Maricopa County defiantly responds to Arizona Senate’s audit subpoena

Aug 2, 2021, 2:37 PM | Updated: 7:59 pm

PHOENIX – Maricopa County officials said Monday they refuse to turn over routers sought by the Arizona Senate and questioned the validity of Republican lawmakers’ latest subpoena related to the contentious 2020 election audit.

Senate President Karen Fann and Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen issued the subpoena July 26 and gave the state’s largest county one week to produce the network routers and traffic logs, envelopes from all mail-in ballots or images of them, certain voter registration records with change histories, and records related security breaches.

“The board has real work to do and little time to entertain this adventure in never-never land. Please finish whatever it is that you are doing and release whatever it is you are going to release,” Chairman Jack Sellers, one of four Republicans on the five-member Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, wrote in a letter accompanying Monday’s response to the subpoena.

Cyber Ninjas and the other contractors hired to review the Phoenix-area general election said they needed the requested materials to complete their final audit report. The report is expected to come out later this month, although the process has continued beyond every previous timeline.

“The reason you haven’t finished your ‘audit’ is because you hired people who have no experience and little understanding of how professional elections are run,” Sellers wrote.

The contractors completed their hands-on work last week and returned the ballots and whatever equipment hadn’t already been retrieved by the county.

“I am confident that our staff and volunteers ran the election as prescribed by federal and state law,” Sellers wrote. “There was no fraud, there wasn’t an injection of ballots from Asia nor was there a satellite that beamed votes into our election equipment.

“It’s time for all elected officials to tell the truth and stop encouraging conspiracies.”

The county’s response Monday didn’t reject every subpoena request but made it clear the routers – which are used by multiple departments, including the sheriff’s office — were off limits because turning them over would be a major disruption and a security risk.

“Furthermore, the Maricopa County EMS (election management system) is not, and never has been, connected to the Internet; therefore, nothing related to the EMS is on the routers. So there’s nothing to gain and far too much potential harm to risk removing all of the county’s routers and producing them to the Senate’s designees hired for the purpose of examining the Maricopa County EMS,” the document says.

The item-by-item response is followed by a list of 11 objections that challenged the validity of the subpoena.

Among the points was that the subpoena was issued while the Senate was adjourned, that the amount of time given to respond was unreasonable, and that it was “designed merely to harass.”

Fann and Petersen also subpoenaed Dominion Voting Systems, which makes the election equipment that Maricopa County leases, last week for passwords to machines. Like the county, Dominion rejected the subpoena Monday, calling it “illegal and unenforceable,” and said if the Senate sues over enforcement the company will seek “recovery of its attorneys’ fees, expenses, and damages.”

Last week, Supervisor Bill Gates told KTAR News’ The Mike Broomhead Show that it would be up to the Senate to initiate court proceedings over enforcement of the subpoena.

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.

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.

Fann has said the aim of the audit is to restore faith in the election system and find ways to improve Arizona’s voting laws, not to reverse the result of President Joe Biden’s narrow victory over Donald Trump in Maricopa County and statewide.

However, many Trump supporters still see it as a step toward invalidating the 2020 results and returning the former president to office.

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Maricopa County defiantly responds to Arizona Senate’s audit subpoena