Maricopa County officials defied the Republican-led Arizona Senate's latest round of subpoenas for the controversial audit in the state's most populous county seeking access to routers and other materials.
Instead, following a board meeting on Monday, Chairman Jack Sellers wrote to state senators reaffirming the integrity of the contest, encouraging them to release a report on the audit with the information already obtained, and warning them to prepare for legal representations for the partisan review.
"The Senate and their privately funded contractors should finish their 'audit', release their report and be prepared to defend it in court," said Sellers, criticizing the Senate-hired firm Cyber Ninjas leading the audit.
"Maricopa County long ago provided to the Arizona Senate everything competent auditors would need to affirm the accuracy and security of the November General Election," Sellers added, referencing a judge's February ruling that offered a green light for the Senate to obtain election machines and ballots used during the monthslong audit at the Phoenix fairgrounds.
NEW Maricopa County Board chair to Senate GOP: ‘Little time to entertain adventure in never-never land.’ Board rejects most of Senate subpoena shortly before 1pm deadline. pic.twitter.com/JdsgUfj46V
— Brahm Resnik (@brahmresnik) August 2, 2021
County officials rejected demands in the subpoena, expressing a continued refusal to provide routers they argue would put "sensitive" data about residents at risk, according to a response from Maricopa County attorney Allister Adel. The attorney also highlighted the subpoena time frame only provided five business days to present "substantially large amounts of records," arguing it was an "unreasonably short period of time" to deliver such materials by 1 p.m. on Monday.
The board agreed to provide some voter registration information and ballot envelopes, but Adel stressed the delivery would not be immediate.
The Arizona Senate filed a new wave of subpoenas last week, in which Senate President Karen Fann "commanded" members of the county's board to deliver additional materials for auditors to complete their review of the November general election.
A separate subpoena from the Senate demanded various passwords and machine tokens from Dominion Voting Systems, which the county leases election equipment. The company responded to the subpoena on July 27, calling Cyber Ninjas "unaccredited" and "biased," and did not offer the materials by the Monday deadline.
Fann said on Monday the county offering to share ballot envelopes and registration information will help the final report be "better," as organizers have said they expect it to be released later this summer.
"We are weighing our options for securing access to the routers and passwords and will make a thoughtful decision in due course after conferring with my staff, counsel, and colleagues. It is unfortunate the noncompliance by the County and Dominion continues to delay the results and breeds distrust," Fann wrote in a statement that followed Maricopa County's response.
CyFIR founder Ben Cotton, one of the firms working on the audit, stated in May it is "critically important" to obtain routers owned by the county, insisting they would help clarify specific vulnerabilities he claims existed in Maricopa's digital election system and whether the routers were connected to the internet.
Following Cotton's claims, Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel argued providing the county's routers "could jeopardize the security of law enforcement data," repeating claims by Democratic Sheriff Paul Penzone.
Allister once again denied on Monday that any routers were connected to air-gapped tabulation equipment of the Election Management System. The attorney said if auditors wish to independently verify they were disconnected, they could do so using several items already included in response to a previous subpoena.
The Senate president threatened to hold members of the board of supervisors in contempt for refusing to comply with the subpoena on Monday. However, such recourse is likely given that at least two of the 16 Republicans in the chamber, who have a narrow majority, have recently voiced negative opinions about the audit.
Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates reportedly claimed Fann did not have the votes to hold the board in contempt, according to a Monday report for Arizona Mirror.
The state Senate previously considered holding members of the county's board of supervisors in contempt in February over election-related materials. The effort was defeated by one vote when Republican Sen. Paul Boyer broke ranks and joined Democrats in opposing it. The move could have landed county officials behind bars.
Auditors have completed the ballot counting portion of the election review process and are now said to be compiling a report with the guidance of Ken Bennett, the Arizona Senate liaison who had threatened to quit until he was granted full access to the review.
President Joe Biden won Arizona and its 11 electoral votes by more than 10,000 votes out of the 3.3 million across the state. His lead of roughly 2 percentage points was due partly to his advantage in Maricopa County, where the Democrat scored nearly 45,000 more votes than Trump among roughly 2.1 million ballots cast.
The audit has been heavily criticized by Maricopa County officials, Democratic Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, and even some Arizona Senate Republicans over concerns of Cyber Ninjas lacking audit experience and accreditation. Maricopa County officials announced in late June that voting machines subpoenaed for the audit would be removed from service after Hobbs threatened to decertify the equipment, citing concerns with the methods of Cyber Ninjas.
The U.S. Justice Department also signaled it may take action against the audit.
Maricopa County officials previously authorized two election machine audits that found no irregularities in the county's 2020 election. There was also a recount of a sample of ballots that did not turn up any problems.
After courts rejected several lawsuits challenging the 2020 results in Arizona and other states Donald Trump lost, the former president and his allies have turned their attention to the GOP-led Arizona Senate audit in Maricopa County, touting it as an inspection that could support their claims of widespread fraud or irregularities.
Still, Fann has stressed the audit is not about overturning the 2020 election but rather making legislation to improve the operations and security of voting contests.
The Washington Examiner contacted the Arizona Senate on Monday but did not immediately receive a response.
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Original Author: Kaelan Deese