A judge granted Democrats in Arizona a pause in the long-awaited hand recount of Maricopa County’s 2020 election ballots, but it appeared short-lived.
The Arizona Republic reported the county delivered all 2.1 million ballots to the state Senate, which has hired a contractor to audit the ballots at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Democrats sued, claiming there isn’t adequate security.
Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury said he wanted to ensure the recount fully complies with Arizona law. But the pause appeared temporarily, when the Democrats declined to post a $1 million bond to cover higher costs incurred by the delay. The judge had said he would review security plans.
“I do not want to micromanage and it is not the posture of this court to micromanage or even to manage the process by which another branch of government, the Legislature, the Arizona state senate proceeds,” Coury said. “However, it is the province of the court to ensure voter information and those constitutional protections are held sacrosanct and that also includes the protection of ballots under Arizona law.”
Kory Langhofer, an attorney for the state Senate, argued the Senate enjoys legislative immunity and cannot be sued over the recount now. And he argued that the separation of powers prevents the courts from stopping the audit.
The Gateway Pundit noted President Trump has sounded off on the dispute.
“So many people would like to thank the brave and patriotic Republican State Senators from Arizona for the incredible job they are doing in exposing the large scale Voter Fraud which took place in the 2020 President Election,” Trump said. “Their tireless efforts have led to a massive recount, ballot examination and a full forensic audit, undertaken by experts retained by the State Senate, with results to be announced within six weeks. The Democrats, upon hearing the news of the Court Order, have sent 73 lawyers to Arizona in an effort to stop this recount and full transparency because THEY KNOW WHAT THEY DID! The Democrats are desperate for the FRAUD to remain concealed because, when revealed, the Great States of Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, New Hampshire and the Great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, would be forced to complete the work already started.”
Arizona was one of a six states that Joe Biden won by a slim margin where lawmakers raised objections to the results, presenting evidence of vote fraud. The Senate Republicans recount was launched this week when county officials began delivering equipment that was used in the November election to the state fairgrounds, where the recount is to include all 2.1 million ballots.
The work by contractors hired by the state Senate is expected to take weeks.
The Washington Examiner reported the Arizona Democratic Party filed its lawsuit, asking for a temporary restraining order to stop the audit of the Maricopa County election count.
Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, one of the plaintiffs, claimed that the lawsuit is “to protect the sanctity of the ballots.”
He also claims his attempt to halt the verification process is to “preserve voters’ privacy from a sham audit that has been corrupted by agitators and conspiracy theorists.”
The county already had done audits that officials said showed no irregularities.
The Examiner said Senate President Karen Fann, one of the defendants, has promised independence and transparency in the audit, which would include the goal of restoring voter confidence.
A defendant in the Democrats’ lawsuit is Cyber Ninjas, the Florida company hired to do the audit.
Gallardo also claimed the process was being funded by “dark money influencers” and charged the company that was hired was not qualified.
The Examiner reported the Arizona Senate Democrats released a statement supporting Gallardo’s position.
“It’s clear that this audit is no more than a temper tantrum from those still upset that they lost the election and it is deeply damaging to the integrity of our elections and our democracy,” the statement said.
A court upheld the right of the Senate Republicans to conduct the review.
The Associated Press reported Ken Bennett, a former Arizona secretary of state, said security is tight for the 2.1 million ballots that will be reviewed.
Bennett said that in addition to the recount, the mail ballot signatures and the tabulation machines used will be audited.
Shortly after the election, judges dismissed several lawsuits challenging the results in Arizona, as happened in five other states. But nearly every case was dismissed on technical issues of standing and timing, not on the merits.
One issue that is not in doubt – and remains of concern – is that state officials, without constitutional authority, changed election laws to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic
The changes mostly were related to mail-in ballots, which are more susceptible to fraud. Democrats pushed for the expansion of mail-in balloting, arguing it was needed to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic.