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Maricopa County cuts deal to end fight over Arizona Senate subpoena

In a 4-1 vote, the county's supervisors decided to not hand over its routers. They will appoint a special master who will inspect the hardware on behalf of state.

MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. — Maricopa County and the Arizona Senate have appeared to resolve an ongoing fight to inspect the county's computer routers as part of an ongoing, months-long audit into the 2020 election results. 

The Republican-controlled Senate subpoenaed the county to hand over its routers to a contractor, Cyber Ninjas, so they could verify whether the county was potentially hacked during November's election. 

The county rebuked the Senate's requests due to security concerns. Then the state threatened to deprive Maricopa County millions of dollars in funding for not complying with the subpoenas. 

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on Friday night to set up a special master to take questions from the Senate’s election review contractors and provide them with the information contained on the routers they say they need to finish the election review. 

Former Congressman John Shadegg, a Republican who represented Arizona from 1995 to 2011, has reportedly been asked to serve as the special master on behalf of the Senate's inquiries.

According to the agreement, the third-party master will have the authority to hire a team of computer experts who can help inspect the county's routers. 

Supervisor Bill Gates, a Republican, said the deal will protect sensitive information contained on the routers while avoiding a massive penalty the county faced if it had not complied.

"It's a win for transparency and it's also a win for protecting sensitive data at Maricopa County," said Gates.  

Supervisor Steve Gallardo, a Democrat, was the only board member to vote against the agreement. 

There is nothing the county could do that would satisfy the Senate's demands, Gallardo said, and the county should instead explore other options. 

"We are not dealing with rational people," he said, "We are dealing with bullies." 

In a statement released Friday, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann said the agreement reached with the county was "a victory for election integrity."

"I look forward to getting our final questions answered and wrapping up the review of the election in Maricopa County,” Fann said. 

Sheriff Paul Penzone released the following statement about the vote: 

“The failed leadership and agenda-based politics have not promoted transparency, they have only deteriorated the democratic process. Leadership means doing what is right even when it is difficult.  This compromise does not represent a healthy outcome. It sets a precedent that will cause us to pay dearly due to political agendas and a lack of courage and conviction by a few.”

RELATED: Voter files 'illegally' posted online, Maricopa County recorder says

RELATED: CyberNinjas says it needs 30 days to release audit records after Arizona Supreme Court ruling

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