Maricopa County election officers say a bagful of shredded ballots that “cease the steal” activists declare to have present in a trash can on the elections division weren’t forged within the 2020 election.
Staci Burk, a Pinal County girl who filed a failed lawsuit difficult the final election outcomes final 12 months, alleges that she and others discovered a bag crammed with shredded ballots from the November election in a Dumpster outdoors a loading dock on the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Middle south of downtown Phoenix.
In a Fb publish on Saturday, Burk described it as “bodily proof collected.” A web site she linked to that touts quite a few conspiracy theories in regards to the election known as it “proof of shredding of ballots.”
However Megan Gilbertson, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Elections Division, mentioned the ballots weren’t forged within the 2020 basic election. State regulation requires counties to maintain all ballots for 24 months after an election is canvassed.
Gilbertson famous that the county sends out pattern ballots, that are printed on the identical paper because the ballots used within the election, and that such ballots are additionally obtainable on-line. And there are various voters who obtained ballots within the mail however didn’t return them, she mentioned.
“The poll proven within the image could possibly be any a kind of issues. What it’s not is an official voted poll from the November Common Election. The two.1 million voted ballots from the November Common Election are protected and accounted for in a vault, below 24/7 surveillance,” Gilbertson mentioned.
Sen. Kelly Townsend, a Mesa Republican, posted on Fb that Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer informed her that the elections division doesn’t shred ballots.
Burk additionally falsely claimed that photographs and movies she posted of the loading dock at MCTEC confirmed pallets of ballots from the 2020 election, Gilbertson mentioned. These pallets are literally containers of clean voter registration kinds.
Burk posted photographs of the shredded ballots on her Fb web page, together with photographs of a yellow bag within the trash bin at MCTEC, which an unnamed man climbed into the Dumpster to retrieve. Different photographs present the person poring over lengthy strips of shredded poll in a kitchen.
Burk wrote on Fb that they went to a few different areas. She wouldn’t say what number of luggage of shredded ballots had been allegedly discovered, nor would she allow the Arizona Mirror to examine them.
The strips of poll look like from the 2020 basic election and included partial candidate names from the U.S. Senate, Maricopa County recorder, Arizona Supreme Court docket, eighth Congressional District, Company Fee and Legislative District 1 races. Some strips present full or partial bubbles crammed in. The allegations had been reported the right-wing web site Gateway Pundit.
Burk has not but filed a criticism concerning the ballots with any regulation enforcement businesses. She informed the Mirror that she’s exchanged emails with the Legal professional Common’s Workplace concerning shredded ballots, however hasn’t spoken with anybody on the workplace about it or filed any official criticism.
Senate President Karen Fann wrote on Twitter on Sunday that she’d contacted the Legal professional Common’s Workplace and requested for an investigation into the claims.
I’ve already contacted somebody on the AG’s workplace and requested for instant investigation I’ll comply with up tomorrow.
— Karen Fann (@FannKfann) March 7, 2021
That Burk and her fellow activists took the ballots from MCTEC, introduced it to a non-public residence and sorted via the shredded paper raises questions on contamination of proof, had been there to be an investigation. However Burk mentioned that she took video exhibiting that it got here from the county elections division and insisted that there have been no issues with the chain of custody.
Burk mentioned she went to MCTEC on each Friday and Saturday. After her go to to the constructing on Friday, which she mentioned was to ship a replica of her enchantment to the Supreme Court docket, she posted photographs on Fb, together with the remark, “Discover the dumpsters.” She mentioned she didn’t discover the ballots till Saturday, however posted about them on Fb the day earlier than, “As a result of that’s when somebody pointed it out and I noticed that was a very good level.”
The piles of shredded paper additionally embody inexperienced strips of paper that look like shredded items of the envelopes that voters use to mail their ballots. These envelopes are separated election officers earlier than the ballots they include are counted, and as soon as the election is over they’re each saved within the elections division’s vault, although on separate pallets.
Gilberston mentioned Burk and her compatriots weren’t solely Dumpster diving on county property, however that safety footage exhibits them trying to interrupt into the constructing utilizing a board they discovered within the trash bin. Gilbertson mentioned they tried to interrupt into the constructing on Saturday, the day they allegedly discovered the shredded ballots.
“Maricopa County plans to comply with up with regulation enforcement about these actions,” she mentioned.
Burk denied trying to interrupt into the constructing.
Burk’s allegations come because the state Senate prepares to audit 2.1 million ballots, tabulation machines and different gear and supplies from the 2020 basic election in Maricopa County. Regardless of issuing subpoenas for the supplies in December, the Senate has not chosen an auditor and hasn’t discovered a spot to retailer the ballots since a choose upheld its subpoenas in late February.