sunny.png
Saturday December 4th, 2021 5:59PM

Judge won't block Arizona Senate's 2020 election recount

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

PHOENIX (AP) — An unprecedented audit of ballots from November’s presidential election will continue in Arizona. But the private company hired by the Republican-led state Senate must make public its procedures for guaranteeing the privacy of voters and the secrecy of their choices.

The decision Wednesday by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Martin was both a loss and a win for the Arizona Democratic Party, which is challenging the recount in a state Joe Biden won narrowly over Donald Trump.

The Democrats argued the public had a right to know how the count of 2.1 million ballots in the state’s most populous county was being conducted. Their lawyers argued that voter privacy would be irreparably harmed if the process proceeded, at least without knowing how the recount was being conducted.

Martin acknowledged that when he ordered the Senate's contractor — a company led by a Florida man who has shared unfounded conspiracy theories claiming the official 2020 presidential election results are illegitimate and former President Donald Trump actually won — to produce its recount plan. Biden's victory in Arizona was the first for a Democrat since Bill Clinton's 1996 win.

The Senate and its contractor, Cyber Ninjas, had claimed the policies and procedures for recounting the presidential and U.S. Senate votes in Maricopa County were shielded under Legislative immunity and that the documents were trade secrets. Mark Kelly won the Senate seat, sending two Democratic Arizona senators to Washington for the first time since the 1952 election.

Martin batted away both arguments, although he gave the Senate until noon Thursday to ask an appeals court or the state Supreme Court seek to review his ruling.

“The Senate defendants (argue) that Cyber Ninjas' policies and procedures are protected by legislative privilege. The court disagrees,” Martin said. “The court finds that Cyber Ninjas has failed to show that an overriding interest exists that supports filing its policies and procedures under seal and overcomes the right of public access to it."

Wednesday's court hearing is the latest in a series that began when the state Senate subpoenaed Maricopa County's ballots and vote tabulation machines so it could audit the results that showed Biden winning in Arizona. Trump backers alleged without evidence that he lost in Arizona and other battleground states because of fraud.

The county fought the request for the ballots. But Republican Senate President Karen Fann won the right to access them in February. They were delivered to the state fairgrounds in Phoenix last week. Fann said she wants to prove one way or the other whether GOP claims of problems with the vote are valid and use the results of the audit to craft updated election laws.

Senate Democrats call the audit an effort to perpetuate “The Big Lie,” which is what they call Trump’s insistence that he only lost because of election fraud. The Republican-led county Board of Supervisors stands by the election results, which were certified by state officials, including Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, on Nov. 30.

The hand-recount started last Friday, with Cyber Ninjas overseeing the process and former Republican Secretary of State Ken Bennett acting as the Senate's liaison to the effort. Bennett said Tuesday night that voter secrecy was being protected and that fewer than 100,000 ballots had been counted in the previous four days. But he said the recount was on track to finish as scheduled by May 14.

”We are going to be able to tell every Arizonan in a few weeks that they can have complete integrity and trust in their elections, or we have some parts of the election that need to be improved,” Bennett said.

During Thursday's court hearing, Senate attorney Kory Langhofer told Judge Martin that oversight wasn't needed because no personally identifiable information was on the ballots and that the election has been certified so there's no way a recount could overturn it.

“And of those 2.1 million ballots, the number of individuals whose votes have been discarded or not counted as a result of the audit, so far is zero,” Langhofer said. ”And we expect it to remain zero of course. They have already been counted through the authoritative process. They’ve been certified. The winner of the elections have been declared."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, General Senate Election News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Video: Chicago man had gun, back turned when police shot him
Newly released video shows that a 22-year-old Chicago man who was fleeing from police had his back turned and appeared to have a gun when an officer fatally shot him
5:32PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Louisville officer shot in Breonna Taylor raid retiring
The Louisville police officer who fired at Breonna Taylor after being shot during the deadly raid on Taylor’s apartment is retiring
5:23PM ( 15 minutes ago )
The Latest: Biden to say US 'turning peril into possibility'
In his first address to Congress, President Joe Biden will declare that the nation is “turning peril into possibility, crisis into opportunity.”
5:23PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
US eyes major rollback in Iran sanctions to revive nuke deal
The Biden administration is weighing a near wholesale rollback of some of the most stringent Trump-era sanctions imposed on Iran, in a bid to get the Islamic Republic to return to compliance with a landmark 2015 nuclear accord
4:41PM ( 56 minutes ago )
Feds release videos of Jan. 6 riot showing police assault
Federal authorities have released videos showing Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick being attacked with a chemical spray as the pro-Trump mob descended on the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection
4:28PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP sources: Feds search Rudy Giuliani's NYC home, office
A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that federal investigators have executed search warrants at Rudy Giuliani’s Manhattan residence and office
3:51PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Moldova's president calls early election for July 11
Moldova’s Constitutional Court has canceled a state of emergency introduced to combat COVID-19 infections, enabling President Maia Sandu to dissolve parliament and call for an early election on July 11
3:05PM ( 2 hours ago )
Biden to pitch sweeping 'family plan' in speech to Congress
President Joe Biden will use his first joint address to Congress to pitch a $1.8 trillion investment in children, families and education that would transform the role government plays in American life
2:57PM ( 2 hours ago )
Democrats move to reinstate methane rules loosened by Trump
Congressional Democrats are taking action to reinstate regulations designed to limit potent greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas fields
2:57PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Russian minister: US-Russia ties worse than during Cold War
Russia’s top diplomat says his country's relations with the United States are even worse now than during Cold War times because of a lack of mutual respect
11:36AM ( 6 hours ago )
UK watchdog steps up probe into Johnson's apartment refurb
Britain’s political spending watchdog is scaling up an investigation into Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s finances
8:19AM ( 9 hours ago )
Russian FM: US-Russia ties worse than during Cold War
Russia’s top diplomat says that the relations with the United States are now even worse than during the Cold War times because of a lack of mutual respect
7:18AM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Elections
Election conspiracies live on with audit by Arizona GOP
Months after former President Donald Trump’s defeat, legislative Republicans in Arizona are challenging the outcome as they embark on an unprecedented effort to audit the results in the state’s most populous county
3:20PM ( 3 days ago )
Sen. Johnson may offer insight into GOP's 2022 positioning
Sen. Ron Johnson is in an uncomfortable class of his own
8:47AM ( 3 days ago )
Putin: 'Unfriendly' embassies may face Russian hiring bans
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree allowing the country to limit the number of Russians employed at embassies of countries determined to be unfriendly, or to ban their employment entirely
9:45AM ( 4 days ago )
General Election News
More action, less talk, distinguish Biden's 100-day sprint
More action, less talk and something for the history books
4:20PM ( 2 days ago )
Leaked recording of Iran's top diplomat offers blunt talk
A recording of Iran’s foreign minister offering a blunt appraisal of diplomacy and the limits of power within the Islamic Republic has leaked out publicly
10:14AM ( 2 days ago )
Albania's president lambasts US ambassador on TV talk show
Albania’s president has accused the U.S. ambassador of intervening in the small European country’s internal affairs by supporting its prime minister in an upcoming parliamentary election
5:13AM ( 4 days ago )
General Presidential Election News
Collins won't run for Senate or Georgia governor in 2022
Former Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a favorite of former President Donald Trump, says he doesn’t plan to run for governor or U.S. Senate in Georgia in 2022
11:37AM ( 2 days ago )
Democrat says registration key to ousting SC's Tim Scott
A Democratic state lawmaker is mounting a bid to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Tim Scott
8:53AM ( 2 weeks ago )
Senate filibuster's racist past fuels arguments for its end
The Senate filibuster is coming under fresh scrutiny
9:47AM ( 2 weeks ago )
General Senate Election News
Video: Chicago man had gun, back turned when police shot him
Newly released video shows that a 22-year-old Chicago man who was fleeing from police had his back turned and appeared to have a gun when an officer fatally shot him
5:32PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Louisville officer shot in Breonna Taylor raid retiring
The Louisville police officer who fired at Breonna Taylor after being shot during the deadly raid on Taylor’s apartment is retiring
5:23PM ( 15 minutes ago )
The Latest: Biden to say US 'turning peril into possibility'
In his first address to Congress, President Joe Biden will declare that the nation is “turning peril into possibility, crisis into opportunity.”
5:23PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Senate votes to reinstate methane rules loosened by Trump
Congressional Democrats are moving to reinstate regulations designed to limit potent greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas fields
5:22PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Pacific Northwest faces shutdowns amid rising virus cases
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington, their governors quickly reacted with shutdowns
5:21PM ( 17 minutes ago )