Arizona vote recount contractor releases privacy policies

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Arizona Republic

Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are being examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, who was hired by the Arizona State Senate at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Thursday, April 29, 2021. (Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool)

PHOENIX – A contractor overseeing the Arizona Senate's unprecedented recount of 2.1 million ballots from the November election complied Thursday with a court order and released its policies for ensuring voter privacy and ballot secrecy.

The release of three documents by Florida-based Cyber Ninjas came a day after a Maricopa County judge refused to allow the company or the Republican-led Senate to keep the material secret and ordered it made public. Judge Daniel Martin gave them a day to appeal, but they declined.

Cyber Ninjas said in a statement that its goal “is for the public to be able to read the documents themselves and see that the process and the procedures are sound.” The company, which fought the release in court, said it was releasing it as part of “ongoing efforts to be transparent” and urged media outlets to publish links to the documents so they can be easily accessed.

The three documents cover procedures for hand-recounting Maricopa County's ballots, collecting and handling digital evidence, and securing the county ballots and tabulation machines at the state fairgrounds.

The Arizona Democratic Party previously sued to block the recount unless the policies for securing voter rights were released.

The Democrats argued the public had a right to know how the recount of ballots in the state’s most populous county was being conducted. Their lawyers argued that voter privacy would be irreparably harmed if the process proceeded, at least without knowing how the recount was being conducted.

The party's lawyers were reviewing the documents and could not immediately comment on them.

The Arizona secretary of state's office, which oversees state elections and has long sought more transparency in the Senate's unusual post-election recount, also had attorneys reviewing the documents. A spokeswoman said the office would comment once they had completed that analysis.