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tv   Arizona Election Officials Testify on 2020 Election Audit - Part 1  CSPAN  October 29, 2021 2:01pm-5:02pm EDT

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presidency" former assistant attorney general ron james discusses his book "the truman court" in which he discusses whether president truman established precedent for the politicization of the supreme court. exploring the american story. watch american history tv saturday on c-span2. arizona election officials and others testify on the 2020 cyber ninjas audit before the house oversight and reform committee.
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welcome everyone to today's hybrid hearing. pursuant to house rules, some will appear in person and others will appear by zoom. i want to highlight something new that we're finding out today for the first time. often times when members are participated on zoom, they're not looking at the 5:00 clock, which is on a separate screen, and they lose track of how much time they have left. that means i'm forced to gavel people down more often than i would like. today when the clock hits zero and your five minutes are up, you will hear an automatic ding that will let you know your time has expired. when you hear that ding, i would ask you wrap up your questions as promptly as you can so we can
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move to the next questioner and run an efficient hearing. i thank all members for their cooperation on this issue, and i will remind everyone of the normal points. first, the house rules require that we see you. so, please have your cameras turned on at all times. second, members appearing remotely who are not recognized should remain muted to minimize background noise and feedback. third, i will recognize members verbally, but members retain the right to speak recognition verbally. members will be recognized in seniority order for questions. lastly, if you want to be recognized outside of regular order, you may identify that in several ways. you may use the chat function to send a request, you may send an email or unmute your mic. we will begin the hearing in just a moment when they tell me they are ready to begin the live stream.
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are we ready? we can. okay. the committee will come to order. without objection the chair is authorized to declare recess of the committee at any time. i now recognize myself for five minutes. on november 3rd, 2020, joe biden beat donald trump severely and decisively in the presidential election. president biden won 306 electoral votes to trump's 232, and he beat trump in the popular vote by more than 7 million votes. but rather than accept his loss, donald trump tried everything he could to overturn the will of american voters. he and his allies filed more
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than 60 lawsuits with false claims of election fraud and lost all 60 of them. he waged a pressure campaign at every level of government, from county election officials to secretaries of state to the department of justice to his own vice president to try to prevent the certification of the election results. at each stage donald trump and his allies were asked to bring forward evidence that the election was tainted by widespread voter fraud. but whether in michigan or pennsylvania or, as we will hear today, arizona, the purveyors of the big lie repeatedly failed to produce one scintilla of credible evidence of widespread fraud. yet today more than 11 months after the election, the attacks of the election system have only
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intensified. and the latest weapon of choice is the partisan audit. let me be clear, the hyperpartisan audits pushed by president trump and his allies are not about fairness, election security or the truth. they are instead designed to promote conspiracy theories and to raise doubt about our election. and the ultimate aim of these audits is even worse, to lay the groundwork for new laws that make it harder for americans to cast their ballots but easier for dishonest officials to overturn the results of elections they don't like. today's hearing will focus on the five-month-long hyperpartisan audit in maricopa county, arizona. it was clear from the beginning that this so-called audit led by the republican state senate was real i will a fishing expedition in search of evidence of election fraud, no matter how
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flimsy. the state senate rejected a bid from a qualified auditor, choosing instead to hire cyber ninjas, an unaccredited firm with no experience auditing elections. what the company did have was a ceo who had publicly supported trump and promoted the so-called big lie. during the audit cyber ninja's sloppy insecure practices jeopardized the integrity of ballots and voting machines, forcing arizona tax payers to spend millions to replace the compromised machines. the audit itself was funded with at least $6.7 million from right wing dark money groups headed by trump allies and supporters of stop the steal movement. documents show that trump himself may have funneled funds to the audit effort in arizona.
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yet all that partisan dark money failed to overcome the truth. last month, cyber ninjas finally was forced to admit that it found no evidence of widespread fraud in the maricopa county election results. in its final report, cyber ninjas wrote that they were, quote, no substantial differences, end quote, between the official count and the audit results and that there is, quote, no reliable evidence that the paper ballots were altered to any material degree, end quote. this should have been the end of the story. but rather than admit that they were wrong about voter fraud, cyber ninjas and republican leaders in arizona are now pushing a host of unnecessary legislative changes to make it harder to vote and easier to
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overturn election results. and hyperpartisan audits are now spreading to more states. we are holding today's hearing so we can hear the facts about the cyber ninja audits in arizona. we invited the company's ceo, doug logan, to testify today so that we could hear first hand about the audit's findings. unfortunately, mr. logan refused our invitation, and he also refused to produce documents that the committee requested back in july. mr. logan's refusal to answer questions under oath is just one more sign that the dark money-fuelled audit he led never should have happened in the first place. today we will hear from the chairman and vice chairman of the maricopa county board of supervisors, both republicans, who, unlike mr. logan, were not afraid to tell the committee the
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truth about this audit. i am honored that they both agreed to put country over party, by testifying today despite threats to their personal safety. we will also hear from election and democracy experts who will tell us how partisan audits are spreading to other states, including pennsylvania, wisconsin and texas and the threat this poses to our democracy. the attempts by former president trump and his allies to undermine america's elections are failing to win the last one fair and square. it represents the biggest threat to our constitutional republic since the civil war. this committee will not be silent in the face of this threat. we will continue to conduct oversight to ensure that the american people know the truth about these sham audits and to protect our election from further interference. but it should not just be democrats who stick up for
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america's elections. i urge my republican colleagues to follow the lead of our brave witnesses from maricopa county by putting country over party and finally renouncing trump's big lie. i want to thank our panelists for being here today. thank you so much for your testimony. and i now recognize the distinguished ranking member, mr. comer, for his opening statement. >> well, thank you, madam chairwoman, for holding today's hearing because half of america has questions about the integrity of our election. democrats unilaterally changing the rules in the middle of those elections, like what happened last summer, does nothing to answer the questions that americans have with respect to the integrity of last year's elections. it's important that the american public have confidence in election results, so states and
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counties should be transparent and open to outside audit. i hope today's hearing helps answer some outstanding concerns regarding election integrity. unfortunately, today's hearing is the continuation of two troubling trends from this committee. the first trend is the democrats' obsession with avoiding any actual oversight of the biden administration. if you don't believe me, just look at the actions. this committee has now less than half the number of hearings they did when president trump was in office. this committee has had half less as many witnesses from the administration. and this committee hasn't held a single hearing on the border crisis or on the disastrous withdrawal from afghanistan or the illegal leaks at the irs or the origins of covid-19 or any other topics like the border security crisis. the second trend is the
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democrats' current obsession with investigating anything coming out of the state. recently we've had hearings on voting rights and abortion, both solely because the law passed in a single today. today we're having a hearing on election integrity based solely on an audit that occurred in a single state. each of these issues, abortion rights, voting rights, election integrity are issues long been known to be handled at the state level. if this committee cannot resist wading into state issues, attempting to trample all over the 10th amendment. with that i want to yield the balance of my time to mr. big, who stood on the frontlines in arizona on this issue from the very beginning. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. and i thank the chair today for having this hearing. you know, the democrats really can't have it both ways, can they? can they have it both ways? you cannot say the audit showed
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the integrity of the election while at the same time claiming the mere fact of the audit is a threat to our democracy. you can't do that. it's a salacious, logically -- illogical inconsistency. if, as you claim -- by the way a claim i dispute -- that the election was fair, an audit which is what you assert. that's what you are asserting here today. but at the same time you're saying, well, the audit confirms what we think it did, when you cherry pick some of the statements from the audit report. you're also saying that an audit undermines the election integrity. you see the inconsistency of your position? if there are questions as to the accuracy of the election, a forensic audit will reveal the questionable outcomes and problems that need to be cured going forward. and the legitimacy of the
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election may be compromised. dems and leftists have been highly critical of this audit even before it began. they had an agenda. and the chairwoman mentioned this agenda today. all of you are participating here, you can support this agenda. she said, they don't think legislative changes should be made. that's what she said. that's why we're doing this today because they think any legislative changes are not appropriate. well, in 2018 in mary maricopa county -- most of you may not know this -- there were such problems with the maricopa county election that the democrat county recorder, who is the elections official for the county, adrian upon the tez, got to go under scrutiny by this board of supervisors -- the 2018
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board of supervisors -- who took everything back from him that they possibly could legally and statutorily. that's the history of problems in maricopa county in our voting. looking from the outside, the election process in maricopa county was fraught with problems. if your claim was that the audit wasn't in order, you must acknowledge several broad observation of the auditors they made with regard to this audit. everything from procedure and conduct or misconduct on the part of the board and specific elected officials. you cannot argue the question regarding election integrity for the right is an attack on the democracy, our constitutional republic, especially after four years of the democrats claiming that the 2016 presidential election was stolen because of russian interference.
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here's what a member of this committee said, mr. raskin from maryland said. quote, i would love to challenge the electoral college vote because our election was badly tainted with everything from cyber sabotage by vladimir putin. that's what he said. and we went through -- we went through literally about four and a half years right up to the start of the november voting, the early balloting in arizona, of hillary clinton and her supporters in the media saying that the 2016 election was stolen by republicans. it is no secret that if you go back and look at polling data, everything from the bush v. gore era forward, the party whose candidate was not successful asserted that the election was not fair and impartial. no secret. every polling outlet from that point, 2001 right on up to 2020
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claimed that. i advocated for a full forensic audit because i felt like election integrity should be restored. one of the biggest things that i find problematic here is that the two statutory minimum audits committed to by the county board of supervisors that were done could have been easily expanded in a timely fashion to a full forensic audit. chose not to do it. spent $18,000 for those two audits. spent literally hundreds of thousands of dollars, multiple lawsuits, to prevent the audit that we're discussing today. and ultimately the bottom line is we're here because this chairwoman and the democrats don't want to see any kind of legislative change. i believe there needs to be
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legislative change probably in arizona. i don't know what's going on in other states, but other folks tell me in their states there needs to be legislative change too. that's -- that's why we're here is because the chairwoman would like to see legislative change scuttled. and i, for the life of me, don't understand why this committee thinks that it has the constant obligation to interfere in what is patently a state issue. madam chair, thank you, and i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. i now recognize mr. raskin, who is the chairman of the subcommittee on civil rights and civil liberties for an opening statement. >> madam chair, thank you very much for calling this important hearing and thank you for making our committee a leader in defending democracy and the voting rights of the people against this escalating onslaught by donald trump and his supporters against american
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constitutional democracy. we know that mr. trump never accepted the results of the 2020 presidential election despite the fact that joe biden beat him by more than 7 million votes and by a margin of 306-232 in the electoral college, a margin incidentally that mr. trump declared a landslide when he beat hillary clinton by the exact same amount. donald trump moved quickly to try to brash out the state election officials. and they were the first line of defense of the democracy. people like brad raffensperger in georgia who refused to participate in donald trump's election fraud, refusing to find just 11,781 votes that donald trump said was all he needed in order to overturn the lawful results in the state. but there were election officials across the country who refuted and repudiated donald trump's claims of corruption and claim. and in fact trump's own homeland
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security department declared the 2020 election the most secure in american history. so, then he went to court and 61 federal and state courts in the land, from the lowest courts in the land, state, county, district courts to federal constrict courts all the way up to the united states supreme court, definitively, meticulously and comprehensively repudiated and rejected every claim that donald trump supporters made that there was election fraud or electoral corruption. and even the claim that some of our colleagues have decided to float again today, which has been rejected all the way up to the supreme court, was one that was thoroughly vetted. the idea that when state election administrators or state supreme courts under state constitutions or under state legislative command act in the
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electoral process, that's somehow unconstitutional. there's no basis for that. it's been made up. it was floated in all of these courts, rejected in all of these courts. it was floated by the attorney general of texas, who sued in the supreme court. it was rejected. and then it was floated again on the house floor on january 5th, as the violent insurrection attacked. it was rejected again. and yet the big lie lives now in these phony audits around the country. it was amazing, yet telling for me, to hear the gentleman from arizona essentially -- i think he tried to alie the fact that this audit rejected the claim that donald trump won in arizona. you never really understood members from arizona challenging the result by which they themselves were elected in the exact same election where they were elected, and yet still i
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believe, correct me if i'm wrong, i hear him not even to be accepting the results of this audit, which say that joe biden got more votes than were lawfully reported by the state. >> will gentleman yield? i'm happy to respond? >> by all means. do you accept this audit would show that joe biden won and indeed by more votes -- >> that is not what the audit concluded, mr. raskin. you know better than that. have you read the whole audit or you cherry picked the line that talks about the recount versus the tabulation machines. that we would have expected to be very similar and it was. anything that might have endured -- >> who -- is my question. who won the election in arizona? donald trump or -- >> we don't know because as the audit demonstrates very clearly, mr. raskin, there are a lot of issues with this election that took place. we're going to go through those today. but you can continue -- >> okay. i'm going to reclaim my time.
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>> -- speaking of the big lie, you can continue perpetuating it as long as you want. >> i'm going to reclaim my time. there is the problem we have. donald trump refused to pick up the results and unfortunately we have one of the world's great political parties which has followed him off of the ledge of this electoral lunacy. and it's dangerous for democracy, so i'm glad we're having this hearing today, and i yield back to you, madam chair. >> the gentleman yields back. i just first would like to respond to my dear friend from the great state of kentucky who said we had not conducted oversight with the administration. i would like to remind him that just two days ago we held a hearing on ida with the administrator from fema on the response of the federal government to that disaster. and in terms of afghanistan, last month at the request of republicans, we held a bipartisan classified briefing with the defense department,
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state department, dhs and the intelligence community to examine the ongoing efforts to help u.s. citizens and afghan allies who are still at risk in afghanistan. and i will note that just yesterday our national security subcommittee chair, mr. lynch, sent invitations for a counterterrorism hearing later this month on afghanistan. but we do not want to be focusing on areas. we are focusing on this election audit, and i would right now like to introduce the witnesses. >> in order -- >> point of order, madam chair. point of order, madam chair. point of order. >> who is calling for a point of order? will you state your point of order? who's speaking? >> yes, i just wanted to clarify, madam chair. i just wanted to clarify -- >> who's speaking? >> we called for a public hearing about the debacle in
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afghanistan. what you've provided us was a closed door classified briefing. the american people want transparency and accountability with what went wrong in afghanistan. so, what we're asking for isn't a behind-the-closed-door in a smoke-filled room briefing by a bunch of, you know, bureaucrats in the biden administration. we want a transparent hearing so the american people can see exactly what went wrong. that's my point of order. i yield back. >> one is scheduled. i repeat, i held that classified briefing at the request of republicans who asked for it. right now let's return to the subject before us today. i would like to introduce our witnesses. our first witness today is jack sellers, who is the chairman of the board of supervisors of maricopa county, arizona. then we will hear from bill gates, who is the vice chairman of the board of supervisors of maricopa county.
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next we will hear from david becker, who is the executive director and founder of the center for election innovation and research. next we will hear from -- a senior counsel at the brennan center for justice. and finally we will hear from ken bennet, who was the senate audit liaison and the former secretary of state in arizona. the witnesses will be unmuted so that we can swear them in. please raise your right hand. do you swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god? >> i do. >> let the record show that the witnesses answered in the affirmative. thank you. without objection, your written statements will be made part of the record. with that, mr. sellers, you are now recognized for your testimony. thank you for traveling here
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from arizona and for your public service. mr. sellers? >> thank you, madam chair. members of the committee, thank you all for inviting me here today. i want to start by saying that the election of november 3rd, 2020 in maricopa county was free, fair and accurate. maricopa county is the second largest voting district in the united states of america. i sit before you today as a republican who was voted into office in november of 2020. and there's a member of this distinguished committee who was also successful in the november 2020 election held in maricopa county. but the most important people involved in the november election were the men and women of the maricopa county elections department. they executed a secure, accurate and efficient election of over 1.8 million voters in the
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nation's fourth most populous county during a worldwide pandemic. our election department was praised by election experts throughout the country, and we received an award from the national association of counties. maricopa county began planning for the 2020 election immediately after the november 2018 election results were canvassed and submitted to the arizona secretary of state. the county began to assess staff, processes and equipment needs in anticipation of the 2020 election cycle and taking appropriate action to complete that preparation because we also knew that the election results in maricopa county would play a pivotal role in both the outcome of the presidential race and the u.s. senate chamber political make-up. i'm very proud of the efforts we put forth to prepare. we worked closely with the
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arizona secretary of state, our legislative leaders in both the house and the senate, the attorney general and the governor's office. we were also very inclusive of all the political parties who participated fully in not only observing election day administration and tabulation but also in pre- and post-election logic and accuracy testing. if you were in arizona politics in november of 2020 and didn't understand how maricopa county was running elections, then you just weren't paying attention. the county authored an election bill regarding electronic adjudication at the legislature, which passed both chambers unanimously and was signed by our governor. the county invested in a very robust voter education campaign. so, if you watch tv, tweeted, instagramed or used youtube, you
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saw our media campaign. we implemented the technology to educate our residents on when and how to register, how you can vote, where you can vote and the wait times at the polling locations all by pushing a button on your phone. we ran a presidential preference election in february. all participants agreed it was well-run and accurate. we ran the primary election in august of 2020. again, the public, the candidates and the political parties all agreed the county's election execution was excellent. we ran the 2020 general election in november, and suddenly what, to that point had been a great process, was deemed fatally flawed by a small, yet loud, minority. i dare say if you're a student of maricopa county republican election history, you are not
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surprised by the results. it was not a flawed election process, not a lack of security. it was a candidate that many maricopa county republicans simply did not support. if that lesson is not clear to our state and county republican leaders, then i'm afraid 2022 will not be favorable to my party. during these last ten months, i've learned a lot about people. and frankly, i was naive in thinking i could just sit down with our state senate leadership and explain the questions and accusations and we can put this uncertainty behind us and move on with securing a fruitful future for our residents. but it's become clear that there are those who don't care what the facts are. they just want to gain political power and raise money by fostering mistrust of the greatest power an individual can exercise in the united states,
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their vote. i'm an elected official. some say i signed up for this. and that's true. but i ran because economic development and maintaining our quality of life is very important to me. making sure the value of the sun has the proper investment in technology, education is what drives me. relitigating a failed campaign is not what drives me. so, it's time to move on. it's time to put our efforts into securing a greater future for our country. and that's exactly what i plan to do. thank you. >> thank you. the gentleman yields back. and thank you. mr. gaetz, you are now recognized for your testimony. >> thank you, very much, madam chair, ranking member and members of the committee. thank you so much for having me here today to discuss a very important issue in our country,
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and that's the future of fair and free elections. the 2020 election in maricopa county, the general election, was the best election we've ever run in maricopa county. and the way that i know that was that it was the most scrutinized election in the history of maricopa county. election experts said that. machine counts confirmed it. hand counts confirmed it. the court system reconfirmed it. and our residents were happy too. we did a poll of 80,000 of our voters, and 90% of them said that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the election. really by any measure, this election in 2020 was secure, and everyone who wanted to vote was able to do so. unfortunately, some in our party see it differently. they have attacked the work that was done by our elections
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workers in maricopa county, and they have fanned the flames of conspiracy. and this willingness to do so unfortunately is what led to the first non-peaceful transfer of power in our country's history. and unfortunately, arizona has been at the center of this attack on our american ideals. even though joe biden won arizona by 45,000 votes, 20 members of the arizona legislature signed a resolution asking congress to disregard those results and seat trump electors. that was without a doubt a staggering refusal to follow the will of the voters. next, republicans state senators went to court, and they tried to get for maricopa county, the
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people's ballots and the election machines, quote, sufficiently in advance of the congressional review of the electoral college returns on january 6th, 2021. now, when they failed, the senators carried on. they threatened to jail me and my colleagues on the board of supervisors. and then they cast doubt on two additional audits that we authorized at the board of supervisors. and by the way, both of these audits found that there was no hacking. there was no manipulation with our machines or with our software. it should have ended there. but it didn't. the senate then hired the cyber ninjas to head up a group of firms with no or little election experience to conduct an extra legal review, essentially an extra legal recount of maricopa county's ballot.
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and really that can only be described as an amateurish review of maricopa county's election technical infrastructure. the cyber ninjas, they changed the policies and procedures. they chased conspiracy theories. they threw out false claims. and worst of all, they accused our good elections workers of committing crimes. they said that they deleted files, that these were files that the cyber ninjas just couldn't find. no, this was either an out-and-out lie or a level of incompetence by the cyber ninjas that was staggering. elections integrity is not a new thing for me. as a former republican election lawyer for the arizona republican party, it's a passion of mine. and that's why i'm here today, to speak out against those that
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are passing off this disinformation and those that would call on legitimate elections to be decertified. this is without a doubt the biggest threat to our democracy in my lifetime. if elected officials continue to choose party over truth, then these procedures are going to continue on. these privately funded government backed attacks on legitimate election. and losers of elections will just go out and find financial backers who will continue to drag these procedures on. and unfortunately that is going to negatively impact our democracy. as a republican who believes in democracy, i dreamed of one day going to a nation that was trying to build a democracy and help them out. we have perhaps a former soviet
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republic like belarus or tajikistan. i never could have imagined that i would be doing that work here in the united states of america. thank you. >> thank you. mr. becker, you are now recognized. >> thank you, madam chair and members of the committee. my name is david becker, and i'm the executive director and founder of the center for election research, a non-partisan non-profit that works with election officials and others from both parties around the country. i have nearly 25 years of experience working in elections, and i come here before you as concerned as i've never been before about the ongoing threats to american democracy. first, the good news. in every state, including arizona, we saw the most secure, verified and transparent election in american history. almost 95% of all ballots were cast on auditable paper, up from less than 80% in 2016, including all ballots in every swing
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state. there were more legitimate audits of those ballots than ever before in states like arizona, michigan and most notably in georgia, where they counted every presidential ballot three times, including once entirely by hand. we saw prelitigation clarifying the results with each side winning cases and losing others. and there was more post-litigation confirming results. this was largely due to heroic efforts of election officials across the country, of both parties who managed record turnout while severely underfunded. the bad news is that tens of millions of americans sincerely disappointed that their candidate lost have been targeted in a scam to keep them angry, divided and donated. they've been told lies that millions of their fellow citizens engaged in a massive conspiracy to deliver the
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election to the current president and that none of the millions of conspirators are talking. this big lie is leading the laws in the states that make elections less secure and leading to threats against public servants who run elections. and it's led to the effort that was concluded by the cyber ninjas in maricopa county, arizona. the ninjas was flawed before the start. they spread lies about the election months before they got the contract. and they raised millions of dollars from outside sources to fund their efforts. arizona senate and their contractors had to be taken to court to get basic documents about the process and the back room discussions that drove it. meanwhile, the ninjas seized ballots from the election officials who were required by law to maintain them. and in so doing likely violated federal law and broke the chain of custody of these ballots. one of the great ironies is even if the ninjas discovered an actual election problem, which they did not, they had so tainted the evidence, it would have been found inadmissible in
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any legal proceeding to address the problem. the ninjas conclusion suffered from the same flaws. they made claims about voters who had moved base on incompetent methodology. experienced election auditors confirmed ninjas and allies got half of their numbers flatout wrong, including failing to account for one-third of the hand counted ballots. and despite the fact that arizona was the best hope, the ninjas effort confirmed nothing. even in a state with the smallest margin of victory, highly biased and motivated individuals bolstered by millions of dollars from unclear sources and eight months to work could not manufacture enough fake fraud to overturn the will of arizona voters. before the ninjas even started the election had been verified and confirmed consistent with arizona law. voter lists were confirmed and maintained accurately thank to electronic registration center,
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the gold standard of voter list maintenance. audited conducted immediately after the election pursuant to arizona law. nevertheless the ninjas effort has contributed to threats against public servants and their families. these threats are so pervasive my organization formed the network under the leadership of bob bauer and ben ginsburg to provide legal expertise. not withstanding lawmakers have pushed similar flawed efforts. beginning 11 months after the election in each of these states and throughout the nation, there is still zero evidence of significant fraud, even after nearly a year of looking for it. these efforts continue to have a disastrous effect in our democracy. we're at risk of losing a generation of election administration due to ongoing threats. laws are being passed that make elections less secure and inject more chaos into vote casting,
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counting and certification of results. validly elected leaders are finding their elections delegitimized. ironically, they are calling into questions their own elections. let's be clear real audits conducted transparentally by professional administrators under laws established prior to an election are a very good thing. we had more strong audits than ever before in 2020. if states want to pass laws requiring even better audits after an election, i will be there working with them and helping them. i have already done so with republicans and democrats in states like georgia and michigan. but that's not what happened in arizona or other states. the legislatures in those states did not see any problems. it was only after they became unhappy with the results and the losing candidate refused to concede that they fuelled his election denial with these efforts many months after the elections in these states had been verified, audited and certified.
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thank you. >> you are now recognized for five minutes. >> chairwoman maloney, ranking member comer and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss this critical issue. in the last year we have seen a number of techniques employed to undermine the will of the voters, the flagrant violence of january 6th, the behind the scenes phone call to officials, an alleged secret memo. none of these techniques succeeded in overturning the 2020 election. but willfully ignorant sham partisan reviews are serving up baseless decisions. the impacts of these lies is twofold. attacks on election officials and their families now and the fostering of systemic efforts and election sabotage in the future. i hope to make three points in my testimony. first, after more than nine months and millions of dollars spent, the sham partisan review in arizona has given us the same
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ins wags that purveyors of voter fraud myths have been pushing and real election have been debunking for years. it's no surprise the contractors chose to conduct this charade were biased from the start. they are spreading and providing material to keep the big lie alive. third, our society must do its part to protect our democracy. congress can help by providing resources to help election officials defend against these attacks and by passing legislation to protect election officials, workers and voters. the arizona senate's partisan review was conceived and executed by people who were the subject of pressure from former president trump and his supporters to propagate fraud claims from a state senate meeting from giuliani from a call from trump to voice mails
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to the marco pa county supervisor. the senate chose cyber ninjas. doug logan, the ceo of cyber ninjas has authored and stands by a memo, including viral claims against a formal dominion employee who had to go into hiding after a flood of harassment and threats. in addition to bias, the cyber ninjas have resisted transparency about their procedures. there's also very little transparency about overspending the review, what little information has been disclosed is troubling. finally, the cyber ninjas were incompetent to perform any election reviews. those top three findings are textbook examples of how purveyors of voter fraud misunderstand data.
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first they ignore the basic concepts. they look for arizona voters who shared a first, middle and last name and birth year with another voter and they found about 10,000 such matches. voters that potentially voted in multiple counties. but within groups of people who have a common name, such as robert smith, it is expected that some of them will share a birthday. and it is even more common for people to share a birth year. in another example, critical supposedly impacting over 23,000 ballots. this is the number of people who cyber ninja found through matching voter tracking files to a commercial address verification list. the temporary moves do not change a voter's eligibility to vote from their permanent residence. this isn't an obscure election act. it appeared in main stream news stories before november since many voters had questions about
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this before the pandemic. cyber ninja was not the only contractor chosen. contracted to look at ballots and images. he has a history of conflating ballot images and ballots through fraud in his home state of to testify today. i look forward to answering your questions.
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>> you're now recognized mr. bennett. >> thank you. auditing elections is not a threat to our democratic republic. anything we can do to make sure our elections are transparent only threatens our country. every citizen deserves know they are treated equally under the law as guaranteed in the constitution. every lawful vote must be counted accurately and not cancelled out by unlawful ones. even the election system used by maricopa county points out the steps is to audit the election. they even trademark that module saying, quote, this ballot level audit trail allows election officials and other stake holders to review not only the ballot images but the tabulators
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interpretation of each ballot, end quote. why does each ballot matter? in 2020, arizona had the closest contest for president in our state's history. to use numbers we can all easily relate to. we had 80% or 800 people vote. the official results were president biden, 397. president trump, 395. a 2 out of 800 vote margin which was the exact percentage of about 10,000 out of 3.4 million many the actual election. you notice that 397 and 395 don't add up to 800 either. that's because on 1% of the ballot, 8 out of 800, the machines didn't record any vote in the presidential race. in the actual election it was
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almost 34,000 ballots. maybe that's what those voters intended or maybe some voters checked next to the oval not getting any mark inside the oval. in either case, no vote was counted by the election management system and those under votes would have not been sent to adjudication teams. we review each of the ballots. the most significant finding is the hand count of the physical ballot very closely matches the county's official result in the president and u.s. and senate races. that finding is frustrating to many who expected the audit to prove a different election
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result. to that end we did find several areas where election laws and procedures were or may have been violated. these include missing or unmatched signatures on ballots. missing serial numbers. common user names and passwords used to log into the election management system. deleted files from if data delivered to the senate.
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not many people like to have their work checked but audits are much better with the cooperation of the auditee. it's been reported by the senate to the state attorney general whose election integrity unit will work with the county to find the answers and accountability. election integrity is so important. we must find ways to work amongst different levels and branches of government to achieve it. no election or election audit can be conducted perfectly as they are administered by imperfect human beings. i believe they are honorable, well intentioned people trying to do the best job they can. i believe the same about the audit. we should not fear auditing election. we should embrace it and welcome
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it. >> thank you. thank all the panelists. i now recognize myself. thank you for being here today. you're both lifelong republicans. i don't think anyone would question either of you for your long held allegiance to the republican party. you have been outspoken messengers that the 2020 election was safe, secure and fai even when that message brought you into conflict with members of your own party. nearly every republican in the arizona state senate voted to hold both you have in contempt for standing up against the
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cyber ninja audit. one republican state senator called for the entire maricopa board to be arrested and put in solitary confinement. why have you chosen to speak out so forcefully on this issue even against some members of your own party? >> thank you. it hasn't been easy to do this. i have been a lifelong republican and i'm proud to be a republican. i'm also a member of the board of supervisors and as was mentioned earlier, the board of supervisors took more authority in running elections in 2020 because we wanted to run an excellent election. we believe that is what has happened here. the problem is as people have been distorting what happened in this election, i have no problem with people raising questions.
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what i have a problem with is people going to the length as you mentioned. we had gone to court to get direction from a superior court judge on whether we had the legal authority to turn the ballots over. we had asked for an expeditd hearing and despite that the arizona state senate was one vote away from holding us in contempt and most likely detaining us. that was wrong. it was also wrong once they had the ballots, in my opinion, to conduct an audit with auditors who had no elections experience and also auditors who had a preconceived notion. i don't have a problem with audits. i had concern with this particular audit and that's why i'm speaking out. >> chairma sellers, what about you? why you speaking about today? >> when i first got on the board of supervie source, we were in the process of taking the parts
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of the election process back that we could because we had some issues with elections in the past couple of elections. people waiting in line for four or five hours and those kind of things. the interesting thing to me was that every step of the wap we ensured we were staying within the u.s. and arizona institution with everything we did. when we were faced with the pandemic and had to change the way we were going to run the election from precinct model to a vote model, we went back to the secretary of state, the attorney general and got their agreement on everything we were doing that it was legal and going to provide us with a safe,
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secure election going forward. >> thank you. reclaiming my time. i have limited time. mr. sellers and mr. gates, you faced pressure to support mr. trump's big lie even before the audit started. on christmas eve last year, former president trump's personal lawyer, rudy giuliani, called mr. sellers and mr. gates as part of trump's pressure campaign to try to over turn the election results in arizona. neither of you picked up so he left a voice mail message. i'd like to play one of those voice mails now that mr. giuliani left for chairman sellers. may we hear the audio now, please. >> i'm hoping we could have
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chance to have a conversation. i'd like to see if there's way we could resolve this so it comes out well for every one, for all republicans, i think we have the same goal. let's see if we can get this done outside of the courts. okay. call me, any time. no problem. bye. >> he said and i quote we're all republicans. i think we all have the same goal. i'd like to ask you, what do you think that goal was and you got a similar call where he said, he asked you to quote, get this thing fixed up, end quote and saying, quote, i think there may be a nice way to resolve this. what do you think he wanted you to do? >> just a point of order real quick. i hope i will be extended the courtesy to go beyond the five minutes. >> absolutely. >> that voice mail was left at a time.
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we were in litigation with the state senate turning over the ballots in the election machines. i think he was trying to get us to settle that lawsuit so they could very quickly get the ballots in advance of the january 6th certification of the electoral college. >> why was this so important? what was his ultimate goal was? >> well, i can't speculate on that but i think that he wanted to look at the evidence and see if there was evidence to support not certifying the election. >> i want to thank you both. my time is up. >> the late senator from arizona john mccain once said and i quote, we are americans first. americans last, americans always.
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i agree. we are americans before we are members of any political party. chairman sellers and supervisor gates, i hope other republicans, including my colleagues in congress follow the example that you set today. i want to thank you for your testimony. thank you so much. i now recognize the gentleman from arizona. >> can you hear me? >> i can hear you. >> that sounds good. i want to thank all the witnesses especially mr. bennett from my district. ken, good seeing you again. thank you for taenting. -- attending. the majority is very shortsighted. this hearing reminds me of 2017, maybe 2018 when one of our own members from the other side actually introduced legislation.
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mr. raskin. part of that was due to a election security infrastructure subcommittee hearing on the u.s. senate side. they were 100% corruptible. interesting. interesting. now i want to bring into mind a film and usually complimentary a film. this was released in march of 2020. it's called kill chain by the hbo film. they go in with a cyber security expert.
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they were adding machines with a light. today they are controlled by computers. all computers can be hacked. they show how the machines can be corrupted. there's more to the story. it's how to be manipulated by the machines. it's covered up by the machines. don't take my word for it.
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we had problems from the 2018 election. board of supervisors took back some of their power and oversight of it. very important. we start dissecting what the cyber ninja said. the certification of these audits is not exactly what you really want.
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you want somebody independent of that. the standpoint we see that, there's problems. how about me? where do you come from me. i was contacted by two individuals. one at security and fraud jobs with the banking world. the other one does fraud from the department of defense. they were monitoring the election through and providing information to the media.
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there's a first dump. multiple dumps, maybe nine or ten. actual he resigned the very next morning. that doesn't draw any attention, does it? it's just even worse.
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they go, maricopa election committee take 100 random ballots. they can't go for smudges, tears, whatever. you do a new one with judges from both sides of the aisle looking over making sure it's done right. they never finish. they lock him up.
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if you take three times three at 90,000, you're talking about over 200,000, 270,000 ballots. this should be the cause for an audit. the judge said they don't have to answer to the state senate. they do. they didn't provide. they do. they didn't have full access for voter signature acuity and documentation and accuracy. >> the gentleman's time -- >> problems here.
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hopefully i can get some time yielded to me so i can explain more. there should have been an audit. >> thank you. >> the gentleman has received equal time and we were both over time. i recognize the gentle lady from columbia. she is now recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. i will try to stay within my time. this oversight hearing is the appropriate response to the claim that elections were stolen. i know for the record that cyber ninjas who did this audit is not here. i would have thought they would be first to want to step up to speak to the issue of the audit. they were invited. they are not here. the other side mentioned problems in all of our elections. there's never been a problem
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such as the problem we have seen here. this unprecedented. he mentioned bush versus gore. i remember very distinctly that at that very close election, gore stepped up to concede the elections. that is the american way. this is the first time that has been broken in the history of the united states of america. i have questions for chairman sellers and supervisor gates who i thank for appearing before us today. i understand that sense the election, you have been the targets of horrific threats of violence. something else unprecedented. i'd like to ask each of you about the threats you have
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received. how many threats have you and your family received since november 2020 and have these threats and how have these threats affected you and your family? >> okay, i have not reacted as much to the threats as some of my colleagues because i'm widowed. i live alone. i think even my staff and our law enforcement agencies have admonished me for not being concerned enough about the threats. to that point, i have had sheriffs department and police department vehicles that parked in front of my house overnight on many nights because very specific threats against me and, in fact, the maricopa county sheriff told me if you don't have a ring doorbell, i will buy you one if you're not willing to
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buy one for yourself. i now have one just to enhance the security where i live. >> that kind of threat after an election, again, is unprecedented in american life. supervisor gates, can you describe some of the threats that you and your family have received and is it your understanding that people making these threats support the notion that the election was stolen. >> thank you for that question. we have been -- i have three daughters. we have been subjected to many threats over the past few months. we have been docked. one of our colleagues had 90 people outside of his house one evening. we've had phone calls into the board of supervisors saying they were -- people were going to come and slaughter us and our families. sadly, we had a state senator
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who sent out a fund raising e-mail in which she told us she's a veteran and she told us to check our sicks which i believe we better watch our back. this is clearly an attempt by people and we see it on both sides of the aisle, sadly. people all across the spectrum. for us it's generally been people who have unhappy with the election results. there's been an attempt to intimidate us and intimidating others who are doing elections work. that's i'm most concerned about is this would deter good people who want to be involved in running elections in the future from getting involved and making a difference. >> vice chairman gates, that's a very important point. these are volunteers. we need them every election. could i ask you chairman sellers, have other supervisors and employees of the county been targeted by similar threats of the kind that you and the vice
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chairman have mentioned? >> yes, absolutely. we had a fence put up around our building in downtown phoenix. the fence put up around our election headquarters just to protect the employees who are -- the important thing to me is that the elections department people are nonpartisan people who have worked through all the elections without any political involvement at all. >> i recognize the gentleman from arizona, mr. biggs for as
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much time as he needs. >> thank you. i'll try to stay as close to that five as i can. thank you so much. >> it's unfortunate we have devolved to the threats. that really is a terrible thing. i spent the first two years receiving threats from the hard left repeatedly. i couldn't even hold town halls anymore because i had to have massive amounts of protection there not just for me but anybody who could come because we had no idea what would happen. the threats were real. i know the president of the arizona senate has received threats from the other side as well. this is a problem we face in a very divided nation right now. i had to point out something about vice chair gates testimony. i thought it was interesting because you mention, and aread that and you stated today that the senate was trying to put you in jail. that isn't really the full
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context. the full context was this. that the senate in december after the hearing issued subpoenas pause negotiating trying to figure out how to respond. didn't happen. in january, february there was an attempt to issue second subpoenas those were not responded to. court hearing was held. you didn't go to court to say, hey, we want to participate. we just want to know what we can and get. you went to quash the subpoenas. that's a huge difference. to be held in contempt takes a majority. they didn't get the majority because the senate is very evenly split. that's something quite different than saying, yeah, they were trying to put us in jail.
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they were trying to cite you for contempt of something that constitutionally and statutorily the legislature was allowed to do. i just need to make sure that was clear. >> may i respond to that? >> no, you can't. it's my time. i'm going to turn to mr. bennett. mr. bennett, i want to ask you a question with regard to this notion of, let me get to my question here. he was critical of the chain of custody. can you talk to us about the ballot chain of custody. i don't mean to be rude mr. gates. i have a very limited amount of time and i have to get to certain things. >> yeah, i think mr. becker's testimony was that the ninjas seized the ballot and machines. nothing could be further from the truth. i personally, along with the co-election director of maricopa county supervised the transition
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of the ballots and the machines from the county to the audit over a period of two days. we processed 46 palettes. 1691 boxes. contains about 12 to 1300 pal -- ballots. that process went smoothly. we did find 26 mismarked boxes. we found eight boxes that were not listed on the manifest. the chain of custody documents that maricopa county was supposed to have since the election until they turned them over to us on april 22nd of 2021. we found two boxes on the manifest but not present on the palettes and we found three boxes on different palettes than they were listed. out of 1691 boxes, there were 40
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some boxes. we had a very smooth transition. >> why is the chain of custody so important here where the folks that didn't want to see an audit take place claiming there was a chain of custody problem. they should be delivered to the county by their vendors and processed through the election. that chain of custody should have started then and should have been part of the documentation delivered to us.
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we never received that chain of custody. we do have a full chain of custody. you have accounted for all the ballots. the ones you used. the ones you didn't use and all of that chain of custody is important in the election as it is in the audit which is why we maintain custody during the audit. >> thank you. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. i now recognize the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. lynch. you're now recognized, mr. lynch. >> thank you. mr. gates, i'll give you an opportunity to respond to the fact pattern presented. i want to say how shameful, how absolutely shameful the conduct of some of my colleagues has been in perpetuating this big
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lie. i just, you know, i chair the subcommittee on national security and we regularly visit failed states. they undernine the ability of the winning party to govern. while that has been a characteristic in other failed states, having the same impact on our country. it's undermining the faith in whoever wins whether it's a democratic, republican
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candidate. that is shameful. it really is shameful. this is all about trump. mr. trump had other occasions where he questioned elections. remember? he tweeted out when romney lost to obama. he tweeted out the election was stolen. the election was stolen. check the machines, he said. when ted cruz beat him in iowa, trump said, he stole it. anybody who attended several caucuses in iowa, you got to physically be there. you have to raise your hand for your candidate. trump said, it was stolen. then months before this election, this past election, when president biden won, he said the only way biden can win is if he's going to steal it.
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that is absolutely shameful. what's more shameful that he has taken so many good people down with him. you know, history will remember, will remember the people like mr. gates and chairman sellers who stood up for democracy. stood up for democracy in the face of threats, physical threats to themselves and their families. history will also remember the quiz ling, the quizling who backed trump and his allegations that the election was stolen. this is not only a day to stand up for what you believe in, it's also reputationally something that will be visited on your family. you attack this country and
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legitimate election in favor of that man, president trump. it's disgraceful. 62 cases were brought in court. none of them, none of them and before trump appointed judge, federal judges, the trump point ed -- a lot of state judges that were republican, long time republicans, and they never, ever substaniated. they never got to it. yet, you continue to support the big lie. it's disgraceful. i now yield my last minute to you to address the custodial issues that the gentleman from arizona raised. i yield back. >> thank you very much, congressman. i didn't want to leave any lack of what happened. congressman, we did receive the
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subpoena. we didn't attempt to quash that. we went to court to get direction. we believed that it was a violation of arizona law to produce the ballots and the machine. we were looking for election. i would point out as well, we did not appeal that decision to the court of appeals which a lot of people have said was a mistake on our part. i did not want to give that -- i want to make sure that was clear for the record. the vote that was going -- the vote that took place, we were in karen's office and said ask for an expedited hearing. you don't have to do this. she said it's going up on the board. i said, karen, my daughter said dad are you going to get thrown in jail. she said we're not going to throw you in jail. i said, this resolution gives you the authority up to and including throwing us in jail and it will be a lot of people pressing for us to be in jail if we weren't by the end of that day.
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>> thank you. i yield back. >> gentleman from georgia you're now recognized. >> thank you. here we are. this committee continues to ignore its responsibility as we have so many issues facing our country at the border and inflation. we have got so many issues and here we are meddling with what states are doing in their election laws which is -- and the audit which the constitution grants for states to oversee all of this. i hear a lot about the big lie. let's remember the big lie was the russian hoax that we had to live with for years and going through the hoax impeachment process is over and over. i don't recall a single hearing that we had on that. yet, here, it's wrong for republicans to raise legitimate questions when we had an election that was fraught with
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irregularities and potential fraud where rules and laws for the election process were changed immediately prior to the election and it created all sorts of problems. i think all of us recognize this. our republic is based on the foundation that the people, the voters of this country must have faith and confident in our election process. yet, tens of millions of people from this last election have serious concerns as to what happened and serious concerns with potential fraud. there are thousands and thousands of affidavits of people expressing that. many of those i've personally looked at. when the people of this country lose faith in their elections, when they lose the police chief that they can enact change at
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the ballot box then we are in serious trouble. for us to have the attitude it's okay to sweep these concerns under the rug is a major disservice to our constitution and the people of this land. where ever, if ever there is a fraudulent vote, that vote in itself, by nature of what it is, suppresses the vote of a legal voter. whatever way the legal voter expressed his or her opinion at the ballot if there is a fraudulent vote on the other side, then that legal vote is suppressed. we must look at these things. we cannot sweep these under the rug. the only way to expose this or deal with this type of crisis, potential crisis in our election is to expose it and to address the problems straight up. my home state of georgia has
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become the center, the georgia general assembly has addressed the problem. subpoenas and court order finally got through with all of
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this but there are still problems. there are inconsistencies. there remain question marks with the arizona results. for example, there appears to be many ballots from individuals who had moved prior to the election. there are missing files from the election management system. we have a host of other issues where the numbers don't add up. they don't equal up to one another. that's a serious problem. there were ballot batches that were not clearly delineated. serial numbers that were missing. originals that were duplicated more than once. we already heard chain of custody issues. the question is, folks, we have got do take this whole issue of election integrity seriously.
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regardless of whether you're pleased with the outcome of the current administration and the disaster results happening in our country. election integrity is utmost importance to our country. we've got to look at this in a serious way and i see my time has expired. where there are concerns of fraud and irregularity, they must be dealt with. i encourage us to move forward with that kind of attitude. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from maryland, mr. raskin, you're now recognized. unmute, please. we can't hear you. unmute, please. >> thank you. i hope those colleague who is are saying that legislatures have a right to obtain the information they seek and that
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holding people in contempt for not complying with subpoenas is not an excuse to put them in jail but rather it's an attempt to effectuate the people's right to information will remember that this week and next week. the legislature you belong to working to get information from material witnesses to the violent insurrection that lead to the wounding and the injury of more than 140 officers and interrupted the counting of electoral college votes for the first time in american history in the most sweeping violent attack on the u.s. capitol since the war of 1812. that's a point that people should keep in mind. the second point i want to make is, you cannot bemoan the people's loss of space in elections while you're spreading information and propaganda that are eroding the people's faith in elections. now, when there are real
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problems, all of us need to act to address them. i don't think it's a fitting response to the situation to spread lies and propaganda and disinformation that are being refuted today by republican witnesses and then say we have a problem with people's faith in elections. now, madame chair, this is one of the most important hearings i've seen in my life. it's the most important thing going on in america today and i hope everybody listens to it. we have before us, top ranking, hypely qualified election officials who happen to be republicans, chairman sellers and mr. gates who have told us that the election in maricopa county was the most secure verified election in our history. they have told us that the attacks on the election are a scam to keep people angry and donating. they have said the attacks on the election are lies. they have explained to us that
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the elections in arizona were free, fair and accurate and that joe biden won by more than 45,000 votes. this was confirmed by the counties, confirmed by hand counts, confirmed by the machine counts and confirmed by the people over 90% of whom believed the lawful results. yet, still, we have people today, in this hearing trying to perpetrate the big lie which their own concocted audit itself discredited. it's just a remarkable moment and extraordinary thing for america to see here. now, chairman sellers, let me come back to you. was there any frauds or corruption materially affecting the outcome of the election in arizona in 2020? >> no.
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in fact, before we certified the election, we ask a lot of questions. we had over two hour meeting where the results of the election were presented to us. we were able to ask questions that had been presented to us by different people in our legislature and our senate. we very carefully went through everything before we canvassed and approved that election. >> you have have invoked in this remarkable onslaught which continues by donald trump and his followers against the election a quote, staggering refusal to follow the will of the people, which is the essence of democracy. how do you explain this staggering refusal to follow the will of the people? >> well, you know, i'm not sure
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how i explain it because a lot of people don't seem to realize that the board of supervisors do a lot of things other than just the elections. we are the fastest growing county in the united states and i'm so anxious to get us back onto doing the kind of things that are truly important for us to be doing rather than relitigating things and as people have asked questions about the audit and the things that have been brought up in the audit. virtually everything has already been answered. our recorder is working. >> at every level. i want to ask you one last question. much has been made of fact you're republicans. you've been lifelong republicans. all you're trying to stand up for is a free, fair and accurate election against the lies and propaganda. what if you were democrats? you can only imagine what they would be saying in that case.
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there are some people who just will not accept an accurate count in the election. my question is what does that mean for democracy if we have people who will question even after all of these audits, even after all of this investment, the final results has determined by election officials. what does that mean for democracy? >> it's very troubling because when you give people the facts and they still do not accept them. that's a problem. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman is recognized for a point of order. okay. the gentleman from ohio, mr. jordon is recognized. >> as the previous member said bemoan the results and talk about the big lie. how about the big lie. how about all the lies that democrats have told us over the last couple of years. they told us the protest in the summer of 2020 were peaceful.
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democrats told us the dossier was real. democrats told us that trump colluded with russia. we had a $30 million investigation done and said that wasn't true. democrats said the russian bounty was true. democrats told us covid didn't start in chinese lab. it didn't start there. it was a bat to a penguin to a hippo to joe rogan. democrats for four years told us the 2016 election was stolen. for four years. they can investigate that for four years. we're not allowed to question some concerns about the 2020 election for four minutes but they can investigation for four years. democrats objected to more states. mr. raskin objected to the state of florida to certifying the results from the state of florida on january 6th, 2017. we're not allowed to ask
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questions. they objected to state of alabama. alabama a state that president trump won by 30 points. they can object to alabama by we're not allowed to object to pennsylvania. in the run up to the election they changed their election law in unconstitutional fashion. we're not allowed to object to that or do an audit in arizona. give me a break. mr. becker, the chairwoman in her opening statement, the chairwoman criticized the fact that private funds were used to finance the arizona audit. do you share her criticism of that? >> i do in the sense it was untransparent. they resisted any kind of transparency. >> do you agree with the fact that facebook and mark zuckerberg gave over $400 million for the election itself? >> yes. i was getting to that.
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my organization received over $60 million from mr. zuckerberg to grant to any state that wanted to apply for it for purposes -- >> how many million? >> over $60 million that my organization granted to states. >> that's fine. >> it was all done transparentally. we put out in march of this year i'm sure you read it representative jordan. we put out a report, a full transparent report listing all of the states that applied. 23 states. some of them very blue like connecticut. some very red like south carolina. >> i got a question here. it's okay for private funds to run the election. it's not okay to be used to audit an election. is that what you're saying? >> no. i'm saying transparency is paramount. they are used for election administration.
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>> i would like transparency on how that $400 million was used to run the election and exactly what your organization did with the over 50 million, i think you said you received. mr. bennett, there were three numbers pointed out in the audit that i want to get your reaction to. first of all, is auditing a bad thing? auditing an election, is that bad thing? >> absolutely not. it's already in state law that the counties do a limited audit fp senate did a full forensic audit in this situation. >> yeah. normally we think auditing is a good thing. it's accounting. it's an understanding of what took place. why do democrats hate audits? >> you'd have to ask the democrats. i don't know why they hate audits. to me, we have an auditor general office in the state of arizona. every state agency is audited every three or four years. some annually. every one seems to support that.
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i think audits of elections are warranted as well. >> no kidding. they tried to audit the 2016 election. they're still trying to do it. they still haven't accepted the results from 2016. i have three numbers that were in the actual audit. 23,344 mail in ballots from a different address. 9,044 voters returned by a voter than sent to a voter. 9,000 with a same name and birthdate from a different county. can you tell me what your thoughts on those three numbers? >> the first number was the 23,000. my recollection is that 15,000 of those 23,000 were voters who moved within maricopa county prior to the election. that does not make them ineligible to vote in the
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county. there's probably nothing wrong with those 15,000. there was 6,000 of that 23 that was bought by the auditors to be folks to be moved out of arizona just prior to the election. if so, probably shouldn't have been allowed to vote. when they looked at the voter registration of those 6,000, it was divided equally, 2,000 republicans, about 2,000 democrats and about 2,000 no matter designation. we don't know whether or not those -- what the votes were on those ballots. >> that was 6,000. >> that was about 6,000, yes. the other two numbers that you mentioned are numbers that the auditors determined to be questionable based on their comparison of the final vote data released by maricopa county. that has given rise to questions and so as i said in my
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testimony, we welcome answers and verification of that from the county. >> what about the 5,000? >> the gentleman's time has expired and maybe we can get the answers in writing on that. the gentleman from georgia, mr. johnson is recognized for five minutes. >> thank yo for holding this very important hearing. my friends on the other side of the aisle claim that our democracy is strengthened with close elections are subjected to forensic audit by outside entities. i think that all reasonable people would agree that if maricopa county should have hired an outside entity to conduct a forensic audit of the
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maricopa county of the 2020 presidential election then doug logan and the cyber ninjas should not have been the firm entrusted with that obligation. why? because the arizona state senate knew that doug logan and his business known as the cyber ninjas had absolutely no election or auditing experience or expertise. they knew that doug logan was a well known and notorious pro-trump conspiracy extremist when they hired him to conduct the audit. doug logan and cyber ninjas were hired in a no bid process despite it being well known that doug logan was spreading false claims of election fraud on social media. the arizona senate also was well aware that doug logan was spreading qanon theories, racist qanon theory and they knew that
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doug logan was intimately involved in promoting the stop the steal movement that was key to inciting the january 6th insurrection which was a violent attack on the united states congress and an attempt to over throw the result offense the presidential election that president biden had won by the popular vote and also in an electoral college landslide. the fact the arizona senate entrusted their so-called audit to a partisan political hack like doug logan is revealing as to the true purpose of the so-called audit. the real reason why the arizona senate entrusted this process to doug logan and the cyber ninjas was to undermine public confidence in our election while providing a false justification for efforts in georgia with this infamous senate bill 202 and
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also in arizona and other states around the country to pass laws making it harder to vote and easier to partisan officials like those in the arizona senate to subvert elections. took over $7 million, they took from private organizations connected to donald trump to fund their so-called audit. america project was one of those firms run by patrick burns, the former chief executive of overstock.com who had sought to over turn the 2020 election based on unfounded conspiracy
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theories. america's future is another private firm raising money from anxious minions about him losing the election. the election having allegedly been stolen from him. america's future has collected millions of dollars from americans and they use part of that money to give it to the cyber ninjas to conduct this sham audit, which we're talking about here today. and america's future is chaired by none other than the notorious michael flynn, president trump's discredited and felonious first national security adviser, michael flynn. who has called for the military to rerun the 2020 election.
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do you believe that? >> will the gentleman yield for a question? >> not at this time. i'm speaking fast, and you'll have some time when i finish to rebuke those facts. do you disagree with anything i said? >> yes, thank you for yielding. yielding time for me to respond? thank you. yes. as public record, there were three bids for audit. you said it was a no-bid process. there were three bids. >> i knew i was going to get somebody to contest me on that. so it wasn't a no-bid contract, but the other allegations are much more severe that you choose not to contest because they are uncontestable. do you contest the fact that america project runs by patrick burns, funded this audit?
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do you contest the fact -- >> are you yielding time for me to answer? >> his time has expired. that saves you from -- yes, i bet you are. >> thank you, madam chair. >> your time has expired, sir, a long time ago. >> i yield back. >> i recognize the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. groceman, for five minutes. >> sure, it's too bad we have to have this hearing, but nevertheless, it's good to review the last election. i think absentee ballots, mail-in ballots are necessary. for military folks or people who are out of town, but nevertheless, it seems they were used more this election than ever before. i'm always worried about could somebody, maybe mr. bennett, tell us about how many mail-in ballots there were this
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election? the 2016 election? >> in maricopa county, there were about 1.9 million ballots submitted by mail out of the 2.1 million total. >> almost all were by mail. >> almost all what? sorry? >> almost all were by mail? >> about 1.9 million by mail. and a little shy of 200,000 who voted at a polling -- a voting center they now call it. >> could you compare that to four years ago? >> well that ended up being about 88% vote by mail, which is up from about 80% four years ago. >> okay. i have two concerns about vote by mail. and i'm just wondering how you dealt with it in your audit. my first concern, when you show up in person, you're right there. we know that you're the one
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voting, you show your driver's license, whatever. when you get somebody voting my mail, you don't know whether it was really that person or did somebody else get the mail and fill it out? how did you in the audit deal with the concern that maybe people were filling out a ballot but it wasn't the same person who should have maybe been filling it out? how did you deal with that? or how did the auditors deal with that. >> the auditors dealt with the original ballots after they had been either voted in person or submitted by mail. they had during the election been separated from those envelopes. so the auditors did not have the envelopes themselves. there was a subcontractor who looked at the images of the envelope affidavit signatures and there was part of his report as one of the five reports for the audit, but the auditors did not have the physical envelopes.
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>> the question i'm trying to get here. if i have a ballot from mary smith and 123 elm street, and how do i know it was really the mary smith even still there or that mary smith was the one who filled that out? did the audit do anything in that regard? >> the audit did very little in that in the sense that we did not have the envelopes. the answer to your question is in arizona, if the envelope is returned and the county election department can tell that it is a valid envelope that they had sent to a voter, there is a bar code where they can check and it pulls up the voter's information. and then there is a signature box which is the affidavit that that voter is verifying that that is their ballot inside. so in arizona we do it primarily by verifying the signature in the signature box as matching the voter registration information the county has on record. >> okay. next question i have, my other concern that i always wish we
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wouldn't have so many vote by mails, is is somebody else influencing that person. if i vote in person, you know, there is nobody next to me. there is nobody checking the box for me, there is no make sure you are going to vote for president trump here. is there any way we can check if there was undue influence of that nature? >> not to my knowledge, congressman. >> okay. so that is a flaw in the system, flaw in having too many absentee ballots and we really will never know if, you know, people were -- if it was boyfriend or girlfriend said you have to fill it out this way or -- we're never going to know that, right? >> it is hard to know that. in arizona, most counties -- well, all counties put a line underneath that signature box which invites the voter if they
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did receive assistance from someone to help them cast their ballot, a name can be entered there and a phone number for contact. >> do you feel -- maybe i'll even ask mr. sellers here of because i think part of the purpose of this hearing is to see whether we should change the election laws in play. do you feel that those are -- do you feel that there is a flaw in absentee voting in the sense that i'm not sure we could really ever know, you know, who filled out that ballot or if that person is being coached or that those flaws do not happen when they have to vote in person? >> i believe congressman, that we can make some significant improvements for voter identification purposes. you know a driver's license number or some other type of
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data that can be confirmed by the county to make sure those vote by mail ballots were cast by the voters themselves. >> gentlemen's time has expired. >> thank you. >> gentleman from vermont, mr. welch, is recognized for five minutes. >> i think the chair. there's a frustration about having these hearings, for me certainly, but probably for many of us, because we're accustomed to having the vote in the election occur, the votes to be counted, and then the candidate who got the most votes be accepted as the leader of the country. that's in dispute now. and there is two elements here that are relevant. one is the role of president trump himself and the other is the role of social media. we know that president trump used enormous energy and effort to promote this, his theory that he won the election and it was stolen.
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a call to the georgia secretary of state, the invitation to the capitol riot, all the focus who showed up on january 6th. the pressure he put on the justice department potentially threatening to fire mr. rosen and replace him with a loyalist. these lies, the assertion that he made that he won the election and it was stolen was picked up by social media. and what we now have is a situation where we're having this hearing and even today -- you didn't acknowledge president biden was the elected leader of this country, won't accept that. just state it. not a hard question to answer. >> secretary, i would like an answer -- >> republicans according to polls do not believe president biden was elected -- >> the gentleman has called order. just a moment. >> madam chair, i have been
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cited by name, and my statement has been misconstrued, and actually misstated. if he's going to continue, i would like an opportunity to respond to that at some point. >> madam chair, that is not a proper point of order. >> not a proper point of order. would the gentleman continue? >> thank you. so we have the situation where the president who is trusted by the folks who voted for him is telling them a lie that he in fact won the election. so it is not surprising majority republicans and candidates for congress on the republican party are asserting that the election was stolen. so i want to ask a few questions both about the big lie and also about media. the july 15th cyber ninja ceo doug logan claimed there were 74,000 mail-in ballots that had been counted with no record of having been sent in. they were in fact we know
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in-person early ballots. is that right mr. sellers? i want to ask you about that. >> i'm sorry. could you repeat the question? >> the mail-in ballots were claimed by president trump of to have mysteriously appeared. what in fact was the reality of that? >> there is no reality of that. the every portion of the election process was very, very carefully monitored and controlled. >> and that theory that was spread by president trump on social media to make it more difficult to do your job in just a straightforward way? >> well yes. but, you know, 88% of the people in arizona voted by mail. and that became a very important part of the efficiency of our election during a pandemic. >> thank you. and mr. ramachandran, can you
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explain what conspiracy theories and disinformation about the election, something that has now pervaded our society, is so dangerous for our democracy? >> thank you so much for that question. conspiracy theories are dangerous for our democracy because they lay the groundwork for legitimiing future actions to scam the voters. and these contribute to that disinformation and those lies because insinuations are made. they are not backed up by proper evidence. and then they get picked up and amplified as you have described on social media. so, for instance, i mentioned about one of the people hired by the arizona senate to look at ballot envelope images in this review, he conflated the envelope images with actual ballots.
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so he made a presentation to the arizona senate which he falsely stated each of these voters submitted two ballots when he was describing these images that he was looking at in the data file. promptly, the same day, that statement was picked up by arizona state senator wendy rogers, and which she said there were double votes or duplicate vote, that sort of thing and on twitter insinuated there was fraud. so that's the relationship between the sham reviews and this disinformation campaign. >> so final question. in addition to having whoever the candidates accept the outcome of the election, is it time for us to have some rules that apply to social media with respect to the spreading of false information? that's to you. >> thank you for that question. in a report that the brennan center published a little bit earlier this year, describing attacks on election officials,
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we made a number of recommendations for the problem of disinformation on social media. one of those recommendations is for social media companies to amplify the true information that is provided by trusted election officials so that they're not sort of drowned out by all this misinformation. >> thank you, i yield back. >> the gentenmgentenminalman's expired. i yield to the gentleman from kentucky, mr. comer. mr. comer, you're now recognized. >> thank you madam chair. if there were no irregularities, as the democrats on the committee have indicated today, with the past election, i wonder if the democrats on the committee would take back all the conspiracy theories that they spread about the u.s. postal service sabotaging
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absentee ballots. because that was a mainstay in this hearing, in this committee for many months prior to the election. but then poof, once the absentee ballots went overwhelmingly for mr. biden it seems there is not a peep. i wonder if the democrats on this committee, madam chair, will take that back, and would they issue a formal apology to all of the postal workers and the postal unions who were very offended by the accusations that they would sabotage an election. >> this is a very serious conversation about the integrity of our elections and you are trying to change the subject. and i am focused on this. >> a subject about the irregularities in the election. but madam chair, obviously i'm going to take that as a no, again, i think it's terrible what the democrats on this committee assumed that the
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postal workers would do to the election. with that, i yield back to mr. gosar. >> would you yield for response? >> you can have time if somebody will yield to you. i yield the balance of my time to mr. gosar from arizona. >> mr. biggs is recognized. he means mr. biggs. >> i think he yielded to gosar but i'll take brief opportunity to caught into question the gentleman from out of town who said i misengaged the colloquy i was engaged in. that colloquy, what i said very clearly was as to the state of arizona the production of the, and the outcome of the audit, i don't know who won in arizona because there are lot of questions and anomalies that have arisen through the audit that were not answered. so with that i yield back to mr. comer who i think yielded to gosar. thank you madam chair.
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>> the gentleman yields back. and i have recognized ms. bush. >> madam chair. >> still time. >> yeah there is still time and i was yielding to mr. comer who originally yielded to mr. gosar. but you gave it to me so i took it. >> i have three minutes remaining to mr. gosar. >> mr. gosar, you are recognized. mr. gosar? is he on? >> you are muted, paul. >> please unmute. >> can you hear me now? >> yes. >> okay. mr. gates, i wanted to hear, i think you stated that county board of supervisors really tried to work with senator pham, is that true? >> my apologies, congressman. my testimony was that we
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received the subpoena from the state senate. we -- >> i know. but you -- i -- short amount of time here. >> yes. >> you tried to work with them. that's a simple question. yes or no. >> i believe that we tried to work with them, yes. >> so mr. bennett, in compliance with that -- those subpoenas, it was said that everything was given to the audit team. can you discuss the routers and signature envelopes that to this day have not been given? in fact, they instructed them to be able to validate and have more information for the audit. can you address that? >> yes, as to the routers, i was told personally by one of the staff in the county attorney's office that they would provide those routers when they
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delivered the ballots and machines. when that did not occur, i was told in person that they would provide virtual access to the routers within the next couple of weeks. when that didn't happen, we were then told there was a problem within the county to secure sheriff's department social security numbers and county health records and we would not have access to them at all. i believe in the last few weeks the senate and county have come to an agreement to jointly appoint a special master to allow the routers and the logs and all the other things to be looked at as far as the internet connectivity. as to the ballot envelopes, was that your second question, mr. gosar? >> yes. >> to my recollection, the ballot envelopes were not on the january subpoena. but the images of the ballots were and those were eventually -- >> my understanding is the court
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order from the judge said all information pertaining to the election was mandated from the county to the oversight of the senate. is that not true? >> i was not at that hearing so i would defer to yourself or others that may know better than i. >> i understand. you know, this wasn't a lose/lose situation. it was a win/win situation because trust is a series of promises kept. what better way to keep up the trust in your voters is by being transparent. that's why i find it very disheartening from the actions of the county board of supervisors, fighting to keep it away. so -- >> the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlelady from missouri, ms. bush, is recognized. ms. bush.
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>> i thank you, madam chair, for convening this hearing. although the audit in arizona failed to uncover any evident of widespread fraud, it was successful in achieving its bigger goal, to pave the way for election subversion laws that are spreading across this country. we have all talked a lot about voter suppression in recent months as the house has considered historic legislation, but the threat of election subversion has received far less attention. i would like hear from our experts, and i know we're going over this again, just to be clear. having a very clear understanding for me what election subversion is and how this audit has fueled it and what can we done to address it. ms. ramachandran, can you explain what election subversion is so we can know the difference from voter suppression. >> sure, and thank you for that question. i'm sure different people would have slightly different definitions of all these terms, but to me, election subversion
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is what occurs when someone tries to change the outcome of an election or manipulate the outcome of an election that does not reflect the true will of the voters. and of course, suppressing votes is one way of doing that. >> thank you. how has the cyber ninjas' partisan audit laid the groundwork for more election subversion laws, if you could answer that? >> thank you for the question. the cyber ninjas review laid the groundwork for these laws because they have made insinuations of fraud that we've seen repeated here today actually since they applied that perhaps some voters had voted more than once in multiple counties. they implied some voters who had moved from their residence and insinuated they were no longer eligible to vote had voted.
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they implied that the counties were not keeping up the list maintenance properly despite their membership in the database that the other witness mentioned. and through all those implications, they justify future legislation that would propose undermining the will of the voters. fortunately, it did not pass, but there was a bill proposed in arizona that would have permitted the state legislature to pick election officials that were not voted for. this is a continuation unfortunately of these two. >> yes, yes. thank you for bringing that up. the brennan center has found that in this year alone, more than 200 bills containing election subversion provisions have been introduced across the country, and 24 of those bills have been enacted into law.
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how are these laws being used to subvert the legitimate election results? we know they're extremely dangerous, so can you go a little further with that? >> thank you so much for that question. i do have to apologize, it's a large effort to track all these laws across the states, and i am certainly not up on that effort, but i am familiar with my colleagues' work and the fact that there is a whole host of laws that make it harder to vote that have been popping up all over the country. >> yes. and as you brought up, two months into the cyber ninjas' partisan audit in arizona, hb-720 was introduced on may 24th, 2021. so could you please explain what impact this particular bill would have on voters in arizona, particularly black, brown, and indigenous voters?
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>> thank you so much for that question. if that legislation were to ever pass in arizona, the impact would be severe because the voters would be at risk of having their choices not respected in the election for president. there would be a risk that the state legislature would attempt to elect a different slate of electors and the slate that receives the most votes merely because they did not like the outcome of the election, and obviously, that would mean the disenfranchisement of millions of voters in arizona if they would ever to come to fruition? >> this would allow the same legislature to override the popular vote in presidential elections up through inauguration day, which is a blatant display of white supremacy. it's vital if the people who run our elections do not believe in counting people's votes, it is clear the threat of election subversion is present and grave.
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we must continue our oversight work to expose this audit and present anti-democratic election subversion laws from spreading any further. thank you, and i yield back. >> the gentleman from ohio, mr. gibbs, is recognized. mr. gibbs. >> madam chairman, chairwoman, i ask unanimous consent for a letter i sent to you and the committee from myself to be entered in the record. >> without objection. >> thank you. in this letter, i talk about disappointments of this committee has reported under your leadership. congressional oversight is one of the most important responsibilities of the congress, and we're responsible for investigating alleged instances of poor administration, arbitrary and capricious behavior, abuse, waste, dishonestly, and fraud. since the beginning of the biden administration, our country has been in crises and failures of executive leadership, yet you have not allowed our committee to conduct oversight on these pressing issues. we have not examined the policies and decisions which led
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to the southern border crisis, over 500% up from last year. recently, rodney scott wrote a letter to the senate and house leadership saying laws have been given to the biden administration from civil service staff from customs, border patrol, on border security, and every recommendation has been rejected. last week, the civil rights and civil liberties subcommittee started part six of its hearing confronting violent white supremacy, but you have yet to hold a hearing on the summer of violence by antifa, associated groups in which dozens of people were killed or injured. over 162,000 military personnel were -- you continue to waste this committee's time. a week after the house of representatives passed the so-called women's health protection act, legislation to
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expand the ability to kill a baby in the womb was born. the supreme court has the right to decide state laws and it's already set to review the 15-week abortion ban law passed in mississippi. finally, in the ongoing national security in afghanistan, it's unbelievable that we have yet to hold a public, public hearing, including with secretary of state antony blinken, and secretary of defense lloyd austin. american people deserve to have those responsible for the disastrous events that transpired in afghanistan with a loss of 13 of our service members held accountable. the senate working to address any of these crises, you have decided to waste this committee's time by holding a hearing trying to bring in private contractors, fulfilling a contractual obligation which they were hired by the arizona state senate. the audit was conducted in a timely manner at minimal cost of taxpayers in arizona. this is compared to the
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congressional democrats' spending two years perpetuating false accusations of election irregularities in the 2016 election while your special council spent nearly $32 million investigating president trump where they found no evidence of collusion with russia. i would add in recent declassified documents, they knew from the beginning, nearly the beginning, that was a fraud that was laid on the american people and the allegations were untrue. i imploes you to stop using this committee to divide this country further and instead work urgently to address the issues caused by the current administration. mr. bennett, in your testimony, you talked about the audit and the further results and other things, not just the numbers. you togged about missing or unmatched signatures on envelopes. missing serial numbers, matching duplicate ballots and you also
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talked in your testimony about the lack of cooperation or willingness for the local board of election officials to work in the audit to get these answers. the question is, mr. bennett, did you get any answers, how many? what kind of numbers are we looking at, missing or unmatched signatures, missing serial numbers, voter registration abnormalities? mr. bennett. >> i would say that the audit did not receive those answers, but the audit report has gone to the senate. the senate has forwarded that on to the state attorney general. who i think is going to be working through his election integrity unit directly with the county to get answers to those questions. for example, i believe the county reported that they rejected about 1400 envelopes for lack of signatures. the subcontractor that worked for the audit thought there could be as many as 3,500 to 4,000 either missing signatures
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or just scribbled. those kinds of things will be worked out, i think, between the attorney general's office and the county as to whether they have justification for the envelopes that they opened and processed or not. >> and i asked for questions, especially in closely held elections and how audit review is a good thing going forward. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. the gentlelady from florida, ms. wasserman schultz is now recognized. >> thank you, madam chair. i want to thank all our witnesses for appearing before the committee. given the election expertses are here, i want to discuss cyber ninjas, but first, how would you respond to representative gosar and mr. bennett's allegations of the county hasn't cooperated with the auditors, and why were you concerned about turning over
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routers to cyber ninjas? >> the issue of the routers is we had a grave concern from our sheriff and others at the county level that if we were to turn those routers over, it basically would have provided a road map for even a decent hacker, to get into our system. so one, there were significant cybersecurity concerns. secondly, this would have basically brought down our operations at the county, and we are the fourth largest county in the country. we have to provide services to our residents every day. and then additionally, there would have been a cost in putting that network back together. that's why we came to an agreement, as mr. bennett mentioned, with president pham, and in that agreement, the president signed it saying that the county has fully complied with the subpoena. but just so that we wouldn't have these cybersecurity concerns, we have jointly agreed on former congressman john
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shaddock serving as the special master. cyber ninjas can ask questions about the routers and what went on there. and the congressman will consult with i.t. experts and they'll be able to provide answers to those questions. >> seems like a pretty basic principle of election integrity that the keeper of the routers and the protector of the integrity of our elections shouldn't be turning over the routers to a private organization that has absolutely no expertise in conducting audits. and that's really the premise of the rest of my questions. mr. becker, can you briefly describe how the method cyber ninjas used to count ballots differs from standard preern pr and really, what was the acceptable error rate, and what error rate is typically permissible in standard audit procedure. >> thank you, congresswoman. in general, the way audits are conducted, there isn't a
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established set of best practices and these were done extensively in many states, including in arizona in 2020, is that generally, there is a statistical random sampling of the ballots taken. they're reviewed by nonpartisan or bipartisan teams and observed by observers from all of the parties in the campaigns while the process is going on, and those tallies are then checked against the official tallies. this process is entirely transparent from start to finish, and very importantly, it is designed and defined well in advance of the election before anybody knows what the outcome of the election is. georgia is a great example of that, where they literally counted every single paper ballot by hand, first time they had paper ballots in georgia in two decades. when you're spinning ballots around on colored lazy susans, being observed by people who don't have adequate training, who have no experience in elections, where there are severe limitations on the ability of observers from across
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the political spectrum to view them, you're going to have significant problems with that process. the error rate is going to be extremely high, yet even with a high error rate and with an invalid process, what we saw was they could determine -- they reached -- they found no evidence that indicated that maricopa county's process yielded the wrong results. in fact, again, i would say this doesn't confirm the results because it was unnecessary. it was already confirmed under arizona law in advance of the election. >> thank you, an audit when run well verified the results of an election and insured voters their votes had been counted, but this circus didn't meet those standards because it was a gaslighting exercise funded by dark money groups who want to promote the big lie and undermine confidence in our election. this conspiratorial world view also affecs republicans in my home state of florida where a pending bill would conduct a
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forensic audit of the 2020 election, but only in counties biden won. this is puzzling given the noting trump lackee, ron desantis, seeks praise on the election process. thee so-called audits aren't about unearthing facts. they're ginning up justification for oppressive voting rights that prevent black and brown people from access to the voting booth and help republicans to possibly usurp future elections. these are democracy corrosion exercises, nothing more. so thank you very much for your testimony. and i hope the committee remains continued, and i trust we will, continued to election integrity, not promoting the big lie, as our colleagues have been doing since the end of the election. i yield back the balance of my time. >> ingentleman from louisiana, mr. higgins, is recognized for five minutes. mr. higgins. >> thank you, madam chair.
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how dare we. how dare we. how dare sovereign states and free americans challenge the oppressive omniscient authority of the all powerful national democratic machine. how dare we exercise our legal and constitutional rights to question irregularities of an incredibly significant election. we have thousands of affidavits signed by american citizens regarding very suspicious election irregularities in the days and weeks leading up to the 2020 election and specific shocking observations of electoral sabotage on election day itself. but my colleagues summarily dismissed the sworn affidavits of american citizens as liars and conspiracy theorists, yet an illegal alien crossing our border with a scripted plea for
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asylum says to a judge, he's seen as a paragon of virtue. the 2020 presidential election was indeed compromised. we don't know how much because investigations take time. yet as of january 20th, 2021, joe biden was indeed our inaugurated president. listen good. on january 20th, 2025, we're going to fix that. and democrats will have an opportunity to deal with the real and newly inaugurated president donald j. trump, again, and i have no doubt that my democratic colleagues across the aisle will object. madam chair, i yield the remainder of my time to my friend, colleague, and gentleman from arizona, mr. biggs. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. you know, i'm straining, i know
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this is going to go back, mr. gates. i'm going it tell you this, bob christy of the a.p., you know who bob it and i know who bob is. on february 5th, said that the county board of supervisors asked the court friday to quash a state senate subpoena. we can continue that conversation off line, but we got so much more to go through. i'm spraining, but that just bugged me. i want to make sure we got that out somewhere. so mr. bennett, what's the standard error rate on audits run by maricopa county? >> well, in arizona state law, when you do a hand count, it's a very limited hand count, and that's the audit we're talking about here. >> that they claimed that they did. >> yes, for example, in this election, the total number of ballots processed by maricopa county ended up being processed in 10,341 batches. most of them at 200 per batch.
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as the first mail-in returns were coming in before election, before being counted, 52 batches were set aside as potential batches to hand count verify. 26 of those 52 were randomly selected through a process that is stipulated in state law. and it was those 26 batches totaling about 5,000 mail-in ballots that were hand-counted and compared with the tally by the election machines that maricopa had run, and in this election, their hand-count audit, as it's called in arizona, matched exactly. they said there was no difference between the machine count of those 5,000 ballots and the hand count done by bipartisan team. but that's 26 batches of ballots out of 10,341. it's very front loaded and not a
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random sample of all 10,341 batches. >> in essence, i guess that's part of the essence of this. it's not even a random sample. >> correct. so that changes the nature of what you're looking at. you're looking at with a full forensic audit, you're trying to give it everything you can, yes. >> so, and what i'm trying to understand is, if i understand right, there were a chain of custody issues and other statutoryyou mentioned in your opening statement. i'm trying to understand if my colleagues, not my colleagues, but my friends over here from arizona are saying they're okay with those laws, those statutory violations. i'll just -- you have your mask off so i guess you're ready to go so i'll ask you. are you okay with those statutory violations? >> i frankly don't believe there were any statutory violations. we -- >> you don't think chain of custody, you don't think that
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was a violation at all? >> we were very, very careful with our chain of custody. i can't speak for what happened after it left our chain of custody because the arizona senate signed off accepting responsibility once we delivered the ballots -- >> but the testimony today is you had chain of custody problems that were inherent in what you delivered. you didn't see that? >> i disagree with that. >> i yield back. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from maryland, mr. sarbanes, is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair, for doing this very important hearing. there's two things that should make us really nervous about this fishing expedition, this sham audit that was conducted by cyber ninjas. one is that cyber ninjas doesn't really have the qualifications to conduct this kind of an audit in an authentic fashion, so
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that's obviously a source of real concern. the other is how this thing was funded. and i know a couple of my colleagues have already referred to it, but i would like to go into that a little more. we know the arizona senate only agreed to pay cyber ninjas i think $150,000 for the audit, which was far short of what was ultimately needed to conduct this -- this thing. the second was the republican party in arizona went out to raise funds from dark money groups with ties to president trump and ties to the big lie narrative. and they raised $6.7 million from those groups. which was 98% of the cost of the audit overall. ms. ramachandran, does the public have visibility into the donors who contributed to these
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501(c)(4) groups? >> thank you so much for that question. no, there's been minimal transparency into the donors. there's been a small amount of disclosure from mr. rogan about some of the top groups, the top c4s you mentioned. as far as who in turn has donated to those groups, i'm not aware of any publicity on that front. >> and are legitimate election audits usually funded by dark money groups? why or why not? >> thank you. legitimate election audits are usually performed by election officials with members of the political parties present, observing, and the meeting open to the public. they're not very costly. they are generally funded from within the budget for the elections office, and it would be ideal for them to continue to be funded in that way.
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i know that in the act, congress has called for limited audits and has also called for appropriations to help support election officials and moving towards those audits. >> thanks very much. that's how it ought to operate. you know, if you look at some of these groups that funded the audit, the sham audit, you have got a nonprofit chaired by former national security adviser for donald trump, michael flynn. that was a million dollars coming in from that group. former trump lawyer sydney powell's group provided over half a million dollars to support this inquiry that was conducted. patrick burn, we heard this before from my colleague, congressman hank johnson, prominent businessman, supporter of president trump, heads a group that contributed over $3.4 million to this audit.
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all three of these individuals, the ones i just mentioned, by the way, in december, last december, ms. powell, mr. flynn, mr. burn, took part in an oval office meeting where they reportedly encouraged president trump to take steps to overturn the election. including by seizing dominion voting machines. so ms. ramachandran, would you question the impartiality of any audit that was primarily funded by groups headed by three individuals? >> absolutely, i would question the impartiality, and i would add that objectivity is a minimal standard required for an audit to provide confidence for the public. >> i have to say, you told reporters, it doesn't matter who paid for it when he was referring to the audit. i disagree with that completely. it matters a great deal.
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when your salary and your security and 98% of the entire audit is paid for by people who want to overturn the election and maybe even a losing candidate themself, as we know donald trump was interested in getting in there and supporting these efforts. that should make everyone question this impartiality and the results. i'm glad you mentioned the freedom to vote act. this is another reason why we have to pass it. to shine a light on this dark money in politics, require all organizations involved in political activity to disclose their donors. the current system allows state money contributor special interests to hide their sources of their political spending. we have to stick to that, we need to do it for the public and to lift up the credibility of our political system so passing the freedom to vote act would certainly help that. thanks very much, madam chair. i yield back my time. >> gentleman yields back. gentleman from south carolina, mr. norman, is now recognized.
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mr. norman. >> thank you, chair maloney. i have heard a couple statements made, the fact that undermining democracy, and i have heard my good friend mr. raskin say this is the most important hearing. the hearings that we should be having now is a crisis on the border. the polls show people are fed up with the 8 million immigrants that are coming in here intentionally by the democrats. we undermine democracy by our military leaving afghanistan, having 13 marines die, leaving americans behind. we undermine democracy by tend pretending the stack the supreme court, and it goes on and on. i wish we would have that. the one good thing about this hearing is crystal clear, democrats do not want voter id. they just don't want it, because it gives them a chance to do the mail-in ballots, which can be altered.
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it's showing it in this testimony that's given. i would like to yield the balance of my time to congressman barr. >> andy? >> yeah. >> you mean biggs, not barr? >> biggs. sorry. >> that hurts, but it hurts mr. barr far worse than it hurts me. sorry about that. thank you, mr. norman. appreciate that very much. i'm going to direct a few of these questions. i'm going to ask the arizona folks here these questions. i'll start and we'll try to work on down. is the standard practice to delete files off a server after an election, mr. bennett? >> i hope not. >> so mr. gates, will you agree with that? >> i would say that it is appropriate to maintain files. that's exactly what we did. we deleted the -- the deleted files that had been discussed, they were archived.
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>> so you admit you guys did delete, maricopa county did delete files off the server after the election. >> that are archived. >> yeah, so when you released these servers and this information to the auditors to begin with, they didn't have access to those archived files at first. is that fair to say? >> they did not subpoena those, that's correct. >> okay, so you didn't feel obligated to turn that over then to them? >> we responded to the subpoena. >> okay. mr. bennett, you respond to that. >> i find it frankly laughable to suggest that a county in response to a subpoena could say we will delete files from the hard drives and materials we give to the auditors because we have those files archived on data that we did not give the
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auditors when the subpoena said to turn over all the records related to the election. >> yeah, that's the way i read the subpoena, more broadly than the county read it, for sure. so your twitter account mentions the purging of the 2020 election database in the beginning of february is a standard practice. can you please confirm for me that's what you do for all elections, after all elections? >> i cannot confirm that for you today, but we can certainly get you that answer, congressman. >> thank you. mr. chairman, can you confirm that today or not? >> i really can't confirm that either today. i just know that because there is limited space on these servers, when you have to run another election, and you have to make room for the additional election data. >> so was there additional -- was there still -- let me rephrase this. if that is the standard practice, i don't think you guys
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are saying you know for sure, but the chairman intimated that's the case, can you explain to me why data was still present for prior elections on the database in and of itself? >> yeah, again, i don't have an answer to that question, but we'll certainly get you an answer for it, congressman. >> okay. all right. i appreciate if you would get me that information. >> i do think it's important that our recorder has suggested that he will be answering every question in a timely fashion. >> that's the same recorder that campaigned that he was incomitant and called him a criminal and he was the guy running the 2020 election, and you hired someone to oversee him because you guys didn't trust him as well. that's the same guy? >> yeah, i wouldn't put it that way exactly. but what we did was we did have
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statutory -- as you know, congressman, boards of supervisors have responsibility for election day operations. and we took that back so we would have four republicans and two democrats overseeing the 2020 election. we thought that was important. >> i yield back. thanks. >> the gentleman from california, mr. ro khanna, is now recognized. ro khanna. >> thank you. thank you, madam chair. mr. bennett, you testified that the most significant finding of the audit is that the hand count of the physical ballots very closely matches the county's official results in the president and u.s. senate races. that finding is frustrating to many who expected the audit to prove a different election result. i appreciate your honesty in that, so i wanted to get a few things under oath, and please be
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brief since my time is limited. mr. bennett, given your statement, the cyber ninjas' hand count show joe biden had won more votes than donald trump in maricopa county? >> yes. if i heard your question correctly, did the audit show that mr. biden got more votes in maricopa county than mr. trump? >> yes. >> the audit shows that. >> do you have any reason to believe today that joe biden did not win the state of arizona? >> not other than the questioned ballots, question envelopes. >> do you think he's the legitimately elected president? >> yes. >> so when president trump says we won the arizona forensic audit yesterday at a level that you wouldn't believe, instead of
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president biden, he didn't win arizona, he lost arizona based on the forensic audit, that is false, correct? i'm not asking you to -- i want to make sure the people understand what the record is, that is not a true statement, correct? >> i would not characterize it that way. i was asked by the senate to be the liaison to the maricopa audit. the maricopa audit found that the results were very similar to what maricopa county found in the official results. >> so anyone including the former president, saying the audit, that donald trump won the arizona election, that would be a wrong and false interpretation of the audit, correct? >> i would say that he's probably making that statement based on his opinion of other things in the audit. i can't -- >> it's not your characterization of the audit. >> correct. >> i don't think we have to have a post modern version of truth. there is truth and falsehood,
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and i don't think everyone gets to make their own interpretation. let me ask you this. is it true that cyber ninjas found no bamboo fibers or watermarks placed by the trump campaign on paper ballots and suspicious polls that show that ballots were fake or evidence of conspiracy theories about changing the ballots that have been circulated online? >> did they do what? >> they saw no bamboo fibers or water marks? >> this is one of the conspiracy theories. >> to my knowledge, i never witnessed any evidence that they were specifically looking for bamboo fibers. >> i appreciate that. the report says that there was no evidence that the paper ballots had been tampered with, correct? >> i did witness on the floor of the audit that there were some paper ballots that were of concern as to whether they were authentic. so to say that none were i think
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would be incorrect. >> not that were materially affecting your judgment to your earlier testimony that you thought president biden legitimately got more votes than donald trump, correct? >> it would not change that outcome, correct. >> so far, cyber ninjas has refused to provide any meaningful documents to this committee, and it turned over just four documents despite a court order. you seem like someone who believes in the rule of law. do you agree that cyber ninjas should obey court orders and requests from congress. >> yes. >> let me ask you this, mr. bennett, because we come from different parties, different views, but you seem like you're trying to do a decent job in terms of the election. and it's all we have, our democracy. and you have people really concerned about whether the democratic system is going to continue in the robust way we have had for 200 years.
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let me ask you just two final questions. and you can answer them both. one, do you think that there would ever be grounds for a state legislature to overturn the votes if a candidate for president wins the popular vote in the state, or do you think that's going down a dangerous road? and two, do you think it's healthy, put aside either republican or whether you voted for trump or biden, do you think all these conspiracy theories are healthy for our democracy? we have a legitimate president, and we have half the country saying he's not elected president, does that help america stay a great nation in the 21st century? >> let me answer your second question first, congressman. i do not consider it healthy for the number of references that have occurred even in this hearing alone that this was a
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hyperpartisan audit. the first thing that i did after being asked by the state senate to be the liaison was to call the state democrat chairman and ask that a co-chair -- a co-liaison be assigned who was a democrat. i was refused four times. i called several prominent democrats personally, all who either refused or told me after checking with state democrat leaders they should -- >> i don't mean to interrupt, but i'm not trying to go at whether the audit was done, i'm saying you have some credibility -- >> the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman may answer him in writing. the gentleman from texas, mr. sessions, is recognized for five minutes. mr. sessions. >> madam chairwoman, thank you very much. mr. gates, i am interested in going back to some conversations of several members -- several
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members back. when an audit was done and prepared, did you follow the same procedure that under law would have been have been requi the time a ballot came in and you looked at the envelope and then placed that to make sure it was the correct person and looked at that i understand is eight or nine different characteristics to it to ensure accuracy? >> so which audit were you talking about, congressman? >> okay, so let me go back. at the time that maricopa county did their audit or the audit
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that was performed by your county whether that's you or the county, did you follow the same procedures in looking at the law that would have been followed by the people running the election? >> i want to make sure everyone understands the audits we did. we ran two audits. we authorized two audits that were run by certified voting technology companies. now, you know, as mr. bennett referenced, at that point you don't get to have any examination of the envelopes because the ballots have already come out. in fact, the audits we did were more focused on the machines themselves, on whether there was malware attached to the machines, whether there had been hacking, whether the machines had been connected to the internet because there's been a lot of questions about that. so i want to be clear that the nature of the audit, the two
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audits we authorized didn't involve the full process because, frankly, you're unable to do that. because when the ballot comes out of the envelope, it's separated. does that answer your question? >> well, it's your answer. i think you're trying to help me. what i'm suggesting to you is there a process that is normally followed by the election administrators or workers at the time they receive a mail-in ballot? is there a process? >> no, there absolutely is a process. i apologize. so there's been some discussion of voter i.d. as it relates to mail-in ballots. that's something as an elected official i've been concerned with over the years. and we currently have signature verification, and that's what happens when the ballot comes in. when the mail-in ballot comes in it has a signature on it. and the signature --
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>> was that process followed in the audits that you did? >> so, again, i want to be clear. that particular portion of the signature verification was not part of our audit because the ballot had come out and sprsed from the envelope itself. >> okay, and i want to come back to that. i've got a question. was there at any point in early voting an indication that was given by election officials that there would be no verification or audit process like what was given in georgia that was given by election officials to say to people all the ballots will be counted? >> i'm not aware of any information given from maricopa
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county that we would not do the normal signature verification on mail-in ballots and voter i.d. check as for election day voters. >> so you believe then that there was no information given, public information that would have swayed anyone to think that the full -- what are there eight or nine different verification steps by a mail-in ballot person who's processing that. they check a number of things. >> correct, yes. i'm not aware of -- go ahead. >> no, you answered the question. i've got 10 seconds left. mr. becker, there was a reference a minute ago to internet. is there any states that were allowed an internet process to be utilized or said another way,
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would it be against the law in arizona for the internet to have been used? >> so i have no information at all that arizona which has been using the same verified paper processes for years with extensive mail balloting as secretary bennett pointed out, that there was anything connected to the internet. the most extensive use of even a small number of ballots that may have been transmitted over the internet that i know in west virginia using a pilot program there to allow military and overseas voters to transmit their ballots over the internet. >> so during the process of early voting and day of elections in your opinion you said the internet by and large except for west virginia would not have been allowed by law? >> i'm not as much of an expert on arizona law as the gentleman i'm sitting here with, but what i'll tell you i know arizona election procedures extensively.
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i've not seen any evidence that did exist or could exist. >> the gentleman's time has expired. now the gentle lady from michigan, ms. tlaib, is recognized. >> thank you so much, chairwoman. thank you so much to all of you being here. i think this is so incredibly important. i know in my community we witnessed first-hand the radical backers of the forever impeached president to attempt to prevent votes being counted in one of the most beautiful blackest cities in the country, the city of detroit. but we all know it didn't stop there. ever since donald trump was voted out of office he and his allies led on the ground by arizona state senator senate president karen sam have fought to turn arizona into the poster child for their efforts to push false election fraud claims that failed elsewhere. before their attempts,
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chairwoman, to overturn the election before it even started, i believe the senator told the people of arizona it would be, a quote, big step in returning trust and confidence in our election process. again, when the report was released she said, i quote, this is not about trump, this is not about overturning the election. but you all should know as early as december 2020 she bragged that she was working with rudy giuliani and the president to get, quote, an audit which in detroit we call that a voter suppression tactic, the so-called forensic audit in arizona. supervisor, do you believe the so-called audit was about, quote, restoring trust and confidence in our election process? >> so i believe that some of the people who were involved in this, you know, some good volunteers who got involved i think that really was what they were focused on. but, unfortunately, i do believe that a lot of people who led
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this, that was not their major focus was restoring confidence. instead i think it was more on raising doubts. and i think we're seeing that again today quite frankly. >> yeah, they misled so many of our american people that really fell for it. chairman sellers, was it your impression he was willing to work with you to conduct a fair and impartial so-called audit of the votes in maricopa county to help restore confidence in the elections process, yes or no? >> i can't give you a yes or no answer. she and i had a lot of private meetings to try to resolve some of the issues that were coming up. and early on especially i truly believed that her approach was to simply say there are questions from a number of our constituents that we need answers for, and i said i'm willing to work with you to get
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those. >> well, we all know joe biden actually won by more votes in arizona than initially reported after it was done. is that correct? >> well, that's what -- what the results from this -- >> yeah, he won more votes. is that correct? at the end it showed he won more votes than it was initially reported in arizona. is that correct? >> i can't verify the results that the cyber ninjas got in their report. >> okay. secretary bennett, is that correct? >> yes, the hand count done by the audit increased -- >> hand count. remember not internet, y'all. hand count. >> the hand count done by the audit reflected an increase in 350 votes as the margin won in
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maricopa county. >> yet after the report was published the former forever impeached president issued a statement claiming and i quote and i think my colleague said, it's clear in arizona they must decertify the election. you heard the numbers. it's a disgrace. we won the arizona forensic audit yesterday on a level you wouldn't believe. make no mistake democracy is dying in america, folks. fascism is here. we all must stand up against it. and we all -- it's so incredibly important and i'm asking, urging my colleagues especially my republican colleagues to reject this lunacy, these complete lies, and we have to be committed to our democracy. i'll end with two questions very quickly, mr. becker. first to partisan attempts to overturn the will of the people like people in arizona and restoring faith and confidence in america's elections. >> no, we're seeing them having
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disastrous consequences, and it appears -- >> absolutely. and i'm sorry because i only have a second. do you believe efforts like this lay the groundwork for states to pass laws that intentionally make it more difficult for some people to vote? >> i don't know what the intentions are, but the effects of this are actually it is deterring many people from voting particularly many republicans it appears because they're believing a lot of these lies about falsehoods about the integrity of the process. >> thank you so much. and i yield madam chair. >> time has expired, and at the request of a witness we'll take a very brief bathroom break. the committee stands in recess for three minutes.

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