May 17, 2021
Maricopa County, AZ Officials Election Recount Press Conference Transcript May 17
Republican officials in Maricopa County, Arizona held a press conference on May 17, 2021 to speak out against the attempted election recount and the “big lie.” Read the transcript of the briefing here.
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Fields Moseley: (00:29)
And here we go on the webinar. Yes, so we just started the webinar. So good afternoon. My name is Fields Moseley. If I haven’t met you yet, I’m the Communications Director for Maricopa County and I work with the Board of Supervisors every single day.
Fields Moseley: (00:40)
We just completed a public meeting, as many people know, but just to let the people know on YouTube and the webinar, we completed this public meeting to discuss and then sign a response to the May 12 letter from the Senate President, President Fann. This is an opportunity for news reporters to ask some questions, seek clarification from two of our board members, Chairman Jack Sellers, and Vice Chairman Bill Gates. Our other three board members are not here in the room because this is not a public meeting. We are holding a press conference, and in accordance with the law for public meetings.
Fields Moseley: (01:09)
Our other three board members are upstairs or have left for other appointments. So in addition though, joining us today, we have our other elected officials here and you’re going to hear from Recorder Richer, and he also spoke during the public meeting, also Sheriff Paul Penzone, who has a stake in what’s going on here today and what’s been going on the last four or five months. So we’re going to hear from them as well.
Fields Moseley: (01:32)
Also with us, we have Assessor Eddie Cook. We also have the Treasurer, John Allen, and we also have our Superintendent of Public Education, Steven …
Steven Watson: (01:46)
Fields Moseley: (01:47)
Steve Watson. Sorry. I’m blanking on names today. Should have written them all down. We also have number reporters joining us via go-to webinar, so we’ll get to them a little bit later on in this. If you are on the webinar and you want to ask questions, when I call your name or we ask if you have a question, you’re going to have to raise your hand virtually in that webinar. We have people behind the scenes. They’ll let me know that there’s somebody waiting and then you’ll have to unmute yourself to ask that question.
Fields Moseley: (02:14)
Here in the room, we’ve asked reporters kind of spread out a little bit. We’re going to pass those microphones around. I already mentioned that to many of you. And Darren Moffitt has one of them, Erica Flores, also here in the crowd, she has another microphone. So when you raise your hand, you’ll be recognized and we’ll … Dennis has already waiting. Yes.
Fields Moseley: (02:32)
So we have a lot of people, obviously. We ask that you ask one question and we’ll go on and I’m sure all your questions will be asked before it’s all over by yourself or by another reporter in the group. So if you have very detailed questions about IT and elections expertise and very deep in the weeds, we’ll do our best to answer your questions from here. But obviously the gentlemen that are behind me, they get a lot of there information to make difficult decisions from experts. And we can help you offline with those answers.
Fields Moseley: (03:06)
Finally, no secret, this issue has been volatile. Emotions have been running high for a long time now. In this space, I ask that you respect your colleagues. You respect the people who have been willing to come up here and take your questions today. And let’s be civil about this today. So after a few brief statements starting with Chairman Sellers, we’ll go ahead and start taking your questions.
Chairman Jack Sellers: (03:31)
Well, I thank you all for being here today. This is an important day for me. As chairman, one of my primary objectives has been to speak as one Maricopa County. And I think you can see that that’s what we did today. What the letter, the response we sent back to Senator Fann, a lot of the electeds that are here with us today don’t play any role, particularly, in Maricopa County election processes. But they are supportive because they know the people that are the professionals here at Maricopa County, the important work that they do, and what an outstanding … I mean, and I think most of you know that all the election experts across the country have talked about Maricopa County being the model for how you react to a pandemic and still run an efficient, honest election, that was geared towards protecting all the voters and allowing everyone to vote safely and securely. So thank you again for being here today.
Bill Gates: (04:46)
Hi, good afternoon, everyone. I’m Bill Gates. I’m the vice chair of the Board of Supervisors. Obviously like to echo everything that Chairman Sellers just said. And I want to touch on something that I said from up on the dais, and that is the fact that at Maricopa County, we don’t do what’s easy. We do what’s right. We’ve done that for the last six months.
Bill Gates: (05:07)
Four out of the five members of the Board of Supervisors are Republicans. We recognize, and I anticipate you’re going to ask questions about this, that a large percentage of Republicans believe that the election was stolen in 2020 and that Donald Trump actually won. I want to be clear that I believe that Joe Biden won the election. All right? And the reason that I feel confident in saying that, particularly in Maricopa County, is that we overturned every stone.
Bill Gates: (05:38)
And we have professionals both with the early voting and the election-day voting. They did everything right. We asked the difficult questions, all right? And we certified the election back in November. But now it’s time to say enough is enough. It is time to push back on the big lie. We must do this. We must do this as a member of the Republican party, we must do this as a member of the Board of Supervisors. We need to do this as a country. Otherwise, we are not going to be able to move forward and have an election in 2022 that we can all believe the results, whatever they may be.
Bill Gates: (06:19)
Again, this wasn’t a fight that I chose or any of the people up here. And by the way, I thank and respect every single one of them for being up here, because they don’t have to be here. But they’re here because we work together. But again, we must say once and for all that it is time to move on. And again, like I said, didn’t choose this fight, but the fight was brought to us by the Arizona State Senate when they raised these questions about our good elections folks, literally alleging criminal actions. That’s when we all decided, as a team, that enough was enough. Thank you.
Sheriff Paul Penzone: (07:07)
Well, for those of you who know me, this is normally not a space where I would occupy. I try to keep politics out of our office. But as Mr. Gates stated, sometimes when you’re provoked, you have no choice but to speak out against it. And while I was listening to Mr. Richer speak, my other colleagues, I have a great appreciation for the fact that this is a group of bipartisan leaders who recognize that service and commitment is about serving everyone and always leading with honesty and integrity as your defining attribute.
Sheriff Paul Penzone: (07:41)
So uncommon to my practice, I actually wrote down some things I’d like to speak to you from this. First and foremost, I don’t like politics, I don’t like partisanship, and I absolutely despise political theater. I’m not here by my choosing to be involved, but due to the actions of others, which compelled me to speak out. The 2020 election has been reviewed, disputed, analyzed, and argued. And during that time, we in law enforcement provided resources for public safety, for personal security of my colleagues, for operational obligations due to protests. These are precious resources dedicated in response to vitriol because of political theater.
Sheriff Paul Penzone: (08:26)
Recently, I was advised a Senate subpoena required the obligation to turn over technology to the possession of and for the review by a private, uncertified hacking company, based on a hunch, without any factual basis, legitimate evidence or detailed justification. Divulging this information would compromise and threaten the very mission of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office and the men and women who work within it. As I stated, this request was irresponsible and unacceptable. If facts or evidence of a crime existed, it must by lawful obligation, be reported to a law enforcement agency. They would then have a constitutional authority and responsibility to investigate any elements of a crime local state or federal.
Sheriff Paul Penzone: (09:17)
We have real serious and pressing problems that affect our community. We have violent crime, drug addiction, property crimes, human trafficking, issues that are affecting our world and our children. Yet some elected officials chose to dedicate their time and the resources of others to unrelated issues, to participate and obligate us in this political theater.
Sheriff Paul Penzone: (09:46)
The time of abuse and irresponsible actions has come to an end. We in elected office all swore an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of the State of Arizona, without bias, partisanship, or subjectivity. Our oath does not state that we will swear to protect a person. The oath requires we swear to protect the principles authored in the constitution and the laws for the people who have empowered us. Yet now we waste time, resources, and energy on political theater, and those who wish to see our nation destroyed celebrate this division. Our true enemies of the state celebrate these events to our detriment and their benefit.
Sheriff Paul Penzone: (10:26)
My office and those who swore to protect the community are burdened with issues of violent crimes as I stated, and other issues. And now, because of political divide, we’re dealing with unprecedented unrest. Words matter. Words stated by elected officials, political leaders, and by me as I stand here in front of you. Our words either inspire or incite. We must be thoughtful we choose our words and we must consider the impact. If we truly believe in the Constitution then we must do better. We must act with respect for others. We must put people over politics. We must embrace the words we swore to in our oath of office and commit to these principles.
Sheriff Paul Penzone: (11:04)
Never once do they say party over people, never once do they say protect a person at the expense of honesty, integrity, and obligation. First and foremost, I’m a man of faith and family. That’s where my priorities lie. I’m committed to be a constitutional sheriff with the unwavering belief in the rule of law. I have a job to do. My job is public safety and it’s not political theater. Our community deserves better than this. Our nation is titled the United States. We must act thoughtfully and with strength and humility. And as you’ve seen, led by the elected officials of Maricopa County, we act united. Thank you for your time.
Recorder Richer: (11:56)
Well, I gave my professional remarks earlier during the formal meeting. But I’ll just echo some of the things that have been said. I’m so grateful that Steve Watson, that John Allen, that Eddie cook, the Allister Adel, despite not having any dog in this fight, have stepped up and have been part of the County, been part of team County, who has said, “This is enough. This is enough.”
Recorder Richer: (12:19)
Like Paul, I didn’t want to get involved in this. I ran to make the Recorder’s Office boring again. As Jen from the Arizona Republic can tell you, I have done my best to hide from her. As Dylan from the Capitol Times can tell you, I much prefer sending memes to actually sending quotes or opinions to him. I’ve tried to stay out of it. But as I told Matt this weekend, I said, “This isn’t a game. These are real humans. These are people who work in the County day in, day out. They work hard. They’re good people. They’re normal people who go home and they root for the Suns, or they watch Netflix. They’re not monsters and stop treating them as such.” The defamatory lies need to stop. It needs-
Recorder Richer: (13:03)
Such. The defamatory lies need to stop. It needs to stop. We will do everything we can to comply with the law, but the defamatory lies that have been leaked out irresponsibly by an anonymous Twitter account without being controlled by the Senate needs to stop. These are my people. I will defend them and I’m sorry, it’s come to this.
Fields Moseley: (13:27)
Thank you so much to all our officials here today and standing united. We’ll take some questions. Now, we’re going to start with Dennis Wild since he was the aggressive kid at the back of the classroom raising his hand. So thank you, Dennis. And if you want to ask a question to somebody specifically out of our four folks up here today, please make that known when you ask your question. Thank you.
Dennis Wild: (13:53)
Yeah, I guess this question would be for Chairman Sellers. You’d indicated that you were willing to take the auditors or whatnot to court. Are you preparing to take them to court and sue them? And what are you preparing to take them to court for?
Chairman Jack Sellers: (14:07)
All we want is to get back to business here at the county and do the jobs that we were elected to do. We’re tired of answering the same questions over and over again. And we’re the fastest growing county in the United States. We have a lot of work to do. We need to make a plan for our future if we’re going to be a sustainable community. And so I’m just anxious for us to get back to work. So if it continues, if the attacks on our people continue, then we will do what we have to do legally to stop it. But right now we just want it to be over.
Fields Moseley: (14:48)
All right. Next question. Jeremy.
Sorry. I think some of you had made some references to wanting to see other elected officials, other elected Republicans stand up to the big lie as some of you have called it and a lot of other folks called it. Why do you think we’re not seeing more of that? Why do you think so few elected officials, elected Republicans really outside of this room in this state are actually willing to do that?
Chairman Jack Sellers: (15:21)
I guess I don’t really know the answer to that. I don’t understand it. If we, as Republicans are going to be successful going into the future elections, we need to be increasing the size of our tent rather than selecting just a few people that agree or that we disagree with. So the division I’m seeing right now is frustrating. I think the only thing that is encouraging at all but also discouraging is that the division isn’t just in the Republican party, it seems to be across both major parties, but I think my primary goal would be to try to get the Republican party back to why I became a Republican.
Recorder Richer: (16:18)
I’m duty bound to answer this question because I went to University of Chicago twice, so I have to throw in a law and economics principle, but this is a classic first mover problem. Any Republican who has stuck his head out, it’s just been whacked off because they’ve gone out on their own, I promise you that there are Republicans in the state senate, Republicans throughout the state who do not believe a word of this. Well, we’re out here now. We’ve moved and I think you’re going to see others joining in the waters war coming in.
Bill Gates: (16:52)
And as someone who’s done a couple of pieces on this issue, this is near and dear to my heart. I don’t know. You’d have to ask all of them, but for me, I don’t define myself by being a member of the Maricopa County board of supervisors. I am privileged to serve in this role, but we all know that we are here for a short period of time. And I believe that this is a point of inflection for us as a county and as a nation. And so some people do need to step out and I consider myself so fortunate and privileged to be serving with all these people, all these Republicans who are willing to step out and say that this must stop and now, if we want to win an election in 2022, we need to talk about the future that the Republican party sees and create a true distinction with where the Democrats are going. And I think there’s a very strong case to be made, but no one is doing that because we’re relitigating the selection.
Bill Gates: (17:54)
And when people do raise their voice to say, “I don’t want to talk about this audit. I don’t want to cheer on the audit. I want to talk about something else,” then they get attacked as Mr. Richer put it by an anonymous Twitter account. This is bizarre. It is truly bizarre. And it is sad because there was a legal question asked earlier, and I am a lawyer and it is sad to see the representations that the Arizona senate made to Judge Thomas. They said they wanted these ballots and this election equipment to determine if changes should be made in Arizona law relating to elections. And we recognize the authority of the legislature to do that. I have seen no indication from what’s going on over there that they are focused on that, instead they are focused on doing a recount first of all, which is only allowed in specific instances under Arizona law and then to start the dominoes falling that we’ve seen. Talk about a meme. I’ve seen the meme on that. So again, people are afraid, elected Republicans I think are afraid of the next election and they can’t be. They’ve got to stand for what is right now, otherwise, why did they run for office in the first place?
Fields Moseley: (19:16)
So Garrett Archer had the next question. Garrett.
Garrett Archer: (19:20)
Yeah. So you are being pretty much accused in real time by the chairman of the Republican party of not giving any evidence during the meeting you just had. So just want to talk about evidence here. So the two largest things that they pretty much accused you of is the deleted databases, of course and then of course the ballots, the batches not matching the ballots. There are supposed to be 200 ballots for a batch and there’s less than that, so can you please articulate a little bit as to what went on with those two pieces of claims that Fann’s letter makes?
Chairman Jack Sellers: (19:59)
Well, and again, those questions have been asked and answered, but I will let the recorder elaborate on that because he is the person that has done the most work and most research on that.
Recorder Richer: (20:17)
Reluctantly again. So the ballot boxes, they don’t know how to read transmission slips. We’ve instructed them how to read transmission slips, but when those 200 ballots come through, sometimes they’re pulled out because they can’t be read through the tabulators and that creates a duplicate ballot that we then put in there, so that accounts for a lot of them. We spelled this out in the letter. Regarding the deleted databases, we walked that out in the letter as well, but it’s just fundamentally not true. All the databases are there. There has never been a deleted database. there have been transferred files that were not necessary to the audit. There have been transferred files that show the course of the file being duplicated over time, over time, but all the election files that contain any election results are all still intact and the cyber ninjas have every single one of them.
Speaker 3: (21:20)
We got it. This is for anybody who wants to jump in and say, and I had supervisor Gates in mind, but during the public meeting, I can’t remember who said it right now, but they said, “Whether they want to admit it or not, there are people in the legislature that would like to see us behind bars.” You have at least one person in the state legislature who openly said it last week, representative Hoffman said, “People get squishy or they don’t have a backbone to put the board of supervisors or call in law enforcement and get involved and jail the board of supervisors.” As a lifelong Republican, how does that make you feel?
Bill Gates: (22:03)
It is so difficult for me to wrap my brain around this. The Republican party that I’m a member of, that I’ve been a member of since I became a registered voter in the late 1980s has been about the rule of law. That’s what we have stood for. That has been fundamental to all of us, the Federalist society, everything. It’s been about the rule of law and somewhere we lost our way. And now the new phrase is the ends justify the means, not among all Republicans, but a particular group, a particular group that is pulling the strings at the Arizona Senate right now. We have comments from other ones saying they want to jail us so freaking bad. What happened? What happened? I don’t understand it. I do not believe that the board of supervisors has been disrespectful to the Arizona Senate.
Bill Gates: (23:03)
We have made arguments. We wanted to go to court to make sure we weren’t violating the law when we turned over the ballots. I had a meeting with Jack Sellers, with Paul Boyer and with Karen Fann on the day of the contempt vote. That was not a secret meeting. Someone suggesting I had a secret meeting with Paul Boyer, it didn’t happen. The four of us sat in a room and we articulated that and Paul Boyer understood it. Paul Boyer wanted this audit to take place. He wanted a court to decide, but he did not want people to be jailed, people to be detained. What has happened? What has happened that there’s this blood thirsty culture out there.
Bill Gates: (23:53)
I know Karen Fann. I feel like we are kindred spirits. We both served in local government. It’s not easy to be a conservative Republican in local government that Karen Fann and I were both… I have great respect for Karen. Karen knows water issues better than anyone in this state as an elected official and we worked together on water issues in New River and Desert Hills because we both represent that area. And then what happened? I don’t know, but it’s not too late. It’s not too late. We can step back. We can work together, but what I feel like is we have outside forces. We’ve got a lot of outside money. We know that. 150,000 isn’t enough to pay for everything that’s going on out there, so where’s that money coming from? We’re talking about transparency. Tell us where the money is coming from. But that’s my fear is that we have outside forces that are driving all of this and we’re being used as pawns. Why? Why here?
Bill Gates: (24:57)
We have a great tradition in this state, in this county and we have let others from the outside hijack us. I have many good friends who are Republicans in the state Senate and I’ve been trying to figure out how to rebuild the relationship with those people who voted to throw me in jail. They say it wasn’t, but that’s where it was headed. We all know that. I want to work with them again, but I don’t know how to start working together until we turn the heat down.
Speaker 4: (25:34)
The quiet kid that hides behind her notebook here, so bear with me. So you guys have said you don’t want to play games. You just said you want to work together. Cyber Ninja sent you guys a detailed list of questions to answer. Like before this audit started, you guys said, “No, we’re not doing that.” You guys got invited to a meeting tomorrow to answer their questions. You said, “No, we’re not doing that.” Where’s the cooperation? Why don’t you just put it to rest by answering them directly, all the questions they have and-
Speaker 4: (26:03)
Thus by answering them directly, all the questions they have and they need to know to do this audit correctly.
Chairman Jack Sellers: (26:08)
I think the main answer to that is because if they were professional certified auditors, they wouldn’t be asking those questions. When we were delivering the materials to the Coliseum, they were asking our elections director how to do things. And as I said in my earlier statement, if they had hired qualified auditors, we wouldn’t have to do on-the-job training and that’s not what we’re about. If we felt that they were a group of people who are truly trying to find honest answers, then we would help.
Recorder Richer: (26:54)
All right. The Tuesday invitation is so silly. I mean, there’s going to be three people there, all Republicans. It’s going to be a show trial. And this looms large in my brain because 2016, Helen Purcell had to go up in front of the Senate and all they did, they didn’t ask questions of her. They just reamed her out. And as supervisor Guyardo reminds us, there are no Democrats invited to this meeting. It’s just three people, hand-picked to stream us in front of OAN. That’s not operating in good faith. I’m not showing up to that.
Fields Moseley: (27:37)
Yeah, Bram has his hand up. We’re going to go to Dylan then to Bram and then back over here to Nicole. Dylan.
So what’s to stop this from happening in every future election, if results don’t go the way that the majority in the Senate likes?
Chairman Jack Sellers: (27:56)
I think that’s our biggest concern, and that’s part of the reason why we felt it was time to draw a line in the sand and say, this needs to stop.
Fields Moseley: (28:09)
Fields Moseley: (28:13)
Can we get a microphone over to Bram?
Thanks guys. Chairman Sellers, I’ll stay with you. You say you’ve drawn a line in the sand. This needs to stop. What is backing up that line in the sand? Is that ultimatum or do you just plan, as you said, at the meeting to see them in court when their audit is done?
Chairman Jack Sellers: (28:39)
The statements that we made earlier said, we are finished answering the same questions over and over again. Finish your audit and if the results question any of our activities, then we will answer them in court.
So this can go on for months?
Chairman Jack Sellers: (28:59)
It really is up to them at this point if they want to continue this.
I’m sorry. I just got to ask because I got to leave. We had two people, Recorder Richer, Steve Guyardo say what they’re doing, what the Senate is doing is illegal questioning the legality. Why can’t you challenge that?
Chairman Jack Sellers: (29:18)
One of our attorneys like to answer that?
Bill Gates: (29:21)
Yeah. I think it’s not that it’s illegal, but I will raise an interesting question, which is when did the Senate vote to conduct this audit? What date did that vote occur? I’m not sure there’s a majority of the members of the Arizona Senate that even want this audit to continue. But the thing that I will say from a legal perspective, and I understand, I’m not going to get into a legal discussion here, but I do understand that at some point, when a anonymous Twitter account continues to hurl insults at individuals, defamation may come into play. Again, I’m not threatening that. I’m just simply saying, at some point, we need to recognize that these comments that are being made and these loaded questions, and Jen, I would say in response to your question, those were not legitimate questions that came. That was a political document. We have responded to all of those now, but I do not think that those questions were presented to this board in good faith. Why didn’t they pick up the phone? Why didn’t they address those before those questions that they raised were tweeted out, again, from a Twitter account who we don’t know who runs it, we don’t know who pays for it.
Bill Gates: (30:50)
Oh, yeah. No, no, fair enough. Yeah. As far as that is concerned, again, we conducted two audits here at Maricopa County. By the way, at the strong suggestion of Karen Fan and others, at the strong suggestion of many people who did believe that there were improprieties in the election. We had two voting system laboratories conduct those audits and they came out with findings. It became clear when the Senate selected this team to run the audit that this was an audit that was going to be run by known partisans. That is the reality of what we’re facing here.
Bill Gates: (31:35)
And so we were cooperative to the extent. We took the ballots here. We took the machines. We didn’t fight them, but we are not participating in this audit. We’re not part of this audit. We did our too. We didn’t believe that there needed to be another one. That’s why we went to court and the court ruled that they were entitled to the ballots and the election machines, and that’s exactly what we did. We sent them where they wanted them, over at the Coliseum.
Chairman Jack Sellers: (32:07)
And I think I made that fairly clear to you in one of our first conversations that we would not be any part of this audit, that we turned over things were requested of us in a subpoena, but we are not participating in the audit in any way.
Fields Moseley: (32:30)
Can I have Nicole first, then we’ll come back to Jeremy?
Many of you have said several times in this meeting, in previous that you want this to end, that you want this discussion, this issue to move forward. My question to you all is how does that happen when there are so many of these accusations being made, you, gentlemen, and the County responds in different ways. People though still believe those accusations. You respond, you are still accused of lying. So how does this ever get resolved?
Chairman Jack Sellers: (33:00)
There’s no simple answer to that because it’s become clear that some of these people are only going to be happy when they get the answers they want, and they’re not going to get that from the experts. It’s truly a frustration.
Recorder Richer: (33:19)
I want a shot at this. So I suggested a solution to one representative who had posted that he gets thousands of complaints a day to his office that the election was stolen. So he then splattered my information on the internet. And we got like maybe 20, 20 emails that said, the election was stolen. But I said to him, what about this novel theory? You stop indulging these lies and you instead tell them they are unfounded, they are without substance, and that they are the product of people who are lying to you. And I’m sorry that they’re lying to you, but that is what’s happening here. That’s an opportunity. That’s a solution. If every single person in the state legislature said that, we’d be done pretty quickly.
Bill Gates: (34:10)
And also, I would say in response to that, again, these questions were sent to us by President Fan. Before we responded, two members of Congress from Arizona repeated those baseless allegations in a letter to the Department of Justice. That’s not helpful.
Chairman Jack Sellers: (34:31)
And I will just mention again, that even when we started thinking about a response to this letter, our first pass, we didn’t even realize how involved it would be with our Public Safety Department. And I was so happy when sheriff contacted us and said, I need to be part of this. Sheriff, would you like to say anything more?
Sheriff Paul Penzone: (35:05)
I wish I had something stellar to share right now, but I’m wondering what’s going to go longer, this news conference or the audit itself. You’re looking for answers that have already been verified and validated. It’s taking place in the courts, it’s taking place in the auditing system, and if there was true scrutiny, that’s where the focus should be. Were the previous audits done correctly? And if so, what were the results? Were the court findings appropriate? If so, what were the results? And if not, that’s why we have a judiciary.
Sheriff Paul Penzone: (35:34)
I’m thinking to myself, I talked about the waste of resources. I have a pretty big office with pretty big responsibilities that I want to stand here with my colleague and support them with the hopes that I can get back to work. As many of these men and women would like to do. So as a person who spends his life seeking truth and speaking truth and evaluating evidence and understanding the rule of law, the process is taking place right now for this audit does not fit any of that criteria. It is about come up with a hunch, try to find a way to put no false information out there to make it valid and then accuse others of being dishonest.
Sheriff Paul Penzone: (36:08)
As I stated before, that’s the problem right now in our society. People with the power of hitting your keyboard and sending somebody out into the world have no accountability. We have accountability and responsibility. It’s fine. I want to hear your voice, but if you don’t come with a solution, then don’t come at all. And with that, if you don’t mind, I’m going to get back to work. So thank you all.
Chairman Jack Sellers: (36:32)
Thank you so much, sheriff. And I guess just one thing I’d like to add, it’s sort of in conjunction with something that the Vice Chairman said earlier. We conducted elections in 2020 during a pandemic, something that nobody knew how to deal with, an experience that was really very upsetting to the whole system, because all of a sudden, we couldn’t have the number of precincts open because places were not available to us, the workers weren’t available to us, but every step of the way, we were in contact with the legislature, with the Secretary of State, with the Attorney General and with the governor’s office saying, we need to make this change. Can we do this within the law? Every step of the way we ensured that we were within the law and staying within the Arizona and the US Constitution. I’m not an attorney, but that was so important to all of us and we did that.
Recorder Richer: (37:31)
Okay. I thought we were done.
Fields Moseley: (37:40)
All right. So I know there’s a couple more questions out there. We do have one person on the webinar as well. I’m going to go ahead and go to that. Jennifer, can you tell me who’s on the webinar and then who has a question? And we’ll get to that question right now.
Okay Phil, we have Paul White on the line.
Fields Moseley: (37:56)
Paul White? Okay. Hazy Law.
Fields Moseley: (37:59)
Fields Moseley: (38:01)
Okay, Paul, go ahead with your question.
Paul White: (38:07)
Okay. Chairman Sellers and Reporter Richer, Chairman Sellers, you indicated that you didn’t want to be participating in the audit. One of the things that was turned over in the subpoena were the voter registration databases, all the voter information with the understanding that the auditors were going to be going door to door and talking with voters and trying to verify. How come that has not been a illegal line in the sand for the board? And would it be if they, again, try to do that?
Recorder Richer: (38:50)
Nowhere in their subpoena did it acknowledge the scope of work. This was revealed to us later. That process is not moving forward at this time as we understand.
Paul White: (39:02)
But they have not. That’s correct.
Speaker 5: (39:03)
But they have not. That’s correct Steven, but they have not given a definitive indication that they would not try to do that or that it’s not going on, even without their knowledge. They haven’t been in control of all of the aspects of the audit. How come that has not been something that you guys have addressed?
Fields Moseley: (39:28)
Bill Gates: (39:29)
Yeah. No, I appreciate the question. I think you raised a great policy issue, but this is the challenge for us. We had a court order that said those subpoenas are valid, so we don’t get to pick and choose what we turn over. That’s what we had to do. We followed the law. We believe in the rule of law. That, obviously, this practice of going out and knocking on people’s doors has raised a lot of concerns, and others have raised arguments as to why that shouldn’t go on. But again, we are here simply turning over documents in response to what the court has ordered. And now, we’re getting these questions, essentially saying that we failed to turn over things or alleging criminal acts. And so that’s why we’re speaking up on these issues today.
Fields Moseley: (40:19)
So we’re going to take three more questions here, because I know Jen has a follow-up as well. We’re going to go to [Jeremy 00:40:24] , and then this gentleman here, and I’m sorry, but we’ll get you two next. Okay? So we’ll go Jeremy, then over here, and then back to Jen.
Your colleague, Supervisor Gallardo, made a statement during the meeting about wanting to see other senators to call for an end of this, to start speaking out, especially for Supervisors Sellers and Gates, to echo that sentiment. And what would you like to see out of the other members of the Arizona Senate, especially the Republican members?
Chairman Jack Sellers: (40:52)
I, and I think several of the supervisors, have alluded to this earlier, but a lot of those senators are friends of mine, have been friends of mine for a long time. And I have a hard time believing that they truly are happy with what’s going on right now. And hopefully, more of them will come forward and say it’s time for this to stop.
Bill Gates: (41:23)
Yeah. And the only thing I would add to that is, if I were a member of the Senate, and easy for me to say because I’m not out there, I would think, I would say to Karen Fann, “Wait, I thought you were in charge of this.” We need to be in charge of this process. They’re not in charge of the process, which is simply frightening to me in a democracy, that that is what’s going on. And by the way, I hate to say it, I know this is not going to be popular, but we haven’t heard a lot out of the business community, raising concerns about this. This is creating a black eye to Arizona, and I would think that those business leaders would want this to stop. And I would think that they would contact those elected officials who they donate money to and say, “Hey, guys, get this in order or make it stop.” But we haven’t heard much from them
Fields Moseley: (42:14)
[Erica 00:42:14], this gentleman right here.
Jonathan Cooper: (42:17)
Jonathan Cooper with AP.
Fields Moseley: (42:17)
Oh, okay. Hi, Jonathan.
Jonathan Cooper: (42:19)
Hi. So following up on that, if there are people out there who are not elected Republicans, but they want to sort of have an influence on this, like you said, with the business community, what can they do? What can the business community do? Who else might be able to have an influence to put this in a direction that you think would be better? And then also, the other question I was going to ask is, should you have appealed? Do you regret not appealing, given everything that you know now?
Chairman Jack Sellers: (42:49)
I’ll let Bill talk about the appeal. I don’t even play an attorney on TV. But the thing that the vice chair and I are doing, among other things, is we’re meeting with members of the business community right now to talk about the things that are important for us to be accomplishing in a growing county, what we need to be doing to put a plan together. And in those meetings, we’re able to let them know about our frustrations. And hopefully we’re gaining some support from that.
Bill Gates: (43:28)
And again, a lot of people have been encouraged to contact our offices over the past few months. I think if you’re a person out there and you think this should end contact your senator, contact your state senator, let them know. Write letters to the editor, go on Twitter and respond. You can go on my Twitter and you can like the stuff that I’m posting, right? That’s what you can do. There’s a way we can speak out. But when we sit at home and don’t do anything, we can’t really complain about what has happened. As far as the appeal is concerned, look, we went to court because we had concerns about this issue. And I am very grateful for Paul Boyer for not voting to, again, hold us in contempt and likely lead to our jailing.
Bill Gates: (44:20)
And he asked that we get to court as soon as possible. And that’s what we did. Thanks to the great work of the county attorney’s office, we got an expedited ruling out of the superior court. And what I’ve said, and many others have said time and time again here is, “This needs to get over. This needs to get over.” Address whatever concerns there are and get it over with. And appealing this, tying this up in the courts for weeks and months, that wouldn’t allow us to get this over and get back to the important work of running the fastest growing county in America, the fourth largest county in America. This county is bursting at the seams right now. People are moving here, left and right. We have so many issues. We’ve got issues like homelessness. We’ve got a budget that we just passed today. We have air quality issues. That’s why I ran for office. That’s what I want to work on, not political theater. So I’m trying to move this forward as quickly as we possibly can, bring it to a conclusion, so that we can get back to the people’s work.
Fields Moseley: (45:27)
Let’s go to Jen Fifield for the last question.
Jen Fifield: (45:29)
Yeah. Mine was actually for the sheriff, so yeah.
Fields Moseley: (45:34)
Jen Fifield: (45:34)
No. So I wondered if Stephen Richer, if you want to talk about it, if you know, the exact threat to deputies to law enforcement. He said that this would put the life of his deputies at risk. How? Providing the routers.
Recorder Richer: (45:50)
My limited understanding of this technological component is that it basically gives outside actors a house blueprint to how to break down the Sheriff’s office and find insecure information and expose that information.
Chairman Jack Sellers: (46:09)
And I think the other piece of that question is, a lot of the people that are questioning us on, “There’s no information stored on routers. Why are you concerned about this?” They’re they’re talking about a huge difference between the routers you and I buy at Walmart and the routers that are used for a county the size of Maricopa County.
Recorder Richer: (46:36)
Fields Moseley: (46:36)
Yeah, go ahead.
Recorder Richer: (46:39)
I want to make closing remarks, and then you won’t hear from me anymore. All right. So logic has been in short supply throughout this whole process, but I want to make two points of logic. One, how facially asinine is it that I would be involved in a coverup of an election I didn’t run, but that I competed in. Why would I stand here besides these gentlemen to say it was a good election if it wasn’t? Why wouldn’t I just throw the guy that I’d spent the past 12 months criticizing, Adrian Fontes, under the bus and say, “Don’t worry, there’s a new sheriff in town.” So it’s just facially asinine. And I don’t care about the election ramifications of doing it.
Recorder Richer: (47:21)
The other thing is that Mark Finchem is running for secretary of state. Process that. If the election was completely fraudulent, as he says, why would you run for secretary of state? You think Dominion is going to rig it in your favor this time? Do you think that fraud doesn’t apply to the secretary of state’s race? Do you think that things have materially changed since 2020 because Michelle Ugenti-Rita passed one PEVL bill? Why are you running if you do not believe in these elections? I would suggest that his actions speak a lot louder than his words. Thanks.
Fields Moseley: (48:06)
All right. Well, thank you to Recorder Richard. Thank you to Sheriff Penzone. Thank you to the members of the board here, the treasurer, the superintendent, the assessor. They’ve all been here to try to help out show, show where we’re at. And I appreciate you guys being here today. All of you joining us on YouTube, we appreciate you viewing this. And we’ll answer any other questions offline, if you have them. Thank you.