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.
But the judge, Christopher Coury of Maricopa County Superior Court, said the pause would go into effect only if the state Democratic Party posted a $1 million bond to compensate a private company — Cyber Ninjas, a cybersecurity firm based in Florida — that Republicans have hired to review the ballots.
In a statement on Friday afternoon, Democratic officials said they would not do so, but they vowed to continue the fight in court. Another hearing was set for Monday morning, and the judge emphasized that he expected the audit to move forward.
Republican State Senate officials hired Cyber Ninjas 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.
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.
Julia Shumway contributed reporting from Phoenix.
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