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The judge has doubts about the confidentiality of voters during the Arizona recount

Pyunik (AP) – A judge hearing a crackdown on voter privacy policies during the Republican-controlled 2.1 million 2020 ballot recount in the Arizona Senate, which includes the Phoenix Metro, said Tuesday he was not convinced voter privacy was being maintained.

Maricopa County Supreme Court Justice Daniel Martin’s comments came at the end of a lengthy hearing when he refused to extend a previous judge’s order that Senate-hired auditors comply with state voter privacy laws, at least until Wednesday’s hearing.

“I will share with all of you, I am not yet convinced that anything has shown that the rights of voters are being protected in the Maricopa region,” Martin said. “And I think we’ll talk about that tomorrow when we talk about policies, procedures, whether they can be kept out of the public eye.”

Arizona Democrat և Lonely Democrats of the UN-controlled Maricopa County Supervisory Board sued the state Senate ական for election oversight contractor Cyber ​​Ninjas on Thursday. They want to end President Biden’s 2020 campaign. Recount the presidential election if they are not guaranteed voter confidentiality and ballot secrecy.

The judge, who resigned from the controversial case on Friday, ordered a recount if the Democrats placed a $ 1 million bond, which the party refused to do. He ordered the Senate to withdraw private election auditors from the state voter-ballot privacy law, and Cyber ​​Ninjas to work out its recount policy and procedures in court.

The Cyber ​​Ninjas are a Florida-based, non-partisan firm led by Doug Logan, who has shared a baseless conspiracy theory claiming that the official results of the 2020 presidential election are illegal. His lawyer seeks to keep his recount policies and procedures for secrecy of the ballot secret, arguing that they are trade secrets and that the Senate is unprotected from legal action as a separate branch of government.

Martin intends to testify at Wednesday’s hearing on his request for confidentiality. He said he planned to discuss whether to order a recount again or to renew the previous judge’s orders on ballot secrecy.

He opened the hearing on Tuesday, rejecting Senate attorneys ‘arguments that they were not obliged to back down the state election law, which states how constitutional voters’ rights are protected.

“The Arizona Senate has the constitutional authority to conduct an audit within the framework of its legislative function,” Martin said. “However, the conduct of this audit must be balanced by the constitutional rights of voters in the Marikopa region, including the right to privacy and information confidentiality.”

At the same time, the recount continues at the Veterans Memorial at State Fairs. Dozens of workers began counting all ballots in the Marikopa district on Friday, with little transparency; the press barred them from leaving the polling station if they were registered as official observers, and arranged for a six-hour shift.

Democrat Rupali Desai told Martin that the audit was fraught with problems from the start, “he was concerned about the refusal to disclose information about who was counting, and how the secrecy of the ballots was protected.”

“They say they sincerely want to comply with the law. “Well, what steps do they take to make sure their wish comes true?” Desai told the judge. “They say that there are many procedures to protect the integrity of ballots and cars. Where are these procedures? Why haven’t people in Marikopa seen them? “

Republican Sen. Karen Fan’s lawyer, Corey Langhofer, said the auditors would absolutely backtrack, but he noted that the previous judge’s order was unclear, and that many laws did not apply to audits, which were not a formal recount that could change the election. result:

He said that the ballots are anonymous, no voter can be identified.

“Which voter has the right to vote?” Langhofer said. “At the end of this audit, Joe Biden is going to be president. At the end of this audit, Mark Kelly is going to become a senator. This does not change the outcome of anyone’s vote. “

A Senate audit could not reverse the election results, but Republicans in control of the state Senate say it is necessary to restore voter confidence and help change state electoral laws. Senate Democrats describe the audit as an attempt to perpetuate the “Big Lie,” which they call former President Donald Trump’s claim that he lost the election only because of electoral fraud.

The Republican-dominated Marikopa County Board of Supervisors is overseeing the election results, which showed Biden winning the county by just over 45,100 votes and Trump losing the state by nearly 10,500 votes.

The commissioners conducted a number of pre-election and post-election inspections to verify the accuracy of the voting machines, including the manual counting of a representative sample of ballots. They later hired two audit firms that reported no malware or miscalculations, and concluded that none of the computers or devices were connected to the Internet.

Fan, the president of the Senate, blamed the media for the need to increase security on the ground after the TV reporter entered the institution, walked to the ballot papers without any dispute. In an interview with KTAR Radio on Tuesday, he said that the media regularly receive briefings and are allowed some access.

That is not true. Former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who serves as the Senate liaison with private auditors, is accused of speaking to the media but did not report to the media the day before the recount began on Friday. The media was allowed on Friday with heavy restrictions, but Bennett agreed to allow them to return on Monday.

Bennett scheduled a briefing Tuesday night.

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