Officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, where a Republican-backed audit of the 2020 election is underway, said they cannot give the audit team access to county router information that was subpoenaed by the state Senate.
In a Monday letter sent to Ken Bennett, a former Republican secretary of state in Arizona who is serving as the Republican-led state Senate’s audit liaison, Deputy County Attorney Joseph La Rue said the county “cannot at this time provide the virtual images of routers” to be examined by auditors, citing “a significant security risk to law enforcement data utilized by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office as well as numerous federal agencies.”
“We had previously believed that the risk would be eliminated by redacting the law enforcement data on the routers and not producing it,” La Rue said in the letter. “But we were informed that redaction did not eliminate the risk. We also learned that if criminal elements or others gained access to this data, it might compromise county and federal law enforcement efforts and put the lives of law enforcement personnel at risk.”
Bennett said in an interview with Just the News that the Senate’s subpoena had requested “access or control of all routers and tabulators … used in connection with the administration of the 2020 election,” along with “the public IP of the [routers].”
“I don’t know why the routers in a tabulation and election center have anything to do with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office or numerous federal agencies,” Bennett said, adding that “the sheriff’s department and the Maricopa County tabulation and election center aren’t even in the same building.”
County spokesman Fields Moseley told the Washington Examiner that county IT professionals made the determination that information contained in the routers “can be used as blueprints to intercept sensitive county data” across more than 50 different departments.
“The routers the Senate subpoena commanded the county produce support all of these departments, not just elections operations. This includes critical law enforcement data that, by law, cannot be disclosed, as well as Maricopa County residents’ protected health information and full social security numbers,” Moseley said.
“By providing the routers, or even virtual images of routers, sensitive data and the lives of law enforcement personnel could be endangered,” he said, adding that the “routers remain in the county’s custody for the time being.”
The Washington Examiner reached out to Bennett for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
The audit followed a legal battle between Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, and the GOP-led state Senate, during which a judge found the Legislature’s subpoenas of election materials and equipment “legal and enforceable.”
The audit started on April 23 and is centered at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. It consists of a recount of 2.1 million ballots cast, a forensic audit of the voting machines, and follow-up interviews with voters. Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based firm, was hired to lead the audit.
Former President Donald Trump has celebrated the audit, insisting it will show Arizona was a “scam election” state.
The hand recount, which focuses on the presidential election and U.S. Senate contest, will not change the results, as officials in the state have already certified President Joe Biden‘s victory and others, but Arizona Senate President Karen Fann insisted in a radio interview that the audit is meant to restore trust in the system and influence potential changes to the law.
Democrats argue that the results from two previous audits, conducted for the GOP-majority Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, showed no irregularities in the county’s 2020 election, calling it a “dangerous fishing expedition” that could feed conspiracy theories about the contest.