Arizona AG: Maricopa County violated law by not complying with Senate subpoena for 2020 election audit

The Arizona attorney general has found the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (MCBOS) in violation of state law for not complying with the state Senate's subpoena for the 2020 election audit.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued the decision after a Republican senator asked him if Maricopa County’s refusal to hand over routers, passwords and other items the Senate says it needs to complete the unprecedented partisan review violated state law.

The Senate issued the subpoena on July 26, and county officials said in a letter that they had either already provided all the information they had, they did not have access to that information, or that releasing that information would pose too much of a security risk.

The county has turned over its vote-counting machines, servers and huge amounts of data but balked at handing over routers its uses county-wide and passwords it says it does not control. It has said the routers were never connected to election tabulation equipment but were used by every county department, including the sheriff’s office, and that turning them over would compromise sensitive law enforcement information.

Brnovich, also a Republican, said that refusal to comply with the Senate’s subpoena violates state law and triggers another law that penalizes counties, cities or towns that have policies in conflict with laws enacted by the Legislature.

The Board of Supervisors ultimately refused to provide all of the requested material and did not successfully explain to the attorney general why they failed to comply, Brnovich said.

"Its only response was that the Arizona Senate is not currently in session, so MCBOS could not be held in contempt," Brnovich said in a statement.

The county has until Sept. 27 to comply or it will lose all the revenue it gets from the state — about 25% of its budget, which was $2.8 billion in 2020.

The latest subpoena demanded that the county turn over the envelopes from all mail-in ballots or images of them, network routers and traffic logs, detailed voter registration records with change histories, and records related to security breaches of election systems.

Maricopa County officials say some of what the Senate requested can be answered via public records requests, but the Senate's ask for routers, network data, and passwords for Dominion voting machines is being met with a flat out "no."

"On the passwords they've asked for, we told them before we don't have those passwords. We still don't have those passwords. It's kind of odd they asked for them because they gave us back those machines last week," said Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates.

The mostly Republican Board of Supervisors met in a closed-door executive session to discuss the new subpoenas. The requests for routers and passwords were already denied earlier this year, when the audit was in its earliest stages.

The decision comes after a report on the vote recount to state Senate Republicans was delayed yet again Monday after the Donald Trump supporter hired to lead the effort and several others involved contracted COVID-19.

It was the latest delay for the unprecedented partisan review, which has so far taken more than double the 60 days it was originally supposed to take.

The report was commissioned by Senate Republicans and funded mostly by Trump allies promoting his unsupported election fraud narrative. It will not be immediately made public. Rather, two senior Republican senators will review it along with their lawyers and advisers to decide whether the findings are supported by evidence.

Election experts have been highly critical of the review, which Senate President Karen Fann launched late last year as Trump and his allies hunted unsuccessfully for reasons to block the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.

Fann first issued a subpoena late last year as Trump and his allies were looking for materials to support their false claims of election irregularities before President Joe Biden’s victory was formally certified on Jan. 6. The subpoena was reissued early this year, and after a judge ruled it was valid, Maricopa County turned over 2.1 million ballots, hundreds of counting machines and terabytes worth of data.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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