Attorney General Mark Brnovich largely reiterated concerns raised by a widely panned election review conducted last year by supporters of former President Donald Trump on behalf of state Senate Republicans.
The report compiled by an outside special master and released by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors “should be a final stake in the heart of the Senate’s so-called ‘audit,’” Board Chairman Bill Gates said in a statement.
Republicans passed the bill out of the Senate Government Committee in a 4-3 party-line vote, but it is almost certain to die in a vote of the full Senate or in the House.
Among the bills killed were measures that would have created new criminal charges for a variety of missteps by election workers and contractors; created new rights for election observers, including the right to question election officials during counting; set new requirements for post-election audits and recordkeeping; required a unique serial number on each ballot.
Cyber Ninjas has tried repeatedly to get the Arizona Supreme Court to weigh in on lower court rulings that found it is subject to the state public records law, but the justices have declined to take the case.
The state’s highest court said it will consider whether the Arizona Court of Appeals and a trial court properly rejected the Senate’s claim that the records were protected under legislative privilege.
The findings in Pima County provide yet another official rebuttal of former President Donald Trump’s claims that voter fraud led to his loss in Arizona and other battleground states.
Doug Logan did not say whether his new firm would do essentially the same work as Cyber Ninjas, who ran the 2020 election audit, but he said his efforts have been running into obstacles.
The judge found Cyber Ninjas in contempt for its failure to turn over documents, which two Maricopa County judges and the state Court of Appeals have ruled are subject to the public records law.
Arizona election administrators and the mostly Republican leaders of Maricopa County have always maintained that the 2020 election audit was flawed.
The move to withdraw by attorney Jack Wilenchik is opposed by American Oversight, a government watchdog group that has for months been seeking records held by Florida-based Cyber Ninjas.
An Associated Press review in six states disputed by Trump has found fewer than 475 cases of potential voter fraud, a number that would have made no difference in the 2020 election.
The Senate and Cyber Ninjas have been battling for months over two public records lawsuits, one each filed by the parent of The Arizona Republic and American Oversight, a government watchdog group.
The judges reiterated the court’s earlier ruling that Cyber Ninjas records over the 2020 election audit are subject to the public records law.
"We will reform your government and work to build the most ethical and accountable administration in history," Hobbs told reporters during a news conference at the state Capitol.
One judge said last week that Cyber Ninjas, the Florida-based firm that led the Senate’s ballot review, is “playing with fire.”
The questioning of Adrian Fontes suggests Arizona AG Mark Brnovich is pressing ahead with his pledge to review the findings of the state Senate Republicans’ partisan review of the 2020 election.
"I did my job. I stepped up, served my country, served my people," Fann told The Associated Press. "It’s time for somebody else to step up now."
Election administrators are leaving the field as they face unsupported accusations of manipulating election results, a bipartisan group of state election officials told the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.
Arizona Secretary of State and candidate for governor Katie Hobbs is scheduled to speak to members of Congress on Tuesday in a Senate Committee hearing on "Emerging Threats to Election Administration."