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New judge, hearing set for Maricopa County elections audit challenge


PHOENIX — A new judge was announced Monday to oversee a challenge to the Arizona Senate Republicans’ election audit, along with a new hearing time after the previous judge disqualified himself Sunday.

Judge Daniel Martin will replace Judge Christopher Coury, according to the Maricopa County Superior Court.

Cyber Ninjas, the cybersecurity firm hired by Republican Senate President Karen Fann to conduct the audit, prompted Coury to recuse himself from the case by adding an attorney to its team who previously worked as Coury’s intern.

Coury’s recusal resulted in the hearing set for Monday to be rescheduled, with that hearing now scheduled to take place Tuesday at 11 a.m.

The audit, in the meantime, has continued.

Experts on election administration and security have expressed alarm at the Senate’s audit, which they say isn’t following standard procedures to transparently and accurately count votes.

The Arizona Democratic Party filed a lawsuit Thursday to stop the audit but the process moved forward after the party decided not to put up a $1 million bond to fund any increase in costs from the delay.

Prior to his recusal, Coury ordered the Senate auditors to follow ballot and voter secrecy laws and demanded they turn over written procedures and training manuals before the hearing.

Cyber Ninjas wanted Coury to keep its methods for ensuring ballot privacy sealed as trade secrets and because the Senate is immune as a separate branch of government.

The company also wanted the hearing closed to the media and the public.

Conspiracy theories about the election have proliferated in Arizona and nationwide since Biden’s victory over former President Donald Trump.

After repeated reviews of the election results in Maricopa County found no issues that would overturn Biden’s narrow victory in Arizona, a judge ruled the Senate could access Maricopa County’s 2.1 million ballots for a hand recount.

Biden won Arizona last year by 10,457 votes and won in Maricopa County by 45,109 votes.

The Senate audit can’t overturn the results of the election.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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