ONE STEP CLOSER: Court Rules Arizona Senate Must Release Election Audit Records

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Court rules Arizona Senate must release election audit records

The Arizona Court of Appeals on Thursday ruled that the leading contractor of Arizona’s audit of the Maricopa County 2020 election results must turn over documents related to the effort.

By: Caroline Vakel, The Hill, August 21, 2021:

American Oversight, a watchdog group, has been seeking documents regarding the county’s recount and audit, which was initiated because former President Trump disputed the 2020 election results in battle ground states like Arizona.

The watchdog group had been involved in a legal fight with Arizona’s Senate over the public release of the documents, The Associated Press reported.

“The Senate defendants, as officers and a public body under the (records law), have a duty to maintain and produce public records related to their official duties,” the judges wrote on Thursday, according to The Arizona Republic. “This includes the public records created in connection with the audit of a separate governmental agency, authorized by the legislative branch of state government and performed by the Senate’s agents.”

The judges wrote in their decision that government contractors, such as Florida-based company Cyber Ninjas, are still subject to Arizona Public Records laws, which Republicans had argued against.

“The requested records are no less public records simply because they are in the possession of a third party, Cyber Ninjas,” they wrote, according to the Arizona Republic.

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge issued a similar decision, telling the Arizona Senate that it had to release the records by Aug. 31, the AP noted; however, the state Senate later appealed that decision.

Senate President Karen Fann (R) said the Senate would appeal the Thursday decision, though she added that the Senate has nothing to hide.

“If this were to win, anybody that does business with a municipality, they would be subject to open records requests,” Fann said, according to the Arizona Republic.

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