A Maricopa County judge on Friday temporarily halted a Republican-led effort in Arizona to recount ballots from the 2020 presidential election, after Democrats filed a lawsuit arguing that the audit violated state election security laws.
Republican State Senate officials have hired a private vendor to review nearly 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa, the state’s largest county, though there is no substantiated evidence of significant fraud or errors. Election officials and local courts have found no merit in the allegations, and the Republican-controlled county board of supervisors has also objected to the recount.
Judge Christopher Coury of Maricopa County Superior Court paused the audit from 5 p.m. Friday until 12 p.m. Monday. Another hearing was set for Monday morning, but the judge emphasized that he expected the audit to move forward.
The lawsuit, brought by the state Democratic Party and Maricopa County’s only Democratic supervisor, argues that the State Senate is violating Arizona laws and regulations over the confidentiality and handling of election materials, and questions whether Senate officials can contract audit-related activities to private third-party vendors.
The judge said the pause would go into effect only if the Democratic Party posted a $1 million bond to compensate the company, Cyber Ninjas — a private cybersecurity firm based in Florida — in case the audit is allowed to continue.
Julia Shumway contributed reporting from Phoenix.