Senate President Karen Fann said the Legislature needs more materials and data from Maricopa County for an unprecedented and controversial review of 2020 election results that is heading into a third month.
Fann, R-Prescott, said at a hearing at the Capitol on Thursday that efforts to obtain those items likely would end up in a courtroom.
Also during the hearing, the Senate’s top contractor on the review recommended reviving plans to go door-to-door to inquire about some residents’ participation in last year’s general election.
The Senate had put an effort to dispatch canvassers on hold after the U.S. Department of Justice raised concerns that it could amount to voter intimidation and violate federal civil rights protections.
But Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, head of the Florida-based firm the Senate has hired to lead the audit, encouraged lawmakers to proceed with that plan.
“Based on the data we’re seeing, I highly recommend we do the canvassing because it’s the one way to know for sure whether the data we’re seeing are real problems,” Logan said.
Doing both a canvass of voters and taking the county back to court means the review effort that appeared to be wrapping up is likely to last even longer. Initially, the review was slated to end in May.
Sharpies, routers are back on agenda
Logan also raised several issues that Republican lawmakers have questioned for months as some argued to overturn the state’s presidential election results.
He noted concerns about ink bleeding through on ballots, a controversy that flared around Election Day after the county provided voters with felt-tipped markers at polling places. The marks that voters made bled through the opposite side of the ballots, but county officials noted that the columns on each side were not aligned to ensure that did not affect how votes were counted.
Still, more than two months after the county delivered about 2.1 million ballots to Cyber Ninjas pursuant to a Senate subpoena, Logan said more analysis is needed on that issue.
County officials have countered that the Senate’s contractors simply are not qualified and do not understand the state’s election processes.
Meanwhile, Logan outlined a list of additional materials he argued the Senate should obtain from the county, including computer network routers.
The county has refused to provide its routers, saying it would create a security risk and that it does not use the internet or routers to transfer election data during elections.
Fann said the Senate would seek the materials and said she expected to end up in court again with the county, signaling more legal battles ahead over the ongoing election review.
While the meeting on Thursday unfolded in a committee hearing room at the state Senate, it was not a hearing of any committee. The only lawmakers questioning Logan and others working on the audit were Fann and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert.
Democrats said they were not invited to sit in and ask questions but were only offered seats in the audience, which they declined.
“Don’t be fooled. This is in no way transparent or legitimate,” said Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix. “Republicans have refused to be bipartisan and transparent during this entire process.”
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: State Senate to seek more election material from Maricopa County; door-to-door questioning recommended