By Andrew Oxford | Arizona Republic
A judge on Tuesday raised concerns that the Arizona Senate and its contractor, the Florida-based firm Cyber Ninjas, have not protected the rights of voters as they recount the 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County during the last election.
But Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Martin said the Republican-controlled Senate has the authority to conduct what it has billed as an audit of the last election and left it for future hearings to decide exactly what rules apply and whether the public can see the procedures the Senate’s contractors are following.
The Arizona Democratic Party and Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo filed a lawsuit last week to stop the unprecedented undertaking before workers at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where the ballots are now housed, began poring through votes on Friday. The lawsuit argued that the process violates various election laws and does not include necessary measures to protect the security of the ballots.
A different judge on Friday ordered that the Senate’s contractors turn over some of its policies and procedures to the court. Lawyers for Cyber Ninjas moved over the weekend to keep the documents secret, however, and asked the court to shut the public and the press out of a hearing. The company argued making the documents public would compromise security and expose trade secrets.
That judge has since recused himself from the case and Martin did not rule on the argument Tuesday. He set another hearing for Wednesday to hear more on the issue.