PHOENIX — 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 has announced that a special master will answer questions from the ‘ election review contractors. He will also provide information on the routers they claim they need for the election review.
Supervisor Bill Gates stated that the agreement will protect sensitive information on routers and avoid a severe penalty for the county if they fail to comply.
Gates described the agreement as “a win in transparency” and said it also protected sensitive data in Maricopa County
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. In a decision last month, Brnovich stated that the county must obey the subpoena from Republican President Karen Fann. Otherwise, the county could lose approximately $700 millions in annual state funding.
The county settled a $2.8million claim it had filed with the Senate . It did so after the auditor decertified the election equipment and required replacement.
Fann stated that the county had settled the claim under threat of losing state funds and called it “a victory to election integrity and Arizona taxpayer.” She said there was no damage and the machines were not improperly certified by Katie Hobbs, Democratic Secretary of State.
Hobbs stated that she decided the machines couldn’t be used after consulting experts from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security before making her decision.
Fann signed documents pledging to cover any costs incurred by the county when they turned over the vote counting machines earlier in the year. In July, Gates stated that the county should not have to pay for the replacement of decertified machines due to the Senate ..
Fann stated that John Shadegg, a Republican former Congressman, will be the special master.
” The Senate will finally receive the answers to the questions asked in subpoenas sent to the County many months ago,” Fann stated in a statement.
The board consists of four Republicans and one Democrat. Gates and the other Republicans did not voice any criticisms of the Senate , but they expressed their hope that the agreement would end the conflict. But Democratic Supervisor Steve Gallardo did not hold back.
We’re dealing with bullies,” Gallardo stated. Gallardo stated that there is nothing we can do for any (GOP) Senators who are pursuing the audit.
The review of the 2020 election result results was prompted in part by unsubstantiated claims by former President Donald Trump’s supporters that he lost only because of fraud. According to the county, the election was property-run and President Joe Biden just received more votes.
County officials refused to hand over routers connecting data across the county, claiming that there was a serious risk to law enforcement security and other sensitive information.
The threat of Brnovich placed enormous financial pressure on the board, requiring it to hand over all items that the Senate needs to prepare for the release of the election recount.
No evidence of fraud was found in any state after a series lawsuits were filed by Trump supporters and reviews by election officials.
But the Senate Republicans say that a thorough examination of the entire election is necessary. They took control of all voting machines and servers, as well as huge amounts of data previously subpoenaed by the county.
County officials stand by the accuracy and reliability of their vote count. Outside reviews by certified election auditors support them. They claimed that the Senate ‘s voter review, funded by pro-Trump donations, is being managed by incompetent grifters who were hired by the Senate ..
The company, Florida-based Cyber Ninjas to supervise the election review, is not qualified in either election review or auditing. Doug Logan, a Trump supporter and conspiracy theorist, is its CEO.
The Senate , and Cyber Ninjas fought in court to determine if they had to hand over election review records to a watchdog organization and to the Arizona Republic newspaper. The Senate was given an order to release its records. Most of them followed the orders. This week, the state Supreme Court upheld lower court rulings that Cyber Ninjas and other contractors must make public audit records.
The audit, which began in April, was initially scheduled to take around 60 hours. However there have been numerous 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.
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