Maricopa Board of Supervisors writes response to Attorney General Brnovich's interim election report

By Greg Hahne
Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, May 4, 2022 - 1:25pm
Updated: Friday, June 3, 2022 - 3:00pm

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Maricopa County Board of Supervisors
Maricopa County
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and County Recorder Stephen Richer (third from right) answer questions from the press on May 4, 2022.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to send a written response to Attorney General Mark Brnovich. The letter stems from Brnovich’s report in April on his investigation into alleged fraud in the 2020 presidential election. 

The 59-page letter written by the supervisors and County Recorder Stephen Richer addresses all allegations made in the report against the board. 

The Board says Brnovich’s report falsely suggests he uncovered systemic fraud.

Richer says it's one thing for other politicians to cast doubt on the election, but for Brnovich to do so is especially dangerous. 

“But where it’s different is when it’s coming from the chief law enforcement officer of the state of Arizona. Where it’s different is when you have an ethical responsibility as an attorney. Where it’s different is when you have the awesome power, the ultimate power of the state, which is to deprive people of liberty and ruin their reputation.” Richer said.

Board Chairman Bill Gates says the letter addresses allegations of fraud and accusations the recorder and elections department have been uncooperative. 

“We’ve continued to have lies, conspiracy theories thrown at us now for nearly two years. But we examine it, we deliberate, we get the facts and then we correct the record. And that’s exactly what we’re doing with this letter today.” Gates said. 

Supervisor Steve Gallardo expressed concerns Brnovich was using the report in order to further his campaign for U.S. Senate. 

Maricopa County, which includes more than 60% of Arizona's voters, has been at the center of the push by Trump and his supporters to advance the lie that the 2020 election was marred by fraud. A widely mocked review conducted on behalf of state Senate Republicans did not dispute now-President Joe Biden's victory in the county but claimed there were a variety of irregularities. The report tried to paint routine election practices as errors, irregularities or sinister efforts to deny Trump another term.

Brnovich's highly unusual “interim report” said some of the forms documenting the transportation of ballots were missing signatures or other information. He also claimed that election officials worked too quickly in verifying voter signatures on mail ballots and contended a drop in the number of ballots with rejected signatures between 2016 and 2018 and again in 2020 warrants scrutiny. And he claimed that county officials were slow in responding to his requests for information.

The county officials said in Wednesday's response that Brnovich's report disregarded obvious explanations and was written to make it appear the election results could be questioned. They said error rates on ballot transfer forms were tiny and no ballots were tampered with and that changes in the law, a larger staff and new technology account for the drop in rejected ballots.

The county officials also took issue with Brnovich's comments on former Trump adviser Steve Bannon's podcast in which he claimed that Maricopa County used artificial intelligence to verify signatures on mail ballots. The officials said every signature was verified by a human.

They suggested Brnovich's public comments about an ongoing criminal investigation may violate his ethical obligations as a prosecutor but stopped short of filing a complaint with the State Bar of Arizona.

Brnovich is courting Trump’s endorsement for his Senate run, which would give him a significant boost in a field with no clear Republican frontrunner to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly.

Shortly after his “interim report” failed to confirm Trump's claims of fraud, Trump indicated he would not back Brnovich's campaign.

Politics Elections