Maricopa County’s ballot tabulation system was never connected to the internet during the 2020 election and there were no routers to inspect, a team of experts assembled by the former member concluded. Republican Congressman John Shadegg as part of the so-called “audit” of the last presidential election. .
As part of the review, Senate Speaker Karen Fann ordered baseless allegations of fraud that former President Donald Trump and many of his supporters spread after his election defeat. She and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors agreed that Shadegg would serve as special counsel. master who would hire three computer experts to examine the county’s routers and determine if the ballot tabulation machines have ever been connected to the Internet. There was never any evidence that the machines were connected to the internet or otherwise hacked.
The county released the results of Shadegg’s investigation Wednesday, which found no evidence of internet connectivity by the county’s Ballot Tabulation Center. Fann asked Shadegg’s team to examine routers and Splunk logs, which are records of events and tasks that occur in a network. Shadegg’s report said there was, in fact, no router or splunk logs to look at.
Shadegg’s report says his team reviewed both the ballot tabulation equipment used in the 2020 election, which is currently in the possession of the Attorney General’s office as part of its investigation into the results of the Fann’s audit, and the equipment that was purchased to replace it.
These machines, according to the report, “were not, are not now, and never are wired or wirelessly connected to routers, computers, or electronic equipment outside of BTC.”
Additionally, the report states that Shadegg found no evidence that Ballot Tabulation Center data was deleted, purged, overwritten, or destroyed, and that there was no evidence that anyone attempted to interfere with the ” verification”.
Experts selected by the Senate produced a list of questions for the Shadegg team to respond regarding the county’s electoral network. The report says whoever wrote these questions appears to have acted under the false impression that there is a single “voting network” in the county. There are actually two networks, according to the report – the Ballot Tabulation Center and the Office of Enterprise Technology.
The OET, Shadegg wrote, provides infrastructure for all county departments, including the clerk’s office and the election department. It stores and maintains voter registration records, but is not involved in the ballot tabulation process and is not tied to BTC in any way. It is connected to the Internet, but only relays voter registration data. County routers that connect to the OET were not connected to the Ballot Tabulation Center, the report said.
The county harshly criticized the “audit,” which supervisors and the registrar’s office believed was inspired by false allegations unsupported by any evidence, and conducted by an unqualified team with a bias toward conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. In a press release Wednesday, Chairman of the Board of Oversight Bill Gates said the report confirms what the county’s election team has long been saying – that the 2020 election is secure. .
“In short, the unanimous findings of this panel should be a final issue at the heart of the so-called ‘audit’ of the Senate,” said Gates, a Republican. “Whenever impartial, independent and competent persons have examined the county’s election practices, they have found no reason to doubt the integrity of those practices.”
Fann, R-Prescott, said Wednesday evening that she had not yet seen the report and would not comment until she had read it.
Shadegg’s report directly contradicts conclusions of Fann’s “audit” team, who claimed to have found evidence that several ballot tabulation machines were connected to the Internet. The county said those claims were false and noted that the machines were isolated, meaning they couldn’t make external connections.
CyFIR, the company that conducted this part of the “audit”, also made two misleading claims regarding Internet-connected equipment. He correctly stated that two particular pieces of equipment had been connected to the Internet, but hid the fact that they were web servers that were supposed to be connected and were not part of the county’s election management system.
The findings of the “audit” were widely debunked and discredited. Doug Logan, former CEO of now-disbanded Cyber Ninjas, who led the election review team, has consistently refused to answer questions about its purported findings.
Routers used by the Elections Department were at the heart of a protracted feud between Fann and the county.
Last year, Fann issued subpoenas for a trove of county election-related data and equipment, most of which were turned over by supervisors after losing a legal challenge in court. But supervisors refused to provide the routers, which are used by all county departments, not just the recorder’s office. Supervisors said handing over the routers would largely disable county government operations and give the “audit” team access to sensitive and confidential information.
Some Republican lawmakers and other GOP figures who were followers of the bogus voter fraud allegations surrounding the 2020 election have focused on routers as a potential source of the fraud they believe cost Trump the election. Trump himself declaimed on routers during a speech in Phoenix in July.
Accordingly, Fann and the supervisors reached an agreement for Shadegg to serve as a special master. He was allowed to hire a team of experts who would examine routers at county facilities.
The attorney general’s office is currently investigating the other claims made by Fann’s “audit” team.
Trump lost Arizona to President Joe Biden by 10,457 votes in 2020, falling short of 45,109 votes in Maricopa County. He was the first Republican presidential candidate to lose Arizona since Bill Clinton won the state in 1996, and only the second since 1948.