Arizona Attorney General Tells Maricopa County: Give Up Election Information or Lose State’s $700 Million

In a major escalation in the fight over Arizona’s Maricopa County’s refusal to comply with a Senate election audit subpoena, the state attorney general’s office ordered the county to give in or lose its state funding, which provides nearly a third of the county’s budget.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said that the county, America’s fourth largest in population, is violating state law by not complying with the Senate’s request for routers in its 2020 election audit and review of former President Donald Trump’s loss,

The finding means the supervisors have until Sept. 27 to comply or face the prospect of losing hundreds of millions of dollars of sales-tax revenue the state shares with the county.

The supervisors contended they did not break any laws because the Senate had no ability to enforce its subpoena powers once the legislative session ended on June 30. But the Attorney General investigation found that argument only speaks to a remedy to enforcing a subpoena and does not address the fact that ignoring a subpoena is illegal.

Brnovich said, “Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is in violation of state law for failing to comply with the Arizona Senate’s legislative subpoena related to the 2020 election audit. If MCBOS does not change course, the AGO will notify the Arizona Treasurer to withhold Maricopa County’s state-shared funds as required under the law.”

According to county and state estimates, the state provides about $700 million a year to the county, over a quarter of its $2.7 billion budget, said a recent story by Paul Bedard in The Washington Examiner.

In a statement, Brnovich added, “We are notifying the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors that it must fully comply with the Senate’s subpoena as required by the law. Our courts have spoken. The rule of law must be followed.”

The state, which Biden won by just 10,457 votes, has been ground zero for the national election audit effort.

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen have pressed the county and Dominion Voting Systems to produce routers, traffic logs, mail-in ballot envelopes, and other information in their investigation. The county has refused.

Meanwhile, Brnovich said on a related issue that he has not seen any results from the Senate’s audit of the election. “The Arizona Audit of the 2020 election is still underway. At this time, the AGO has not received any report related to the Senate’s audit, but stands ready to review the official findings and any information submitted after a final report is completed by the Senate,” said the memo.

Read Brnovich’s memo here.

Posted Aug. 27, 2021

House Democrats Make Pre-emptive Strike, Announce ‘Investigation’ of Arizona Election Audit

House Democrats on July 14 announced that they will be “investigating” the ongoing audit of the 2020 election centered around Arizona’s Maricopa County, which Joe Biden “won” by about 10,000 votes.

Dead voters (Marolis and Cox, Townhall Media 2021)

From Margolis and Cox, Townhall Media

“In a letter addressed to the CEO of Cyber Ninjas, the firm hired to conduct the audit, Democrats belittled the effort, attempted to discredit it, and pronounced that any questioning of the election results was a ‘big lie’ that’s already been debunked,” reports Townhall.com.

The letter, linked below, makes a number of largely baseless, obviously partisan charges against Cyber Ninja in a clear attempt to preemptively discredit whatever report they end up delivering. Toward the end of the letter, House Democrats demand a series of documents, including training materials given to those conducting the audit. It appears they want basically everything the company has ever recorded, which is likely an attempt to intimidate and inundate the company with information requests.

House Dems demand tons of info.

LINK to Complete Letter HERE.

The House Dems also want all communications with former President Donald J. Trump, his officials, and any campaign figures. The letter is signed by Carolyn Maloney and Jamie Raskin, the latter of which, ironically, objected to the certification of Trump’s presidential win in 2016.

“The real question is why now?” asks Townhall’s Bonchie. “This audit has been going on for a while. With a report nearing completion, the rush to try to preemptively tear it down before even seeing the first piece of evidence is too clever by half. It smacks of fear that something may actually have been found that would prove fraud occurred.”

Did Maricopa County Officials Just Accidentally Admit Voting Machines Can Be Compromised?

Officials in Maricopa County announced they will replace the voting machines that were subpoenaed during the forensic audit of the 2020 election, alleging concerns about “security and integrity,” PJ Media reported June 30.

“The voters of Maricopa County can rest assured, the County will never use equipment that could pose a risk to free and fair elections. The County recognizes (Arizona) Secretary (of State Katie) Hobbs’ authority under A.R.S. § 16-442 to certify equipment for use in Arizona’s elections. As a result, the County will not use the subpoenaed equipment in any future elections,” the county said in a statement on Monday.

Sen. Schumer meme - If Americans won't vote for Dems...

“The voters of Maricopa County can rest assured, the County will never use equipment that could pose a risk to free and fair elections. The County recognizes (Arizona) Secretary (of State) Hobbs’ authority under A.R.S. § 16-442 to certify equipment for use in Arizona’s elections. As a result, the County will not use the subpoenaed equipment in any future elections,” the county said in a statement on Monday.

County officials, who have always opposed the audit, have long alleged, without any evidence, that subpoenaed machines could be compromised by the auditors and, in fact, acquired new machines for local elections held this year. The county also reportedly refused to provide subpoenaed routers.

In May, it was reported that “significant discrepancies” had been uncovered during the audit, though a full report on the findings isn’t expected until late July or August.

Other states have sent delegations to Maricopa County as they consider conducting their own forensic audits. An audit is currently underway in Fulton County, Georgia, and it is expected that a forensic audit could be coming to Pennsylvania. Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania are all battleground states where multiple allegations of election irregularities and fraud were made.

But claims that machines can be hacked were deemed “false” by fact-checkers in the wake of the Trump campaign’s allegations. For example, USA Today‘s fact check in January about Dominion voting machines (which were used in Maricopa County) concluded that “assertions that machines can be hacked, votes were dumped and test ballots can be counted are false.”

PJMedia asks: But wait? If they can’t be hacked, why would Maricopa County officials claim that they have to replace their machines after the audit?

Were the fact checks false? Instead of proving that voting machines were not hackable—something we were simply supposed to believe without any forensic examination—did they just admit the opposite is true? They are basically saying, “Trust the liberal county officials not to hack the machines, but don’t trust the Republican-hired auditors not to hack them.”

Of course, we’ve known for a while that voting machines could be hacked. In 2019, Democrats warned about voting machines “switching votes.” Joe Biden even said he was concerned about manipulated voting machines before the election, and perhaps most revealing of all, a computer scientist literally demonstrated how easy it is to hack voting machines.

So, have Maricopa County officials simply proven what we already know: that voting machines can be hacked? It all comes down to trusting those with custody of the machines not to hack them. They essentially just proved why the audit was absolutely necessary.

If voting machines were truly unhackable, as fact-checkers have claimed, Maricopa County officials wouldn’t have to grandstand with baseless claims that the auditors might have compromised the machines. Quite frankly, I trust the auditors more than I trust Maricopa County officials—who have always acted like they’ve had something to hide.

Posted June 30, 2021; source: Matt Margolis for PJMedia.com

Arizona GOP Lawmakers Strip Powers from Controversial Secretary of State Katie Hobbs

The Republican-controlled state Legislature in Arizona voted June 29 to revoke the Democratic secretary of state’s legal authority in election-related lawsuits, handing that power instead to Republican attorney general Mark Brnovich until Jan. 2, 2023.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) 300x180 Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (at left) has denounced the independent 2020 election audit in Arizona,  spearheaded by the state’s Republican senate, which is questioning voter fraud and irregularities surrounding Maricopa County’s ballot tally. The audit applied to 2.1 million ballots in the county’s jurisdiction, where Joe Biden allegedly defeated former President Trump by around 10,000 votes, and contracted the services of the small cybersecurity company and first-time election auditor Cyber Ninjas to conduct it.

The measure, sent to Gov. Doug Ducey, was part of a series of proposals inserted into major budget legislation, including several actions that address election integrity. Included is an appropriation of $500,000 for a study of whether social media sites interfered in state elections by promoting Democrats while suppressing Republicans.

Katie Hobbs has since set her sights on grander things, and on June 2 declared her candidacy for governor.

Posted June 30, 2021

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich Tells the Feds to Back Off the State’s Audit of the 2020 Election

In a June 14 letter Monday, Brnovich called U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s comments last week expressing concern about post-election audits “troubling.”

“Your statements displayed an alarming disdain for state sovereignty,” Brnovich wrote. “My office is not amused by the DOJ’s posturing and will not tolerate any effort to undermine or interfere with our State Senate’s audit to reassure Arizonans of the accuracy of our elections.”

The audit of the vote in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county, ordered by state Senate Republicans, began in April.

“Arizona will not sit back and let the Biden administration abuse its authority, refuse to uphold laws, or attempt to commandeer our state’s sovereignty,” Brnovich wrote.

Former President Donald Trump has praised the audit and urged other states to launch their own election reviews. (NOTE: The Washington Times, a never-Trumper news source some consider “conservative,” claimed that Trump “continues to make baseless claims that Democrats stole the election from him through widespread voter fraud.”)

GOP Chair Elise Stefanik: Justice Department Is ‘Trying to Block’ Maricopa County Audit

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who was recently elected as the House Republican Conference chair, said the Department of Justice’s questions about the Maricopa County, Arizona, audit of the 2020 election may be unconstitutional.

On May 5, the Justice Department sent a letter to Arizona Senate leader Karen Fann, a Republican, inquiring about the custody of the ballots under review by a group of private contractors, alleging that the group’s other processes—including the canvassing of addresses—could be considered “voter intimidation.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R.-NY)

“I support that audit,” Stefanik said after being asked about it in a Fox Business interview on May 16. “Transparency is good for the American people. And again, this should be a nonpartisan issue, whether you are Republican, Democrat, independent, or conservative, transparency is important, and the audit was passed by the Arizona state Senate.”

Stefanik later said that the “Biden Department of Justice is trying to block that audit,” which, she said, “is unconstitutional from my perspective.”

“Our states, constitutionally, are responsible for writing states’ constitution law,” she said.

Pamela Karlan, principal deputy assistant attorney general with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, wrote to Fann that “the proposed work of the audit raises concerns regarding potential intimidation of voters.”

Fann replied that the plan by election auditors to verify the validity of certain voters had been placed on hold.

“If and to the extent the Senate subsequently decides that canvassing is necessary to the successful completion of the audit, its vendor will implement detailed requirements to ensure that the canvassing is conducted in a manner that complies fully with the commands of the United States Constitution and federal and state civil rights laws,” Fann wrote earlier this month.

The Epoch Times reports that Stefanik’s comments on May 16 came just days after Dominion Voting Systems and Maricopa County officials said they wouldn’t provide passwords for election machines in Maricopa County. Dominion said it would comply with the audit, but that Cyber Ninjas—the company hired by the Arizona state Senate—isn’t accredited by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

Stefanik was approved last week in a vote by House Republicans to become the Republican Conference chair—the party’s No. 3 position in the House. She took over after GOP lawmakers voted to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), a frequent critic of former President Donald Trump and other Republicans, from the position.

Posted May 17, 2021

Arizona Senate Threatens Subpoenas: Az. GOP Chairman Kelli Ward Offers Update on Maricopa County Election Audit

Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward provides an update on the Maricopa County audit, including the legal battles, in the video below.  Chairwoman Ward outlines how the county board of supervisors has been discovered to have withheld material evidence from the audit despite a court order demanding compliance.

Officials in Maricopa County are refusing to comply with subpoenas from the state Senate that require them to turn over routers or router images to auditors reviewing the November 2020 election. There are certain to be more legal battles ahead as the auditors demand access to all the equipment, including the passwords the county is withholding. Stay tuned.

Posted May 10, 2021

Arizona Bans Post-Election Signature ‘Fix’ for Unsigned Mail-in Ballots

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a law that bans voters from adding signatures on unsigned mail-in ballots after Election Day.

The measure, Arizona Senate Bill 1003 (S.B. 1003), was approved earlier in the state legislature in party-line votes with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed.

mail truck delivers ballots for dems

The new law codifies a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Oct. 6, 2020, within one month of the 2020 election. It also ended disputes over unsigned mail-in ballots between the state Republicans and Democrats.

Current Arizona law allows election officials to contact voters to fix the signatures on the ballots if the signatures don’t match other signatures from records in the Department of Motor Vehicle, voter registration forms, or previous early ballots. The voters can fix the signatures, if they failed to pass the verification process, within up to five business days after Election Day.

While the new law didn’t change anything about the grace period for the signed ballots, it ended state Democrats’ efforts to add a similar grace period to unsigned ballots.

According to The Epoch Times, Hobbs’s move is part of efforts to honor a settlement in 2019 with the Navajo Nation, which would allow tribal voters with mismatched or missing signatures on mail-in ballots to correct their ballots with five business days after Election Day.

However, the efforts were stopped by appeals court judges who said, in alignment with the state Republicans, that the Democrats went too far by giving absentee voters five days after Election Day to correct missing signatures on mail-in ballots.

“All ballots must have some deadline, and it is reasonable that Arizona has chosen to make that deadline Election Day itself so as to promote its unquestioned interest in administering an orderly election and to facilitate its already burdensome job of collecting, verifying, and counting all of the votes in timely fashion,” the appellate court said.

The new law codified the appeal court’s ruling by adding an amendment to the current Arizona election law. The amendment requires all mail-in ballots to be delivered to the county recorder, other officers in charge of the election, or polling sites no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day.

“The ballot will not be counted without the voter’s signature on the envelope,” reads the amendment.

Another amendment in the new law required election officers to contact the voter if the signature is missing on the ballot. The deadline for adding a signature to a ballot should be no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer had urged Ducey to veto the measure, saying it would undermine the 2019 settlement.

Senate Unveils Election Contempt Charge Against Maricopa County Supervisors

The Arizona State Senate is moving ahead with its threat to pass a contempt resolution finding Maricopa County has failed to comply with a subpoena demanding access to elections equipment and ballots cast in the November election.

The Senate introduced the resolution on Feb. 3. Timing on a full Senate vote is unclear, but all 16 Republican senators, a majority of the 30-member Senate, are listed as sponsors.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (four of its five members are registered as Republican) on Feb. 2 again refused to comply with subpoenas GOP lawmakers issued to investigate ballots and voting machines as they try to ensure election integrity.

Courts have declined to accept lawsuits questioning election integrity. The Associated Press and other left-wing media claim the courts say there is no evidence Donald Trump lost; both the claim and the alleged “lack of evidence” are false.

Texas sues Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, charging ‘unconstitutional’ election actions

Stiglich editorial cartoon; Biden's gov't steal

The State of Texas is aiming to help Trump upend the election result. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (a Republican) filed suit at the U.S. Supreme Court against the states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, calling changes those states made to election procedures amid the coronavirus pandemic unlawful and unconstitutional.

“You might be wondering, what does Texas care about Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin?” Rush Limbaugh said Dec. 8. “If those four states are allowed to violate election law and if they are able to render state legislators irrelevant in writing election law, then they are being affected in Texas by violation of law, and they don’t want that to happen. They’re trying to make sure that election law is kept sacrosanct and that the Constitution is not violated. It’s a big case.”

Texas filed a motion for leave to file a “Bill of Complaint” with the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge the constitutionality of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin’s administration of the 2020 presidential election. The Supreme Court gave the states being sued a deadline of 3 p.m. Dec. 10 to file a response to Texas’ suit. Texas’ filing, which includes a request for expedited review and a preliminary injunction, runs more than 150 pages.

Under the Constitution, the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over certain types of cases, including those involving disputes between states. However, the court has to agree to hear the dispute, which is why Texas is asking for permission to file its suit.

“In its memorandum in support of its motion, Texas argues that the case ‘presents constitutional questions of immense national consequences,’ namely that the 2020 election suffered from serious constitutional irregularities, including violations by the defendant states of the Electors Clause and the Due Process Clause of the Constitution,” Margot Cleveland writes in The Federalist. “The brief also argues that a ruling would help ‘preserve the Constitution and help prevent irregularities in future elections’.”

Along with its Motion for Leave to File a Bill of Complaint, Texas also filed a Motion for Expedited Consideration of its motions, including its second motion, a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction, Temporary Restraining Order, or Alternatively a Stay. In this latter motion, Texas asks the court to order Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania not to take any action to certify presidential electors, participate in the Electoral College, or vote for a presidential candidate until the Supreme Court resolves Texas’s lawsuit.

Noting that federal law establishes Dec. 8 as a safe harbor for certifying presidential electors, that the Electoral College votes on Dec. 14, and the House of Representatives counts votes on Jan. 6, Texas implores the court to expedite the proceeding, as “absent some form of relief, the defendants will appoint electors based on unconstitutional and deeply uncertain election results.”

Count 1 – States Violated the Electors Clause

Notwithstanding some (mostly liberal) pundits calling the Texas lawsuit a “Hail Mary” attempt to block the outcome of the 2020 election, the Lone Star State’s complaint presents serious constitutional issues. Those issues, as Texas puts it, far exceed the electoral irregularities of “the hanging-chad saga of the 2000 (Bush-Gore) election.”

In its Bill of Complaint, filed along with its Motion for Leave, Texas presents three constitutional challenges. Count 1 alleges the defendant states violated the Electors Clause of the Constitution.

The Electors Clause of Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution provides “[e]ach state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.” As Texas notes, this clause “makes clear that only the legislatures of the States are permitted to determine the rules for appointing presidential electors.”

But, as Texas reveals in its detailed summary of the facts, each of the defendant states, through non-legislative actors, nullified legislatively established election laws in violation of the Electors Clause. For example, The Federalist reports and the lawsuit alleges, several large Wisconsin counties used drop boxes in direct violation of the Wisconsin Election Code that provides detailed procedures by which municipalities may designate sites for the acceptance of absentee ballots. Wisconsin election officials also ignored the statutory certification requirements for absentee ballots, counting votes that the state legislature defined as illegal because they did not include a witness signature and address.

Michigan election officials likewise violated the statutory mandates established by the state legislature, with the secretary of state mass mailing absentee ballots in contravention of state law. And in Wayne County, the home of Detroit’s Democratic stronghold, election officials ignored the state’s signature verification requirement. Georgia also violated the legislature’s requirement for signature verifications, according to Texas’s complaint.

The most egregious violations alleged came from Pennsylvania, where election officials ignored the statutory bar on inspecting ballots before election day, then illegally provided voter information to third parties and allowed illegal curing of the ballots. Significantly, in Pennsylvania these illegal practices only occurred in Democratic strongholds, with Republicans following the law.

These and other practices, Texas alleges, establish a clear violation of the Electors Clause, because that clause makes clear that it is the state legislature—and not administrative agencies, election officials, or even courts—charged under our constitutional system with selecting electors. (This argument finds support in the three-justice concurrence authored by then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist in Bush v. Gore.) From there, Texas’s Count 1 argues that “electors appointed to Electoral College in violation of the Electors Clause cannot cast constitutionally valid votes for the office of President.”

Count 2 – States Violated the Equal Protection Clause

In Count 2, Texas relied on the same facts, then asserted an Equal Protection claim, premised on the reasoning of the majority opinion in Bush v. Gore. In Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court held that the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution is violated when states apply differing standards for judging the legality of votes cast for president.

“The right to vote is protected in more than the initial allocation of the franchise,” the Supreme Court wrote. “Equal protection applies as well to the manner of its exercise. Having once granted the right to vote on equal terms, the State may not, by later arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person’s vote over that of another.”

Then, citing its detailed statement of the facts, which highlighted the defendant states’ disparate treatment of voters, Texas argues in Count 2 that “equal protection violations in one State can and do adversely affect and diminish the weight of votes cast in States that lawfully abide by the election structure set forth in the Constitution.”

Count 3 – States Violated the Due Process Clause

Finally, in Count 3, Texas asserts a violation of the Due Process Clause of the Constitution. This claim is premised on Texas’s allegation that the election practices of the defendant states in 2020 reached “the point of patent and fundamental unfairness,” thus violating substantive due process.

These three counts, and the detailed facts Texas alleges, make clear that Texas’s beef is not with the states’ election laws, but with the states’ violation of their own election laws, in contravention of the U.S. Constitution.

Seventeen other states have filed briefs supporting Texas’ suit.

Texas’ Standing to Sue

Merely alleging the defendant states violated the Constitution, however, is not enough. Texas must also establish that it has “standing” to sue, meaning it has been injured in a way entitling it to stand before the court and seek redress. In its Motion for Leave, Texas argues at great length that it has standing, and presents three separate bases for it.

First, Texas claims the right to present the constitutional claims of its citizens, who “have the right to demand that all other States abide by the constitutionally set rules in appointing presidential electors to the electoral college.”

Second, Texas “presses its own form of voting-rights injury as States” premised on the structure of the Constitution. “Whereas the House represents the People proportionally, the Senate represents the States,” Texas notes. Thus, “[w]hile Americans likely care more about who is elected President, the States have a distinct interest in who is elected Vice President and thus who can cast the tiebreaking vote in the Senate,” the Texas brief stresses. “Through that interest,” the brief continues:

States suffer an Article III injury when another State violates federal law to affect the outcome of a presidential election. This injury is particularly acute in 2020, where a Senate majority often will hang on the Vice President’s tie-breaking vote because of the nearly equal — and, depending on the outcome of Georgia run-off elections in January, possibly equal — balance between political parties. Quite simply, it is vitally important to the States who becomes Vice President.

Finally, Texas argues it has standing to sue as a representative of the state’s “electors.” These electors, Texas argues, suffer a “legislative injury whenever allegedly improper actions deny them a working majority.” Since “[t]he electoral college is a zero-sum game,” the unconstitutional appointment of electors in other states injures Texas’s electors, according to the briefing.

Texas is Not Seeking to Overturn the Election

These injuries, Texas asserts, demand a remedy. But the remedy sought is not what some may surmise is the goal—a second term for President Trump. No, what Texas seeks is for the Supreme Court to mandate that the defendant states comply with the Constitution, and that means that electors are selected by the states’ legislatures. Texas makes this point clear, stressing: “Plaintiff State does not ask this Court to decide who won the election; they only ask that the Court enjoin the clear violations of the Electors Clause of the Constitution.”

Texas’ filing includes the following:

Our Country stands at an important crossroads. Either the Constitution matters and must be followed, even when some officials consider it inconvenient of our of date, or it is simply a piece of parchment on display at the National Archives. We ask the Court to choose the former.