Court: Senate audit records must go public

More than 1 million ballots from the 2022 election were audited./Maricopa.gov

By Ryan Randazzo | Arizona Republic

The Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the state Senate’s bid to keep records from Cyber Ninjas and other contractors working on the election audit out of public view.

After the decision was announced, Senate President Karen Fann, R-Prescott, said she was preparing to comply with an order from a lower court to release the documents.

The Senate had refused to turn over records from the audit that are in the possession of its contractor, Cyber Ninjas, and other subcontractors, even after two Maricopa County Superior Court judges in separate cases and the Appeals Court all ruled they are public documents.

After the Appeals Court’s ruling, the Senate asked the Supreme Court to weigh in. The justices discussed the matter in a private conference Tuesday and decided not to take it up.

The Supreme Court also “dissolved” a stay it had issued that allowed the Senate to continue withholding the records pending the case’s outcome. The stay had paused a lower court order for the Senate to produce the records.

Fann said she will confer with her attorney on how to comply.

“What concerns me more is the fact that this ruling could open up a whole new precedent of two private companies having to divulge private communications between themselves and anyone that asks under a (public records) request,” Fann said in a text message to The Arizona Republic.

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