PHOENIX - Attorneys representing Arizona Senate President Karen Fann said there’s no reason the audit of Maricopa County’s 2020 election results should be stopped right now.
They also maintained the audit won’t change anything about who was elected.
"Joe Biden’s going to be the president at the end of this audit. Mark Kelly’s going to be the Senator at the end of this audit. This isn’t changing anyone’s vote, and so if they’re going to get a renewed TRO they have to show you irreparable injury. Which person has been irreparably injured or will be while this case unfolds?" said Kory Langhofer, Attorney for Senate President Fann.
Lawyers representing both Republicans and Democrats argued back and forth in a lawsuit that looked to at least temporarily stop the audit taking place at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix.
The firm running the recount, Cyber Ninjas, wants to keep the methods of the audit sealed.
"What our client earnestly wishes is that plaintiffs would work with us. If they see something in violation of the law, bring it to our attention," says Alexander Kolodin, Cyber Ninjas Attorney.
The state's Democratic Party has raised serious questions about security and processes in the lawsuit.
Fann went on KTAR radio Tuesday morning to talk about the audit, saying, "Some of the media that’s been out there are trying to connect everything with Stop the Steal, QAnon, which has never ever been the situation. When this first started from the very beginning, I contacted the board of supervisors and said, 'We’re going to have problems with this election. I could tell by the emails, we need to do a full-on audit.'"
The state Senate used its subpoena power to take possession of all 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County and the machines that counted them, along with computer hard drives full of data. They’ve handed the materials over to Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based consultancy with no election experience run by a man who has shared unfounded conspiracy theories claiming the official 2020 presidential election results are illegitimate.
The process is alarming election professionals who fear the auditors are not up to the complex task and will severely undermine faith in democracy.
"I think the activities that are taking place here are reckless and they in no way, shape or form resemble an audit," said Jennifer Morrell, a partner at Elections Group, a consulting firm advising state and local election officials, which has not worked in Arizona.
Court proceedings during the audit process
Tuesday was the first time the local media has been briefed on the recount of the election in Maricopa County since last Thursday.
This happened as Arizona's Democratic party continues its attempt to stop the audit in court.
The official in charge of speaking to local journalists announced last Friday that daily briefings would be canceled due to pending litigation.
The keyword that's been used by auditors is "transparency," despite not revealing who is funding the audit and how much it all costs.
The new judge hearing the challenge to stop the audit also has doubts about the audit. The previous presiding judge recused himself from the hearing of this case.
Former Secretary of State and now liaison for Arizona's Republican-led Senate, Ken Bennett, held a news conference for the first time in nearly a week.
"Whether we have two shifts a day or go to three or four, the press will be allowed in on every shift," he said.
With 2.1 million ballots inside the coliseum, Bennett could not say how many have been hand counted since Friday, but estimated the number at less than 100,000.
"We are on track to have the counting of the ballots done by the end of the time we have Veterans Memorial Coliseum to do the work in," he said.
The Senate has the site until May 14.
Bennett says this recount will be done fairly despite the audit being run privately by Cyber Ninjas and without bipartisan observers.
"We're gonna be able to tell every Arizonan in a few weeks that they can have complete integrity and trust in their elections or that we have some parts of the election that need to be improved," he said.
On Tuesday, the legal battle between Arizona Democrats and the state Senate continued with Judge Daniel Martin hearing arguments on whether or not to stop the audit.
Martin says he's not yet convinced voter privacy is being secured.
"I am not yet persuaded that there has been a showing that the rights of the voters in Maricopa County are being protected," he said.
In court on Wednesday, policies and procedures will be addressed. The attorney for Cyber Ninjas wants those details kept secret. The judge will take testimony on the request in the hearing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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