Maricopa County weighs subpoena response, unlikely to turn over routers
Jul 27, 2021, 11:38 AM | Updated: Aug 2, 2021, 2:42 pm
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
PHOENIX – Maricopa County officials are weighing their response to a new subpoena from Arizona Senate Republican leaders over items related to the 2020 election, but it appears they will resist handing over network routers.
“We just received this late yesterday,” Supervisor Bill Gates, one of four Republicans on the five-member board that governs the county, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News in his first of two Tuesday morning interviews with the station.
“So we’ll convene as a body, will meet with our attorneys, go over this. If there are reasonable requests in here, of course we will turn those over.”
The supervisors will meet with legal advisers Wednesday behind closed doors in an executive session that starts at 9 a.m.
Monday’s Senate subpoena gave the county one week to produce certain items the Cyber Ninjas and other contractors hired to review the Phoenix-area general election say are needed to complete their final audit report.
“We will respond in some way,” Gates told KTAR News’ The Mike Broomhead Show.
Senate President Karen Fann and Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen issued the subpoena, listing envelopes from all mail-in ballots or images of them, network routers and traffic logs, detailed voter registration records with change histories, and records related to security breaches of election systems.
Citing security concerns, the county has denied previous requests for the routers, which are used by multiple agencies, including the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
Gates said he hasn’t changed his stance on the devices.
“If there’s a determination that turning over these routers is going to threaten the safety of law enforcement, and it would be turning over personal information, as one supervisor, that’s where I draw the line,” he told Broomhead.
Fann initially authorized the audit, which started in April, after winning a legal battle with the county over access to voting equipment and about 2.1 million ballots from the November election.
Gates noted that a judge ruled in February the Senate’s subpoena was enforceable, but he didn’t actually order the county to turn anything over.
Therefore, Gates said it would be up to the Senate to initiate court proceedings over enforcement of the new subpoena.
“If they go back to court — I would never try and guess what a judge is going to rule — but I imagine the judge would say … ‘The ball’s in your court, you’ve got to determine how to get these documents and other materials from the board of supervisors,’” Gates told Broomhead.
Before the judge ruled in the Senate’s favor in February, the Senate failed in an effort to hold the county supervisors in contempt over their lack of compliance, which could have landed them behind bars.
Sen. Paul Boyer was the sole Republican to vote against the contempt resolution, joining the Senate’s 14 Democrats and creating a 15-15 tie.
Another contempt effort seems unlikely to succeed because not only is the Legislature out of session, but at least one other GOP senator, Michelle Ugenti-Rita, has joined Boyer in publicly denouncing the audit proceedings.
“Sadly, it’s now become clear that the audit has been botched,” Ugenti-Rita, a 2022 candidate for Arizona secretary of state, tweeted over the weekend. “The total lack of competence by @FannKfann over the last 5 months has deprived the voters of Arizona a comprehensive accounting of the 2020 election.”
accounting of the 2020 election. That’s inexcusable, but it shows what can happen when Republicans do not take election integrity deadly serious. (5of5)
— Michelle Ugenti-RITA (@MichelleUgenti) July 25, 2021
Fann’s selection of the Cyber Ninjas’ $150,000 bid to lead the audit quickly drew scrutiny over founder Doug Logan’s deleted Twitter account, which had activity supporting unfounded election conspiracy theories.
Questions have since arisen about the source of funds being raised in the name of covering audit costs, which are expected to run into the millions.
Maricopa County officials have consistently denounced the proceedings, questioning the methods, competence and motives of the auditors.
The Board of Supervisors previously authorized two audits by independent contractors who are certified by the National Institute for Standards and Technology and the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission.
Those audits found no problems, but state Senate Republicans subpoenaed the county for access to the election materials at the urging of supporters of Donald Trump who refuse to accept President Joe Biden’s narrow victory Maricopa County and statewide.
Last week, the county launched a website — JustTheFacts.Vote — to address questions and misconceptions about the 2020 election.
Fann has said the aim of the audit she authorized is to restore faith in the election system and find ways to improve Arizona’s voting laws, not to reverse the result of the election.
However, many Trump supporters still see it as a step toward invalidating Biden’s victory and returning Trump to office.
“This is not about Trump. This is not about overturning the election. This has never been about anything other than election integrity,” Fann said at a July 15 hearing, during which Logan and CyFIR founder Ben Cotton said they needed the items that wound up in Monday’s subpoena.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Bill Gates is chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. Jack Sellers is the chairman.