Although Arizona’s primary election was Tuesday, not all of the ballots have been counted yet, leaving the Arizona gubernatorial primary race for Republicans uncalled until Thursday evening. The Associated Press finally declared Trump-endorsed Kari Lake the winner, after Lake’s victory increased to 20,000, 46.78 percent to Karrin Taylor Robson’s 44.03 percent. By 1 p.m. on Thursday, there were still at least 242,414 outstanding ballots statewide.
Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward appeared on Steve Bannon’s War Room: Pandemic Wednesday evening to discuss the slow results. At that time, only 82 percent of the ballots had been counted. Ward blamed incompetence by Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer. “France can count millions of ballots within hours of their election,” she pointed out, calling him a “disgrace.” (She retweeted the information about France) Ward said his office announced they would have more results to announce at 7 p.m. from the 125,000 outstanding ballots left from people who had dropped their ballots off at polling locations, but never did.
The Arizona Senate-ordered independent Maricopa County ballot audit of the 2020 presidential election revealed questionable findings, including a Maricopa County Elections Department (MCED) employee captured on video deleting, or what officials stated later was merely archiving, hundreds of thousands of files from an election server the day before the server was to be turned over to the audit. Last weekend, investigative journalist Lara Logan and cyber expert Matt Van Bibber stated at an election security forum hosted by We the People AZ Alliance that the employee has been identified, along with a couple of his co-workers who allowed him access into the election server room.
Van Bibber, who discovered the information through viewing videos and matching what he saw against server room logs, said the employee was Brian Ramirez, a database administrator at MCED. Van Bibber said Ramirez did not have the required credentials to enter the server room where the computer was, so two other employees gave him access with their card keys. One was Kristi Passarelli, assistant elections director, and the other was an employee named Charles Cooley, who appears to be an Administrative/Operations Specialist.
In an email exchange with The Arizona Sun Times this week, a Maricopa County Recorder’s office spokesperson may have unwittingly admitted that the county mishandled thousands of ballots from the 2020 general election that one watchdog groups says were accepted after the legal deadline.
Megan Gilbertson, the communications director for the Maricopa County Elections Department (MCED) – a department of the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office – said that the department processed ballots by scanning them into the tabulating machines at MCED before transferring their custody the next day to Runbeck Election Services, which verifies their legitimacy with signature verification.