Kelli Ward Gets Cease-and-Desist Letter Over Election Tech Fraud Claims

Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward
Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward Zee Peralta
Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, has received a cease-and-desist letter from attorneys representing Dominion Voting Systems over her claims that the company's voting technology was rigged.

Ward and over 100 other people were sent "cease-and-desist notices and warnings to preserve documents" related to claims that Dominion's technology was biased against President Donald Trump, according to the Washington Post, which broke the story on Monday. MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell, who recently visited Trump at the White House, also received a warning of "imminent" legal action and a demand to make a "public apology."

Staff with Dominion Voting Systems provided New Times with a copy of the cease-and-desist letter that was sent to Ward on December 28 2020.

"Dominion is prepared to defend its good name and set the record straight. Litigation regarding these issues is imminent," the letter states. "This letter is your formal notice to cease and desist taking part in defaming Dominion and to preserve all documents and communications that may be relevant to Dominion’s pending legal claims."

Dominion Voting Systems, which sells electronic voting hardware and software that was utilized by some local governments during the 2020 presidential election, has become the target of conservatives — including Trump himself — who claim, without evidence, that it was rigged against Trump and switched votes to Democratic President-Elect Joe Biden. In response, the company has sued the Trump campaign, the campaign's surrogates, and conservative media outlets, alleging defamation. (Another election technology company, Smartmatic, has also issued legal threats.) Both Fox News and Newsmax have already issued on-air clarifications over their outlet's past claims of rigged voting technology.

Ward, who frequently reiterates baseless claims that the election was stolen from Trump, and who launched unsuccessful lawsuits that challenged Arizona's election results, has also taken direct aim at Dominion Voting Systems. In a video titled "DOMINION EXPOSED" posted by the Arizona GOP's official twitter account in early December 2020, Ward alleged that Dominion's software changed "6,000 votes" from Trump to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden in Michigan, a state that Biden won.

Zachery Henry, a spokesperson for the Arizona Republican Party, did not respond to New Times' request for comment.

The Arizona Republican Party as of late has frequently peddled in conspiracy theories and extreme rhetoric. After the election, the party's official twitter account called for its followers to give their lives in the effort to overturn the 2020 election results. Both Ward and the Arizona GOP have been promoting the false claim that antifascist activists caused the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on January 6.

Maricopa County election officials have long utilized Dominion technology. But the conspiracy theory regarding the role of Dominion's voting technology in the 2020 election has prompted Republican lawmakers in the Arizona State Senate to issue a subpoena for Maricopa County's election data and hardware. Maricopa County officials, who have adamantly defended the integrity of the county's election results, are fighting the subpoena.

Update: More information about the cease-and-desist letter sent to Ward was added to this article shortly after publication.
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Josh Kelety is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. Previously, he worked as a reporter for the Inlander and Seattle Weekly.
Contact: Josh Kelety