Last week, Fann sent a letter to Sellers questioning records documenting the custody chain of the ballot papers and accusing district officials of deleting data. The county sent on Monday a 12 page answer vehemently denying wrongdoing, explaining its processes and accusing cyber ninjas of incompetence.
“They can’t find the files because they don’t know what they’re doing,” Sellers said during a public meeting to refute Fann’s claims. “We would not be asked to conduct this on-the-job training if qualified auditors had been hired to do the job.”
Fann did not comment immediately. She defended the exam to allay the concerns of many Trump supporters who fear the elections were not conducted fairly.
Fann’s allegations struck a nerve with the district officials, who were increasingly angry about the exam. On Monday they pleaded with elected officials who have doubts not to keep their criticism to themselves.
“Elected Republicans, I believe, are afraid of the next election, and neither can they,” said Bill Gates, vice chairman of the board. “You have to stand for what is right. Why else did you even apply for an office?”
He later complained about the silence of business leaders and asked them to “contact the elected officials to whom they are donating money”.
“This creates a black eye for Arizona and I would think these business leaders want this to stop,” said Gates.
They also highlighted the backlash they experienced while speaking, including death threats and protests at their home.
The audit, which is heavily promoted in the right-wing media, has become a special event among some of Trump’s most loyal fans. They believe it will uncover evidence of the former president’s claim that he is the rightful election winner.
Trump sent a statement in part saying that “the entire Maricopa County database in Arizona has been DELETED! This is illegal and the Arizona State Senate, which leads the forensic audit, is in the arms. “
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, one of the county’s top electoral officials, called the statement “awkward” on Saturday and urged other Republicans to stop the baseless allegations.
Richer was elected in the same election that many in his party are now questioning, defeating an incumbent Democrat. As a recorder, it oversees the voter registration database and postal voting process, including signature verification, while the county board oversees the team in charge of election day operations and ballot counting.
On Monday he said he hoped he and other district officials would make it easier for others to speak out against the tale of electoral fraud.
“We’re out here now. We’ve moved,” said Richer. “I think you’ll see others join in.” The water is warm. Come in.”