Ninjas, “discovered that Maricopa County had purged the election management system database, deleted election files, and corrupted ballot images.”