Arizona GOP Audit of 2020 Election Vote Cleared by Judge
(Bloomberg) -- A Republican-driven audit of the 2020 general election vote in Arizona’s largest county will move forward after a state judge set aside Democratic Party concerns that the recount may compromise the privacy of voter information.
Superior Court Judge Daniel Martin in Phoenix concluded Wednesday he’s satisfied with the procedures used by Cyber Ninjas Inc., a Florida-based firm hired by Arizona Senate Republicans, to undertake the hand recount at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The Arizona Democratic Party has presented “no substantive evidence” of risk to voter information, the judge ruled. The party’s concern that revealed information might result in door-to-door interrogations of voters hasn’t materialized, he said. “There has been no evidence of such activity.”
Martin said he also had to consider the Arizona Senate’s state constitutional authority to conduct the audit and the disruption halting it would cause.
Arizona Democrats sued to halt the audit, arguing that the head of Cyber Ninjas has promoted former President Donald Trump’s baseless election fraud claims and alleging that the firm’s contractors are violating state law in their failure to protect Maricopa’s 2.1 million ballots, hundreds of tabulation machines and voter information.
Trump has seized on the dispute to recycle false claims that the election was stolen from him. In statements last week, Trump described the audit as poised to expose a Democratic cover-up of voter fraud in Arizona and other U.S. states.
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, has argued the audit is required to examine the accuracy of Maricopa’s tabulation systems, the competence of county officials and to weigh possible reforms.
Read More: Arizona GOP Lawmakers Hire Auditors to Recount 2020 Ballots
Fann on Tuesday told KTAR News, a radio station in Phoenix, that the audit has been wrongly connected to the “Stop the Steal” and QAnon conspiracy movements.
It is being undertaken for “half of the people that do not trust the electoral system, rightly or wrongly,” Fann said. The audit seeks to answer the question of, “How do we put electoral integrity back into our system?” she told the radio station.
Maricopa County previously released results of its own independent audits of the election results following allegations of fraud. No irregularities were found.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs will have observers at the audit, according to an attorney representing her office.
“The Secretary’s office has audit experts from independent, national organizations who have already agreed to be our observers, and that is the level of expertise that Arizonans deserve,” Josh Bendor said in an email.
Roopali Desai, a lawyer for the Arizona Democratic Party, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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