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The Arizona Senate filed a motion to dismiss a public records lawsuit relating to an independent full audit of ballots cast in Maricopa County in the 2020 election which was, however, rejected by a judge. 

The watchdog group American Oversight filed the lawsuit and sought the records of communications between Senate officials and external vendors carrying on the audit, including a 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. It also sought the documents relating to the total cost of the audit, donors’ information, and its operations.

Judge Michael Kemp of the Arizona Superior Court in Maricopa County,  when presented with the argument 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,”.

“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 turns hires sub-vendors,” Kemp added.

Kemp held that records on who is funding the audit should be released to the public. He also posited that the bulk of $150,000 the Arizona Senate is paying to the Cyber Ninjas for the job “appears to be far short of paying the full cost.’’
“The public does not know who is financing the remaining costs,’’ he wrote.

Kemp affirmed that the information relating to the audit information is covered under the state’s public records law, for Arizona Senate President Karen Fann has said that the audit is a public function. 

However, Fann previously stated that the remaining costs of the audit are covered by some donors and contributions voluntarily.

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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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Jenna Ellis reacts to audit revelations

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Jenna Ellis reacts to revelations from the election audits in Arizona and Georgia

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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

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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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