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Tags: Arizona Election Review | Records

Arizona Supreme Court: Senate Can Keep Election Audit Records Secret

Arizona Supreme Court: Senate Can Keep Election Audit Records Secret
(AP)

Wednesday, 31 August 2022 04:48 PM EDT

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the state Senate can keep hundreds of secret emails and other records related to its review of the 2020 election because they are “privileged” and exempt from disclosure under state public records law.

The unanimous ruling means the public will likely never know much of what Republican Senate President Karen Fann and GOP Sen. Warren Petersen, who heads the judiciary committee, were telling Doug Logan and others involved in the “audit.”

Logan heads Cyber Ninjas, the inexperienced firm the Senate hired to oversee the audit of computers and ballot counting machines and recount by hand 2.1 million ballots cast in 2020's election in Maricopa County.

President Joe Biden's win led former President Donald Trump to allege that he lost in Arizona and other battleground states because of fraud. The Senate then launched the review, with the ballot count results holding up.

Logan's report did raise a series of other claims about potential problems with the election. They include the potential for election equipment to be connected to the internet or that large numbers of ballots were cast by dead voters.

The ruling written by Justice John Lopez says legislative privilege applies because the audit was part of an investigation that could conceivably lead to new election laws. That is enough to shield the approximately 1,000 emails, text messages and other communications the Senate refused to release.

“The Audit is a legislative activity within the legislature’s authority, and communications concerning this activity are covered by legislative privilege,” Lopez wrote. “Consequently, the Senate’s internal communications concerning the authorization, planning, and findings of the Audit investigation are privileged.”

The ruling overturns both a trial court judge and the state court of appeals, which took narrow views of legislative privilege and held that the public had a right to know what senators discussed about the audit.

“It's a win for the Senate on every issue unanimously,” said Kory Langhofer, the Senate's lawyer. “It couldn't be a better ruling.”

The Senate will have to reveal any records that are political in nature or involve the administration of the audit itself, but the Senate had already agreed to do that.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Newsfront
The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the state Senate can keep hundreds of secret emails and other records related to its review of the 2020 election because they are "privileged" and exempt from disclosure under state public records law.
Arizona Election Review, Records
361
2022-48-31
Wednesday, 31 August 2022 04:48 PM
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