An Arizona judge on April 28, 2021 rejected an attempt by the Arizona Democratic Party to immediately halt an audit of the 2020 election in the state’s largest county.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Martin said Democrats didn’t provide “substantive evidence of any breaches or threatened breaches of voter privacy.”
The lawsuit, filed just before the audit started last week, may ultimately succeed, the judge added. But it fell short of the “strong likelihood” of succeeding standard required for a temporary restraining order.
Martin also expressed doubt that the balance of hardship in the case or public policy favors the plaintiffs—two factors that are needed to grant the order.
Arizona Democrats must now decide whether to seek a review of the ruling from a higher court or to advance to an evidentiary hearing to try to make their case for an injunction.
Lawyers for the party had argued that Cyber Ninjas, one of four firms hired by the Arizona Senate to conduct the audit, didn’t properly train their personnel and hadn’t implemented plans for security procedures, such as securing ballots.
But the exhibits they entered, including local news reports alleging lax security at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, where the audit is taking place, didn’t contain enough evidence to convince the judge to halt the process.
Martin said he took into account how the audit has already started and that halting it would cause a “significant disruption.”
Earlier in the proceeding, the judge ruled against Cyber Ninjas’ attempt to file under seal documents the company described as sensitive. The company failed to show an overriding interest exists that supports filing under seal and overcomes the right of public access to the information, he ruled.
The hearing took place one day after Martin, who took over the case after the previous judge recused himself, decided against halting the audit. But he also said he could stop it during the next hearing, stoking further interest in the April 28 proceedings.