MARICOPA COUNTY LIBERTARIAN PARTY FILES LAWSUIT OVER EXCLUSION FROM ELECTIONS AUDIT
PHOENIX, AZ – The Maricopa County Libertarian Party filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Maricopa County Superior Court (Case # CV2021-002205) against the County Board of Supervisors and the Recorder. The lawsuit protests the Libertarian Party’s exclusion from the county’s “forensic audit” of election equipment used in the 2020 General Election. The audit began February 2 and will continue into March.
“Political party observation is a right that is included in every part of Arizona election law,” said Michael Kielsky, the attorney representing the Libertarian Party. “It is inexcusable that the county is preventing the Libertarian Party observer from attending the audit.”
A Public Notice, still posted on the county’s website. states that the political parties are invited to the audit, as do county notices on Facebook and Twitter. In reality, however, the county banned all three recognized political parties — Democrats and Republicans as well as Libertarians.
“Arizona political parties have been involved throughout the election and we need to be included now,” said Brandon Slayton, Chair of the Maricopa County Libertarian Party. “It doesn’t make sense to omit key stakeholders when the audit’s goal is to instill public confidence in our system.”
In an email to Slayton on February 2, Maricopa County Elections Director Rey Valenzuela stated that political party representatives would not be allowed to attend the audit “due to limited space, COVID-19, and to avoid disruptions to the audit process.” The County Recorder’s office sent a similar email to Slayton on Feb. 8. In both emails, however, there was an extensive list of those invited to attend the audit, including the League of Women Voters.
“The League of Women Voters is a great organization,” Slayton said, “but it cannot be a substitute for representation by political parties, which provide scrutiny and oversight for all their members. The public should be outraged that all three parties are being denied the right to attend this audit.”
The Libertarian lawsuit asks that the all recognized political parties, including the Libertarian Party, their rightful place at the table. The lawsuit also asserts that the county has misstated portions of the audit. The county has claimed, for example, that a post-election Logic & Accuracy Test is an audit that can determine whether votes were switched during the election. “The county has every right to conduct a Logic & Accuracy Test,” Slayton said, “but it is a test, not an audit, and only proves that the machines are working properly at that moment in time. The county has a right to do something but it does not have a right to pretend to do something.”
The lawsuit asks for an expedited hearing on the Libertarian Party’s right to have a designated observer at the audit. There will be a press conference at 3 pm today.
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