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Some Arizona Senators filed a motion to dismiss a public record relating to an independent full audit of ballots cast in Maricopa County in the 2020 election which was, however, vehemently rejected by a judge. 

The watchdog group American Oversight filed the lawsuit. They sought the records of communications between Senate officials and external firms carrying on the audit, including the Florida-based cybersecurity firm called Cyber Ninjas, a private company employed by the Arizona Senate to supervise the audit of Arizona’s most populous county. They also sought the documents relating to the total cost of the audit, its operations, and donors’ information.

Michael Kemp, Judge of the Arizona Superior Court in Maricopa County,  when presented with the case by the defendant’s lawyer completely rejected it,  writing in his seven-page ruling (pdf), “It is difficult to conceive that of a case with a more compelling public interest demanding public disclosure and public scrutiny,”.

Kemp posited he “completely rejects” the case presented by the defendants’ lawyers. He also said that nothing in the statute absolves Senate defendants’ responsibilities to keep and maintain records for authorities supported by public monies by merely retaining a third-party contractor who in turn hires sub-vendors.


The judge, in his decision, noted that to keep the election audit records private “would certainly be an absurd result and would undermine Arizona’s strong public policy which is in favor of permitting smooth access to records and facts reflecting governmental activity. He noted that details relating to the audit information are covered under the state’s public records law, for the Arizona Senate President, Karen Fann has said that the audit is of a public function.

“Starting now, the Arizona Senate is going to have to face real, public accountability,” Austin Evers, American Oversight’s executive director said in a statement. He also posited that for months, the public has been asked to trust the judgments of senators about the audit of the 2020 election. “Arizona law does not allow the Senate to outsource democracy and shroud it in secrecy.,’ he stated.

His ruling clarifies the Senate’s responsibility to publicize the results and facts about the audit; and also obligates them immediately begin releasing records to the public.

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Arizona

Ariz. Senate calls to decertify election

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Arizona state senators are calling to decertify the election after a large number of discrepancies and irregularities were found in the Maricopa audit.

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Arizona

Fann, Senate President’s Response To The Recall of Arizona’s Electors And Altering Of 2020 Election

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CEO of Cyber Ninjas, Doug Logan, expatiating on the discoveries from the audit said to the senators that auditors couldn’t find any record made of Maricopa County pushing more than 74,000 mail-in ballots and also that about 18,000 persons who voted were taken off voter rolls “soon after the election.” He also talked about some “11,326 persons who were not on the voter rolls on Nov. 7, 2020, but appeared on the rolls on Dec. 4, 2020, and 3,981 persons who voted after their registration after the date, Oct. 15, 2020.”

After the hearing, some Republican senators reacted to the new findings calling for Arizona’s 11 electors—who went for Biden—to be recalled.
“A new election must be conducted. Arizona’s electors must not be awarded fraudulently & we need to get this right,” Sen. Wendy Rogers, a Republican, tweeted last week.

Former President Donald Trump issued a statement positing that the ballot audit unveiled some irregularities and fraud that would have swayed the election in his favor last year. On July 15, the Senate held a hearing, amidst a months-long review carried on by Florida-based tech firm Cyber Ninjas and teams told lawmakers they found about some major discrepancies.

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann’s, (a Republican) comments came as soon after. She told One America News Network (OANN), covering the ballot audit of Maricopa County, that though the upper chamber has the power to provide auditors with the materials they require —including through the use of subpoenas, the certification of electors is a different matter.
“The Senate body—we do not have the authority to do that. So, this is what we have said, and I want to make this very clear on the record,” the Republican state leader said on July 16 referring to the elector being recalled which could alter the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

In her OANN interview, she also said that the Senate in this situation only has “the power to subpoena the information. This is because we make laws,”. She also noted that they’re “entitled to have the necessary information to determine how to write those laws.”
“That’s why we are successful in court, and that’s what we’re doing. It’s all about election integrity. It’s not about the Trump–Biden race. It’s not about the Kelly–Martha McSally race,” she remarked, referring to the 2020 presidential election and the U.S. Senate race that was won by Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.).

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Arizona

Maricopa Co. officials’ response to Auditors request for routers for ballot audit

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As the contentious ballot audit of Maricopa County, Arizona’s 2020 election results draws nearer to a finish, audit officials still haven’t had access to the requested computer equipment that the auditors believe is essential to see to a complete review of the county’s records.

Maricopa County officials in May refused to give the  routers requested by election auditors at the moment, vehemently claiming that to do so would stand as a security threat as a result of the county’s intermingling of various departments on multiple routers. 

A county official in May, claimed that the routers requested “support [more than 50] departments, not just elections operations,”; it also support some “critical law enforcement data that, by law, ought to be concealed, as well as Maricopa County residents’ protected health information and full social security numbers.

At that moment, the issue seemed to be tilting toward a standoff, with the county highlighting a security privilege and the auditors referencing a judge’s ruling asking the county to duly comply with the state Senate’s subpoena. 

Despite the foregoing efforts made, several months later, as the major part of the audit work is coming to a close, the routers remain completely absent from the evidence file. At a state Senate hearing early this week, the lead auditor Ben Cotton stated that it was “critically important” for investigators to be granted access to the routers to accurately complete the audit. 

Whether the routers will eventually land in the hands of auditors or not is still unclear.

Judge Timothy Thomason of Maricopa County Superior Court on February  ruled that county officials were permitted to “avoid a subpoena based on statutes that require that the material being subpoenaed be kept confidential.” Maricopa officials usually referenced the confidentiality rules in May when objecting to the handing over the material.

Despite all efforts and court rulings, the county spokesman, Fields Moseley told Just the News that the Maricopa Board of Supervisors’ “has not changed” its position since its first objection to hand over the routers in May. 

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