PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Martin has dismissed a temporary restraining order aimed at pausing the Arizona Senate's recount of 2.1 million 2020 election ballots after hearing more arguments over voter privacy laws. Judge Martin said the plaintiffs failed to show enough evidence that there would be harm to voters due to the audit procedures currently being used.
“I will share with you all, I am not yet persuaded that there has been a showing that the rights of the voters in Maricopa County are being protected,” Martin said.
The Arizona Democratic Party and Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallego tried to halt the audit by filing an emergency restraining order last Thursday, a day before the count was supposed to begin. The lawsuit alleged Republican Senate President Karen Fann and another GOP senator promised a judge that they would protect the secrecy of the ballots and voter privacy. The lawsuit also alleges that Fann and Sen. Warren Peterson’s assurances were “illusory” because they’ve outsourced the recount to an “inexperienced third party with clear bias.”
The temporary pause fell through Friday evening, however, after the Arizona Democratic Party said it would not post the $1 million bond that the judge requested to cover any expenses that the Senate faced caused by the halt. The judge, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury, also ordered Cyber Ninjas, the private company hired to do the audit, to provide documents outlining their procedures. Instead, on Sunday Cyber Ninjas filed a motion to seal the documents and keep the public and press out of the hearings.
On Tuesday, Judge Martin said he was not convinced voter secrecy was being upheld regarding the challenge to voter privacy policies during the recount. In the follow up hearing Wednesday, Judge Martin denied Cyber Ninja's motion to close off their policies and procedures from the public and media. The Arizona GOP and Cyber Ninja have until noon Thursday to appeal, otherwise, the agency's documents will be made public.
Lawyers for the Arizona Democratic Party argued that once the Cyber Ninja's documents become available, they would be able to present more evidence to support a temporary restraining order. The Democratic Party will also be able to appeal the ruling.