PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and the Arizona State Senate have reached a settlement on the election audit subpoena.
On late afternoon Friday Chairman Jack Sellers announced the settlement with Senate President Karen Fann.
In the settlement, Maricopa County will not seek to recoup the $2.8 million cost of replacing election equipment that Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) said she will not re-certify on the advice of federal security officials since the equipment left the custody of county election officials.
In turn, the Senate will drop their subpoena issued on July 26 in which they sought the county’s routers, network logs and voter registration database.
A special intermediary will be appointed by the county to work with the state senate to answer questions they may have about the county’s networking equipment and how they were used in the election as well as upcoming elections.
County leaders, spearheaded by Sheriff Paul Penzone forcefully objected to handing over the network routers out of concern of exposing sensitive law enforcement data, something senate audit leaders have denied would occur since the subcontractor that would have analyzed the routers, CyFir, is well versed in handling sensitive data.
This action signals an end is in sight for state senate election review that began on April 22. A public meeting is scheduled for September 24 in which Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, who led the efforts, will present his findings in front of Senate President Karen Fann and Judiciary Chairman Warren Petersen.
Under the agreement, an independent third party (the Special Master) will hire a team of technology experts to review the County’s routers and splunk logs and then answer questions posed by the Arizona Senate. At all times, the routers will remain in production and in the custody of Maricopa County. The agreement is structured in a way that ensures no personal identifying information or sensitive law enforcement or court-related information is revealed.
“This agreement is a step in the right direction to putting this nonsense behind us," said Chairman Jack Sellers, District 1 in a statement. "The Cyber Ninjas will never be able to touch the routers or access our data. An independent third party can confirm what we've always said: the election equipment was not connected to the internet and no vote switching occurred. And our residents, law enforcement, and courts can all rest assured that their data and equipment are protected.”
Following the settlement, Maricopa County released the following statement:
"While the County disagrees with that finding, litigation always comes with risk. County leaders determined they would not be able to do the people’s work in either worst-case scenario—whether the County is forced to turn over routers directly to the Senate, or if nearly $700 million in revenue was withheld.
The agreement with the Senate comes with a provision that the Senate President write a letter to the Attorney General stating the County has now fully complied with the Senate’s outstanding subpoenas and that further action is not warranted."
In a statement Friday, the Arizona State Senate Republican Caucus says:
“Under threat of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue sharing, today Maricopa County settled with the State Senate, in a victory for election integrity and the Arizona taxpayer. The agreement sets up a Special Master paid for by the County, who will get the answers to questions the Senate has had concerning the routers and splunk logs used in the 2020 election. Former Congressman John Shadegg will serve as the Special Master, working with computer technology experts. The Senate will finally get the answers to questions asked for in subpoenas issued to the County months ago.
In addition, the County has agreed to drop its notice of claim of $2.8 million to replace election equipment delivered to the Senate as required in the January subpoena. Experts have told us there is nothing that has been compromised or damaged by the audit, and the Secretary of State failed to follow procedures regarding decertifying the machines. There is no reason taxpayers should be on the hook for purchasing unnecessary new election equipment.
I look forward to getting our final questions answered and wrapping up the review of the election in Maricopa County.”
On Saturday, Attorney General Mark Brnovich released the following statement:
"I have said from the beginning that the Senate has the right to conduct its audit. I am glad to see that because of my legal action, the Senate will obtain the information it needs to complete its audit. Arizonans deserve no less."