Maricopa County’s Board of Supervisors and Dominion Voting Systems on Monday defied subpoenas from Arizona’s Senate seeking additional election materials related to the partisan audit of the presidential election.
In a letter to Senate President Karen Fann, Jack Sellers, the Republican chairman of the Board of Supervisors, wrote that his panel "has real work to do and little time to entertain this adventure in never-never land."
"It is now August of 2021. The election of November 2020 is over," he wrote. "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."
"The reason you haven't finished your 'audit' is because you hired people who have no experience and little understanding of how professional elections are run,” Sellers added.
Republican Senate leaders issued the subpoena July 26. It sought documents, passwords, security information, changes of voter registration records, signed ballot envelopes or images and more.
Maricopa officials already had provided much of what is being demanded but have pushed back against turning over servers, citing security concerns. The auditors hired by the Senate say the routers are needed to check whether the county’s voting machines were connected to the internet during the election.
“For months, the Senate’s audit team has had access to the items they need to confirm Maricopa County’s tabulators were not connected to the internet and thus were not hacked during the November General Election,” Sellers said in a statement to the press. “The certified auditors hired by the County needed just two weeks with the machines and logs that we turned over to the Senate to make such a determination. They have what they need.
“Arizona Senate leadership hired the wrong people, enabling and enriching unvetted, unqualified, private companies with known biases who never should have touched federally-certified elections equipment or the people’s ballots,” Sellers added.
Maricopa officials also say they don’t have any additional passwords to the machines.
The county board, however, agreed to work with the Senate to provide some documents sought through a public-records request.
In a letter to the Senate’s lawyer, Dominion attorney Eric Spencer called the subpoena unconstitutional, invalid and unenforceable. Spencer argued that the the Senate’s decision to return tabulator machines to Maricopa County last week "clearly extinguished the Arizona Senate's claimed interest in obtaining Dominion security keys and passwords (which was non-existent to begin with) and rendered the Subpoena moot."
Dominion also said the subpoena sought information that was proprietary.
Dominion’s voting machines were used in the Maricopa election and the company has been the subject of many far-right conspiracy theories.
Fann said said the Senate “will soon secure copies of ballot envelopes and critical voter registration information,” adding, “That is progress, and the final audit report will be better because of it.”
She, however, added: “We are weighing our options for securing access to the routers and passwords and will make a thoughtful decision in due course after conferring with my staff, counsel, and colleagues. It is unfortunate the noncompliance by the County and Dominion continues to delay the results and breeds distrust.
“We remain committed to ensuring election integrity as voter confidence is at the heart of what we set out to achieve in this endeavor,” the Senate president continued. “Our constituents deserve no less.”
On Twitter, Fann struck a different tone about the situation, writing: “Build the case, set the trap, and boom the Maricopa lies will come back to haunt them.”
Republican Sen. Wendy Rogers, meanwhile, called for the five county supervisors to be arrested and placed in solitary confinement.
The audit, ordered by the state’s Republican-led Senate, has been highly controversial, criticized by Democrats and even some Republicans for giving more oxygen to former President Donald Trump’s false claims about widespread fraud in the election.
The review is being led by Cyber Ninjas, a small Florida cybersecurity firm with no experience auditing elections. Its CEO, Doug Logan, has promoted conspiracy theories on social media and in a recent film about the election being stolen from Trump.
Last week, Logan admitted that $5.7 million of the audit’s funding was donated by political groups run by prominent Trump supporters, including Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell and correspondents from One America News Network. The Arizona Senate is paying just $150,000. Logan insists he’s being objective during the review.
The audit has no formal legal authority and cannot change the results of the presidential election. But it’s being closely watched by Trump and his supporters.
Maricopa County investigated and upheld its election results three times. Joe Biden defeated Trump by 10,457 votes in Arizona — and 45,109 in Maricopa, the state’s most populous county and home to Phoenix.
In addition to Maricopa’s Republican-dominated board calling the audit a “sham,” two GOP state senators have described the review as being “botched.”
“I wanted to review our election processes and see what, if anything, could be improved,” Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita tweeted on July 24. “Sadly, it's now become clear that the audit has been botched.”
“They’ve botched it at so many points along the way that it's irrecoverable,” Sen. Paul Boyer said, according to The Associated Press.
Last month, Maricopa County’s Board of Supervisors voted to spend nearly $3 million to replace its voting machines, saying they were compromised because they were in the custody of firms not accredited to handle election equipment.
The Associated Press reported last week that the auditors have stopped counting and returned the ballots. Cyber Ninjas and its contractors are preparing to produce a report about their findings, which could take several weeks to write, the AP said.
The audit was supposed to take 60 days, but it is now beyond 100 days.
"Please finish whatever it is that you are doing and release whatever it is you are going to release," Sellers wrote in his letter to Fann. "I am confident that our staff and volunteers ran the election as prescribed by federal and state law. There was no fraud, there wasn't an injection of ballots from Asia nor was there a satellite that beamed votes into our election equipment.
"It's time for all elected officials to tell the truth and stop encouraging conspiracies,” Sellers added. “Please release your report and be prepared to defend any accusations of misdeeds in court. It's time to move on."