Elected leaders in Arizona’s largest county responded defiantly Monday to a new subpoena issued by the state Senate that sought local computer routers and internal logs to bolster a GOP-commissioned review of the 2020 presidential election results.
Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, has said the items are needed to conclude the controversial audit of the election in Maricopa County, which private contractors have been conducting on behalf of the Senate since April.
County officials rejected her claim in a scathing letter.
“It is now August of 2021. The election of November 2020 is over. If you haven’t figured out that the election in Maricopa County was free, fair, and accurate yet, I’m not sure you ever will,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers, a Republican, wrote in a letter to the Senate on Monday.
He added: “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.”
Earlier this year, the Senate used a subpoena to obtain the county’s nearly 2.1 million ballots and tabulating machines, and handed them over to a private company whose chief executive has echoed false claims that the election was stolen.
Fann has said the audit is intended to help improve the state’s election laws, but former President Donald Trump has suggested it could lead to the decertification of President Joe Biden’s victory in the swing state. The ballot review has been largely financed by private groups touting Trump’s false claims that fraud tainted the outcome.
The Republican-led Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has said that the routers are used for county services other than elections, including the sheriff’s department, and that giving them to a private company could compromise security. What’s more, they said they are reluctant to assist an audit that they believe has been run ineptly and is undermining faith in democracy.
In his letter Monday, Sellers told the Senate that there was no “injection of ballots from Asia” nor “a satellite that beamed votes into our election equipment” – both unsubstantiated allegations advanced by Trump supporters.
“It’s time for all elected officials to tell the truth and stop encouraging conspiracies,” he added.
Sellers’s terse missive was accompanied by a separate five-page letter from a county lawyer, which raised various legal and practical objections to the subpoena.
A spokesman for Fann did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Separately, a lawyer for Dominion Voting Systems, whose election equipment is used in Maricopa, wrote to the Arizona Senate and raised legal objections to a subpoena it received last month seeking administrative passwords to the county’s voting software.
Both the county and Dominion argued that some of the Senate’s requests are now moot because the Senate’s contractor, a Florida-based company called Cyber Ninjas, concluded its review of the ballots last week and returned them to Maricopa’s custody.
Fann has said the company is working on a report of its findings and plans to release it later this month, though she has warned that it will be incomplete if Maricopa does not cooperate and turn over the additional items.
The Senate’s options in the face of the county’s defiance are not clear. Fann could ask the Senate to hold the board in contempt, but she does not appear to have the votes to do so. The GOP holds only a one-vote majority in the state Senate, and a previous contempt vote in February failed after state Sen. Paul Boyer, R, said he was opposed. Since then, Boyer has become only more vocal in his opposition to the audit.