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.
Maricopa County election officials ignored questions Friday about an 11-page report by an election integrity group that say they discovered 20,500 ballots were received by the Maricopa County Recorder’s office — and subsequently counted — after the legal deadline of 7 p.m. on Election Day, November 3, 2020. Only 934 of those ballots, the groups says, were rejected for lateness. Joe Biden was certified the winner of Arizona by 10,457 votes.
The Arizona Sun Times asked the recorder’s office several questions regarding the ballots, including why they had difficulty producing the ballot receipts for months; why the late ballots were tabulated; whether there were really only 934 ballots rejected for being late; and why there were no records indicating whether ballots received the day after the election were transferred to the Maricopa County Treasurer.
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican who has been very public with his opinion that there was no voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, has formed a PAC to support Republican candidates who also believe there was no voter fraud. Called Pro-Democracy Republicans of Arizona, the only interview he appears to have given about it is to the far left Arizona Mirror.
The Arizona Sun Times asked him why he was so opposed to investigating the 2020 election for voter fraud, and he responded, “I was consistently opposed to conspiracy theorist partisans with no election experience doing a review.” He referred The Times to a letter he wrote in August.
In response to the report released last week about the Maricopa County ballot audit, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s Election Integrity Unit sent a letter to Maricopa County instructing the recorder and supervisors to preserve all records related to the 2020 election in preparation for litigation. He also sent a letter to the Arizona Senate requesting more information related to the audit.
“The Arizona Senate’s report that was released on Friday raises some serious questions regarding the 2020 election,” Brnovich said in a statement about the letters. “Arizonans can be assured our office will conduct a thorough review of the information we receive.”