ARIZONA NEWS

County cuts deal to end fight over Arizona Senate subpoena

Sep 17, 2021, 3:00 PM | Updated: 7:46 pm
FILE - In this Dec. 27, 2019, file photo, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors meets in Phoenix...

FILE - In this Dec. 27, 2019, file photo, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors meets in Phoenix. The board that oversees Arizona's most populous county has scheduled a special meeting Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, where members may announce whether they will comply with a state Senate subpoena to hand over its computer routers for examination by contractors conducting an unprecedented partisan review of 2020 election results. (AP Photo/Terry Tang, File)

(AP Photo/Terry Tang, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — Board members overseeing Arizona’s most populous county reached an agreement Friday evening with the Republican-controlled state Senate that will end a standoff over a Senate demand that they hand over computer routers for use in an unprecedented partisan election review.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors announced that a special master will take questions from the Senate’s election review contractors and provide them with information contained on the routers they say they need to finish the election review.

Supervisor Bill Gates said the deal will protect sensitive information contained on the routers while avoiding a massive penalty the county faced if they had not complied.

Gates called the deal “a win for transparency and it’s also a win for protecting sensitive data in Maricopa County.”

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a decision last month that the county must comply with the subpoena issued by Republican Senate President Karen Fann or lose about $700 million in yearly state funding.

The county agreed to drop a $2.8 million claim it filed with the Senate after election equipment it handed over to the auditor was decertified and needed to be replaced.

Fann said the county settled under the threat of losing state money and called it “a victory for election integrity and the Arizona taxpayer.” She also said there was no damage to the election machines and that they were improperly decertified by Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

Hobbs said she concluded the machines could no longer be used after consulted with experts at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and others before making her decision.

Fann had signed documents vowing to pay for any costs the county incurred when they handed over the vote counting machines earlier this year. Gates said in July that county taxpayers should not be forced to pay to replace the machines decertified because of the Senate.

But the deal completely waives that agreement, and the county will pay the costs of the router review by the special master and a team of experts he will hire.

Fann said former Congressman John Shadegg, a Republican, will serve as the special master.

“The Senate will finally get the answers to questions asked for in subpoenas issued to the County months ago,” Fann said in a statement.

The board has four Republicans and one Democrat. Gates and other Republicans were muted in any criticism of the Senate and said they hope the agreement ends the fight. But Democratic Supervisor Steve Gallardo did not hold back; he was the lone no vote on the deal.

“We’re dealing with bullies,” Gallardo said. “There is nothing we can do to satisfy any of the (GOP) Senators” pursuing the audit.

The review of the 2020 election results was prompted by unsubstantiated claims made by former President Donald Trump and his supporters that he only lost because of fraud. The county says the election was property run and President Joe Biden simply got more votes.

County officials balked at handing over the routers that connect data countywide, contending that there was a grave risk to the security of law enforcement and other sensitive information.

The threat by Brnovich put massive financial pressure on the board to turn over the items the Senate says it needs as it prepares to release the election recount next Friday.

No evidence of fraud has been found in any states after a series of lawsuits filed by Trump backers or reviews by election officials.

But Republicans who lead the Senate say a deep dive is needed to look at all aspects of the election, and its contractors did a hand-recount of all 2.1 million ballots, took possession of vote-counting machines, computer servers and huge amounts of data handed over by the county under earlier subpoenas.

County officials have stood by the accuracy of their vote count, and outside reviews done by certified election auditors back them up. They said the Senate’s vote review funded by pro-Trump donors is being run by incompetent grifters hired by the Senate.

The company hired by the Senate to oversee the election review, Florida-based Cyber Ninjas, has no prior election review or auditing experience. Its CEO is Doug Logan, a Trump supporter who has promoted conspiracy theories about the election.

The Senate and Cyber Ninjas have themselves fought in court over whether they need to turn over records of the election review to a watchdog group and the Arizona Republic newspaper. The Senate was ordered to release its records and mainly complied. The state Supreme Court earlier this week upheld lower court decisions that said records held by Cyber Ninjas and other contractors conducting the audit must be made public.

The audit that began in April was originally set to take about 60 days, but there have been repeated delays. Most recently, Cyber Ninjas canceled plans to submit its report last month saying several of its team members contracted COVID-19 and had serious symptoms.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Pixabay photo)...
Associated Press

Arizona man sentenced to prison for posting sex videos of ex-partner

A U.S. judge in Hawaii sentenced an Arizona man to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to cyberstalking and acknowledged posting online sexual videos of a woman he was previously in a relationship with.
19 hours ago
(Photo by Bernd Thissen/picture alliance via Getty Images)...
Danny Shapiro

72-year-old daily heat record broken in Phoenix on Wednesday

Phoenix hit 85 degrees at about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, breaking the daily heat record of 83 degrees set in 1949, according to the National Weather Service.
19 hours ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
KTAR.com

3 Phoenix-area businesses make Inc. magazine list of best-led companies

A trio of metro Phoenix midsize businesses worked their way onto a national magazine's inaugural list of best-led companies in the country.
19 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/@dougducey)...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey lights 25-foot-tall tree at state Capitol

A 25-foot-tall white pine installed in state Capitol’s executive tower lobby was lit Wednesday by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey during a celebration marking the start of the holiday season.
19 hours ago
Travelers arrive from international flights at Newark Liberty International Airport on Nov. 30, 202...
KTAR.com

After 3-day dip, Arizona adds over 3,000 COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Arizona’s daily report of new COVID-19 cases was back over 3,000 on the first day of December after November ended with three days below that mark.
19 hours ago
(Phoenix Fire Department Photo)...
KTAR.com

Early-morning fire does heavy damage to Phoenix apartment

Fire destroyed an apartment balcony and displaced five people in Phoenix early Wednesday but no one was injured, first responders said.
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford offers cars and deals for all this holiday season

Sanderson Ford’s No! Vember Black Friday sale is giving an opportunity to purchase a new 2021 vehicle just in time for the holiday season.
...
DISC DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

What you need to know about spine health

With 540 million people suffering from lower back pain, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability. That’s why World Spine Day on Oct. 16 will raise awareness about spinal health with its theme, BACK2BACK. “BACK2BACK will focus on highlighting ways in which people can help their spines by staying mobile, avoiding physical inactivity, not overloading […]
...
Sweet James

Best fall road trips to take on a motorcycle

Autumn in Arizona brings the beauty of color-changing leaves and a relief from summer heat. It’s one of the most pleasant times to explore the outdoors, especially on a motorcycle.
County cuts deal to end fight over Arizona Senate subpoena