On Thursday, the day before the full forensic 2020 election audit of Arizona’s most populous county was to begin, the Arizona Democratic Party sued to try to block it from going forward.
In a lawsuit filed in Superior Court of Maricopa County by the Arizona Democratic party along with Democrat Steve Gallardo, who serves on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, seeks an injunction to block the audit from proceeding and to also have it declared unlawful.
The complaint names GOP Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen as defendants, among others.
The Democrats allege that Senate Republicans do not have proper procedures in place to ensure the security of the ballots and call into question the independence of the companies the lawmakers contracted to oversee the audit.
“The sole reason for this lawsuit and injunctions is to protect the sanctity of the ballots and more importantly to preserve voters’ privacy from a sham audit that has been corrupted by agitators and conspiracy theorists,” Gallardo tweeted on Thursday.
“This corrupted process will not be transparent, dark money influencers have handed picked the folks to observe and witness the “audit” that will be conducted by an uncertified and unqualified group,” he added.
2/ money influencers have handed picked the folks to observe and witness the “audit” that will be conducted by an uncertified and unqualified group.
— Supervisor Steve Gallardo (@Steve_Gallardo) April 22, 2021
In response to the Democrats’ suit, Fann told the Arizona Republic, “We are keeping the sanctity of the ballots.”
She also is “seriously wondering what they are afraid of.”
The Arizona Republican Party chided Democrats for the last-minute lawsuit too, tweeting, “Democrats doing everything to stop audit, including filing lawsuits attacking the ‘integrity’ of the process.
“So NOW they care about #ElectionIntegrity?!?! Nope. They just don’t want Americans to be involved in our own elections.”
Democrats doing everything to stop audit, including filing lawsuits attacking the “integrity” of the process. So NOW they care about #ElectionIntegrity?!?! Nope. They just don’t want Americans to be involved in our own elections. Watch audit live at https://t.co/YgAKN8EcYu pic.twitter.com/Nz3r8bcyDJ
— Arizona Republican Party (@AZGOP) April 23, 2021
The Arizona Republic reported that Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury ordered a “pause” in the recount effective at 5 p.m. on Friday if Democrats post a $1 million bond.
Coury said he does not want to micromanage how the Senate conducts its audit.
“However, it is the province of the court to ensure voter information and those constitutional protections are held sacrosanct and that also includes the protection of ballots under Arizona law.”
Coury has set another hearing for Monday at 11 a.m.
Arizona Democratic Party Chair Raquel Terán indicated her party will not being posting the $1 million bond, calling it “laughable” and not worth risking over a “sham audit,” according to a news release.
AUDIT UPDATE: Maricopa County Superior Court has ruled that AZ audit will be paused at 5PM today (to allow for appeal) until Monday 12PM IF plaintiffs provide $1million bond for damages. Judge said “The audit will proceed” but he wants to review policies and procedures in place.
— Arizona Republican Party (@AZGOP) April 23, 2021
Trump praised the efforts of Arizona Republican senators to review November’s election.
“So many people would like to thank the brave and patriotic Republican State Senators from Arizona for the incredible job they are doing in exposing the large scale Voter Fraud which took place in the 2020 Presidential Election,” he said in a statement released on Friday.
President Trump releases statementon on forensic audit in Arizona pic.twitter.com/MvmgOlAi3c
— 🚨Patriot news (@Grahmptr) April 23, 2021
“Their tireless efforts have led to a massive recount, ballot examination, and full forensic audit, undertaken by experts retained by the State Senate, with results to be announced within six weeks,” he continued.
The 45th president said that Democrats have sent a team of lawyers to Arizona in an effort to stop the audit and the transparency that would come with it.
“THEY KNOW WHAT THEY DID!” Trump exclaimed. “The Democrats are desperate for the FRAUD to remain concealed because, when revealed, the Great States of Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, New Hampshire, and the Great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, would be forced to complete the work already started.”
He concluded, “I predict the results will be startling!”
Despite numerous allegations of voting irregularities, no court has ruled that there was widespread fraud that affected the results of the 2020 election.
President Joe Biden won Maricopa County (which encompasses the Phoenix metropolitan area) by 2.2 percentage points in November — representing a 5.1 percent swing in the Democrat’s favor from 2016, when Trump won it by 2.9 percent over failed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Despite Biden’s victory, Republicans carried every countywide office in Maricopa, save for sheriff (which the incumbent Democrat-held), including flipping the country recorder and winning the open treasurer seat.
Biden won Arizona by 10,457 votes (0.3 percent), the closest margin of any of the swing states that went for him.
A news release from the Arizona Senate Republicans last month indicated the audit will include scanning all 2.1 million paper ballots cast to look for irregularities, doing a full manual recount, investigating the registration rolls and votes cast, checking the vote counts, and performing a cyber forensic audit on the electronic voting machines and systems used.