Arizona GOP election official calls for an end to audit: 'Stop giving space for lies'

·3 min read

Maricopa County, Ariz., Recorder Stephen Richer appeared Monday on Erin Burnett OutFront, where the Republican official spoke about the election audit currently taking place in his jurisdiction, despite two bipartisan audits already finding no issues. Earlier in the day, the Republican-led county board of supervisors denounced the audit as a grift.

“They’re only doing two elections on a ballot that had over 60 elections, and how they chose those, I don’t know,” Richer said. “But if they wanted to choose the closest race that was on every single ballot in Maricopa county, they, ironically, should have started with mine, in which a Republican unseated a Democrat incumbent.”

Richer said misinformation about the audit is the reason the board of supervisors decided to officially denounce it. Much of that misinformation feeding into conspiracies comes from the official Twitter account for the audit, which recently tweeted that the county “deleted a directory full of election databases from the 2020 election cycle days before the election equipment was delivered to the audit.” Richer says that’s simply not true.

“Just stop indulging this. Stop giving space for lies. We found out about this latest accusation through the Arizona Senate’s audit’s Twitter account, which is anonymously run, just accusing me and my staff of unlawfully deleting evidence. That’s not appropriate,” Richer said, later adding, “That's why we did this. Because it was just exhausting to have to respond to every unfounded allegation and insinuation while we’re supposed to be doing the normal work of the county. I have no idea how long this will go on for. It will probably — possibly into 2022.”

On Saturday, former President Donald Trump put out a statement echoing the tweet about deleted databases, forcing Richer to take to Twitter to set the record straight.

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And Richer spoke about first learning of Trump’s statement.

“I was just exasperated,” Richer said, adding that he found out about Trump’s statement from a supporter who wanted to know why he was deleting files. Richer went on, “I was just sitting there looking at our voter registration database, and I have the elections database as well on my computer. Just, what can we do here? I mean, this is tantamount to saying that the pencil sitting on my desk in front of me doesn’t exist.”

Erin Burnett OutFront airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on CNN.

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