Judge Rules Arizona’s Controversial Election Audit Must Make Its Records Public
A judge has ruled that the communications of the controversial Arizona election audit of the 2020 presidential election must be made public. This decision comes after several months of court proceedings. State Senate Majority Leader Karen Fann (R), who authorized the audit, had sought to keep the communications private.
Judge Micheal Kemp stated in his ruling that “it is difficult to conceive of a case with a more compelling public interest demanding public disclosure and public scrutiny.”
The lawsuit was filed by American Oversight, which has been pursuing many lawsuits including this one to publicize the questionable work of the audit of Maricopa County. American Oversight said in a statement that they “sued the Senate for failing to produce documents in response to public records requests.”
The Arizona Senate hired Cyber Ninjas to conduct an audit of the 2020 election. The company sought to evade public voting laws, claiming that as a private company they were not required to publish their findings despite having an impact on legislative decisions. Judge Kemp said that this “would be an absurd result and undermine Arizona’s strong policy in favor of permitting access to records reflecting governmental activity.”
This lawsuit sets important precedence that despite hiring outside companies to aid with electoral procedures, a state still has the responsibility to produce records.
In a statement following Judge Kemp’s decision, Austin Evers, American Oversight’s executive director issued a statement. “Starting now, the Arizona Senate is going to have to face real, public accountability,” he said. “For months, the public has been asked to trust the word of senators about the sham audit of the 2020 election. Arizona law does not allow the Senate to outsource democracy and shroud it in secrecy. This ruling makes clear that the Senate must immediately begin releasing records to the public.”