Arizona newspaper goes to court for audit records from state senate, Cyber Ninjas

The Arizona Republic argues that the election audit records should be made public.
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Workers during the Arizona audit, May 3
Workers during the Arizona audit, May 3
(The Washington Post/Getty)

The Arizona Republic newspaper has filed a legal complaint in Maricopa County Superior Court to request financial records and communications about the 2020 election audit from the state senate and Cyber Ninjas.

The Republic initially filed a public records request for the information but was denied access, according to the newspaper's reporter, Ryan Randazzo, writing for azcentral.com.

The newspaper argues that because Cyber Ninjas is being contracted by the state senate with taxpayer dollars to audit the 2020 election in Maricopa County, the information Cyber Ninjas has obtained from the audit should be public record.

David Bodney, who is the attorney representing The Republic, said, "The Senate asserts that it is not even required to ask Cyber Ninjas to share copies of its Arizona audit records with them, much less disclose them to the public."

With regard to a similar, ongoing case brought by American Oversight, the attorneys for the state senators argued, "Private corporations that serve as vendors to the state government are not 'public bodies.' It follows that any documents in their possession, custody or control are outside the scope of the Arizona Public Records Act."

In its complaint, The Republic asks the court to set a deadline for both the state senate and Cyber Ninjas to provide both the records requested and legal fees. Also, the newspaper wants the court to require the defendants to explain why it is not entitled to the records.

Greg Burton, The Republic executive editor, said in a court declaration, "Despite promises by Senate leaders that its vote audit would be transparent, the operations of the recount have been carried out largely in secret by hired, not elected, parties performing the functions of elected officials."