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Maricopa County defies new subpoena, calls GOP-led audit 'adventure in never-never land'

Arizona state Senate Republicans issued demands for more data last week even as the partisan ballot review is winding down.

The Republican chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Monday rejected a new subpoena from Arizona state Senate Republicans, calling their partisan ballot review an "adventure in never-never land."

"It is now August of 2021. The election of November 2020 is over," Jack Sellers, who leads the board that oversees elections in the county, wrote in a scathing letter. "If you haven't figured out that the election in Maricopa County was free, fair, and accurate yet, I'm not sure you ever will."

He added: "The reason you haven't finished your 'audit' is because you hired people who have no experience and little understanding of how professional elections are run."

State Senate Republicans, who are steering an extraordinarily partisan audit of ballots in Maricopa County, the state's most populous county, issued new demands last week for documents and dates to the Board of Supervisors and to Dominion Voting Systems, which has been the subject of far-right conspiracy theories about fraud in the presidential election.

State Senate Republicans hired Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based cybersecurity company, to conduct the audit, which grew out of Republican legislators' efforts to toss out President Joe Biden's victory in the state last year. The drawn-out review has fanned the flames of former President Donald Trump's false claims of fraud, even though the results of the election will not change.

The Associated Press reported last week that the auditors stopped the counting and returned the ballots to Maricopa County. The process, which was supposed to take up to 60 days, has taken more than 100 days. The AP also reported that Cyber Ninjas and its contractors are preparing to produce a report about the findings that could take several weeks to write.

Two Republican state senators have said the audit was "botched," including Michelle Ugenti-Rita, who advocated for tightening the state's election laws in the wake of Trump's loss. Democrats, who are in the minority in the Senate, have opposed the audit from the start.

“I wanted to review our election processes and see what, if anything, could be improved,” Ugenti-Rita wrote July 24 on Twitter. “Sadly, it's now become clear that the audit has been botched.”

Sellers said in his letter that the board "has real work to do and little time to entertain this adventure in never-never land."

"Please finish whatever it is that you are doing and release whatever it is you are going to release," he said. "I am confident that our staff and volunteers ran the election as prescribed by federal and state law. There was no fraud, there wasn't an injection of ballots from Asia nor was there a satellite that beamed votes into our election equipment."

He added: "It's time for all elected officials to tell the truth and stop encouraging conspiracies. Please release your report and be prepared to defend any accusations of misdeeds in court. It's time to move on."