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Arizona 2020 ballot review to be made public September 24

Firm finalizes Arizona election audit report
Arizona election audit report to be handed over to Republican state lawmakers 07:03

The long-delayed report about the partisan review of ballots cast in Maricopa County, Arizona, during the 2020 election will be made public at a hearing scheduled for Friday, September 24, according to a spokeswoman for Arizona Senate Republicans, who had ordered the review. 

The report will be presented on the Senate floor and will be open to the media. Although Arizona's election results were already certified, six months ago, the Republican-controlled state Senate in Arizona undertook a full hand recount and review of the ballots and voting machines in Maricopa, the state's largest county. 

By subpoena, the state Senate took possession of 2.1 million ballots and nearly 400 election machines and turned them over to be audited by companies that include one whose CEO promoted debunked election fraud theories after the election. The majority-Republican county board of supervisors vehemently objected to the action and pointed to the multiple audits of ballots and machines that Arizona had already completed that had found no issues.  

Arizona Senate president Karen Fann said last month that part of the report had been turned in, but the full report was delayed when three members of the team conducting the review contracted COVID-19.

The controversial process began in April after contractors hired by the Republican-led state Senate took control of Maricopa County's 2.1 million ballots. The Senate hired cyber security company Cyber Ninjas, which had no experience in official election audits, to lead the review. Cyber Ninjas' CEO had also promoted election conspiracy theories following the 2020 election.

Election 2020 Arizona Audit
FILE: Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix.  Matt York / AP

Whatever the report finds, it will not change the results of the 2020 election. President Biden won Arizona by 10,457 votes. Fann has repeatedly insisted that the goal of the review was not to overturn last year's election, but instead to improve election processes in the future. 

In recent weeks, thousands of records related to the review have been made public. Some detailed communications with national Republican figures and Trump allies, as well as information about fundraising efforts for the review process and how money was being spent. 

The Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the Arizona Senate's attempt to keep additional records about the review and its contractors from being released. Lower courts court ruled last month that the records were subject to public records law because the contractors were performing a government function. 

"Allowing the legislature to disregard the clear mandate of the (public records law) would undermine the integrity of the legislative process and discourage transparency, which contradicts the purpose of both the immunity doctrine and the (public records law)," Judge Maria Elena Cruz wrote. 

Fann wrote Tuesday to Cyber Ninjas to ask the company to provide records that Cyber Ninjas and its subcontractors possess that "are reasonably necessary or appropriate to maintain an accurate knowledge of activities concerning the 2020 Maricopa County election audit."

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is also determining how to respond to a directive from Arizona's Republican Attorney General in August that ordered the county to comply with a subpoena from the Arizona Senate. Brnovich said that by not fully complying with the Senate's subpoena, the county violated state law and could lose millions of dollars in state funding. 

At issue is the subpoena's request for routers from the county. County leaders have refused to turn them over, citing security concerns. 

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to discuss the issue at a meeting on Friday.

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