Senate Republicans subpoena more election info from Dominion, Maricopa County as audit continues

Sen. Warren Petersen and Senate President Karen Fann at the Senate hearing on the progress of the election audit in Maricopa County at the Arizona Senate in Phoenix on July 15, 2021.
Jen Fifield
Arizona Republic

Republican leaders of the Arizona Senate issued new subpoenas to Maricopa County supervisors and Dominion Voting Systems on Monday asking for additional election materials as the monthslong partisan review of the county's 2020 election continues.

In the subpoena to the county, Senate President Karen Fann and Senate Judiciary Chairman Warren Petersen demanded:

  • Information about data breaches to the county's election systems.
  • Ballot envelopes with voter signatures, or images of the envelopes.
  • Information about changes to the county's voter records. 
  • Routers and network data, some of which the senators had requested in original subpoenas to the county this past winter.
  • Usernames, passwords, tokens and pins to the vote-counting machines the county rents from Dominion, including all that would provide administrative access. This was also a repeat from the original subpoenas.

The subpoena to Dominion made the same request for usernames, passwords, tokens and pins to their machines. 

"This is specifically for all levels of access, including, but not limited to, administrator access or any other level of access required to access and print the configuration of the ICP2 devices," the subpoena says. ICP2 devices are the machines the county uses to tabulate ballots at vote centers on Election Day.

The new subpoenas demand that the supervisors and Dominion produce the materials at a 1 p.m. hearing on Aug. 2 at the state Capitol.

In addition to those demands, Fann sent a sweeping records request to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs' office asking for all records from her office concerning the 2020 general election, election audits and election litigation, including communications with local, state or federal government officials, the County Recorder's Office, political parties, contractors or subcontractors, counsel, media or fundraisers.

The subpoena to the county was expected after Fann and Petersen made it clear at a hearing earlier this month that their contractors would need more information from the county to fully complete a review of the election results, despite already getting through initial subpoenas of the county's 2.1 million ballots, vote counting machines and other election material. Contractors have been reviewing the material since April 23.

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In response to the subpoenas on Monday night, county spokesperson Fields Moseley said that the county "has already provided everything competent auditors would need to confirm the accuracy and security of the 2020 election."

"The board will review the materials requested with our legal team and respond in the coming days," Fields said.

Dominion has said before it will not provide any information to the Senate or its contractors because the contractors aren't accredited by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to examine voting systems.

Judge ruled initial subpoenas were valid

A judge ruled in February that the initial subpoenas for the ballots, machines and election material were valid after a lengthy court battle in which the county argued that the Senate did not have the authority to issue the subpoenas and argued that responding would put the county's voting machines and sensitive voter information at risk.

In that case, the judge said that the state Legislature has sweeping power to demand information that would help inform state election laws.

Since, questions have been raised about how much control the Senate Republicans have over the election review. The Senate is paying its lead contractor, Cyber Ninjas, $150,000 for the audit, but the contractors have said they are accepting outside money, and prominent "Stop the Steal" advocates have announced they are fundraising millions for the effort.

The lack of transparency about who is paying for the audit, the audit's ever-changing procedures, and questions about the security of the ballots and voting machines have raised concerns from the Secretary of State's Office, the Democratic Party and election consultants across the country who have labeled the audit a sham.

There's also long been question about how much authority the Senate's liaison to the process, Ken Bennett, has over the audit. That all came to a head on Friday when Bennett was blocked from entering the fairgrounds building where the audit is taking place.

What the subpoena demands

The Senate's contractors have been attempting to piece together their own version of the county's election results since April with little help from the county's Republican-led Board of Supervisors.

Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers and others have said numerous times that they will not answer the contractors' questions directly because they believe the contractors are incompetent and they believe the audit is unnecessary.

The contractors say county leaders' refusal to help has put them in a tough spot as they attempt to sort out the election results from more than 2 million voters.

Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan and Ben Cotton, a leader of subcontractor CyFIR, told Fann and Petersen in a July 15 public hearing that they were missing critical information.

Petersen commented that without it, the contractors' final report would be incomplete.

In that hearing, Cotton and Logan made several false claims, including that a hacker in November gained access to the county's election management system, where the county stores its election results, and that the county failed to properly check voter signatures on ballot envelopes.

Second request for passwords and routers

Some of the information requested in the subpoena to the county appears to be aimed at getting more information about those claims, such as the voter envelopes and information about data breaches.

Some of the materials, the Senate leaders already had asked the county for in their original subpoenas.

That includes the information that would give them full administrative access to ballot tabulators. The county has said it already has provided the Senate with all of the information it has and has specifically said it does not have a device the contractors want for the ballot tabulators that would allow the contractors to get access to the firmware to show them how the device is programmed.

Dominion Voting Systems' statement in May said it would not provide information to unaccredited companies. Not only is Cyber Ninjas unaccredited, but the company has "demonstrated bias and incompetence" when handling the county's voting systems, Dominion's statement said.

"Releasing Dominion's intellectual property to an unaccredited, biased, and plainly unreliable actor such as Cyber Ninjas would be reckless, causing irreparable damage to the commercial interests of the company and the election security interests of the country," the statement says. "No company should be compelled to participate in such an irresponsible act."

A representative for Dominion said the company has no further comment at this time.

The county is spending millions of dollars on new vote-counting machines, saying that the county cannot use the existing ones after the contractors handled them.

The subpoena to the county asks again for the county's routers, or copies of the routers. The county has refused to provide the routers, citing security issues.

The subpoena also requests more network logs as the auditors attempt to check whether the county's vote-counting machines were connected to the internet. The county already found that was not the case in an independent audit it commissioned in February; the county transfers election results via flash drives, and its election server is not connected to any routers.

Along with the subpoenas, the Senate filed separate records request to the county that asks for the same materials requested in the subpoena but adds one item, asking for any communications sent or received by county elections Director Scott Jarrett related to the election between June 2020 and December 2020.

Reach the reporter at jen.fifield@azcentral.com or at 602-444-8763. Follow her on Twitter @JenAFifield