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Arizona Senate, Maricopa County end standoff over 2020 election review

By Jake Thomas
Arizona Senate, Maricopa County end standoff over 2020 election review
An elections worker reaches for another ballot as votes were tallied during the 2020 election. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 18 (UPI) -- The Arizona Senate has struck a deal with the board of the state's most populous county after months of jousting over a controversial review of the 2020 election results.

The dustup stems from the Republican-led Senate's review of Maricopa County's 2020 election results. The Senate initiated an audit in July and its results are expected Sept. 24, reports the Arizona Republic. While the county handed over election ballots, voting machines and other information it refused Senate subpoenaed for its routers, saying it was a security risk.

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The clash escalated last month when Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich gave the county until Sept. 27 to comply with Senate subpoenas or risk losing $676 million in sales tax revenue.

Under the agreement signed Friday, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors won't be required to hand over county routers and other sensitive materials to Senate's contractor, Cyber Ninjas. The agreement brings the county into full compliance with any outstanding subpoenas.

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Of particular concern has been Cyber Ninjas. The company has no experience auditing elections and its CEO has promoted conspiracy theories about the 2020 election on social media, according to CNN.

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"This agreement is a step in the right direction to putting this nonsense behind us," said county board Chairman Jack Sellers, in a statement. "The Cyber Ninjas will never be able to touch the routers or access our data. An independent third party can confirm what we've always said: the election equipment was not connected to the internet and no vote switching occurred."

Previously, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors had bristled at the review. In May, supervisors issued a letter calling the review a " sham process" and allegations by Arizona Senate President Karen Fann "false" and "deeply offensive."

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The agreement is designed to prevent any personal identifying information, sensitive law enforcement or court-related information from being revealed, according to the statement from the county.

Under the agreement, an independent third party will hire a team of technology experts to review the county's routers and splunk logs in addition to answering questions from the Arizona Senate. Former U.S. Rep. John Shadegg will serve this role, reports the Arizona Republic.

In a statement, Fann called the agreement "victory for election integrity and the Arizona taxpayer."

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"The Senate will finally get the answers asked for in subpoenas issued to the county months ago," she said.

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