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Contractors working for Cyber Ninjas, who was hired by the Arizona State Senate, examine and recount ballots from the 2020 general election. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

The Arizona state Senate has postponed a plan to interview some voters as part of a Republican-commissioned election recount after the Department of Justice raised concerns about voter intimidation, The Washington Post reported.

Why it matters: Pamela Karla, the DOJ principal deputy assistant attorney general, sent a letter to the Arizona state Senate president informing her that the recount in Maricopa County might violate federal law since it's being conducted by a private contractor.

  • Federal law requires that ballots remain with election officials for 22 months after the election.

The big picture: The Republican-controlled Senate hired Florida-based Cyber Ninjas — whose chief has supported unfounded claims of voter fraud — to recount ballots from the 2020 presidential election, per the Post.

  • The audit has been "has been widely criticized as fueling wild theories that fraud and other electoral problems led President Donald Trump to lose the presidential race," the Post noted.

What they're saying: "Past experience with similar investigative efforts around the country has raised concerns that they can be directed at minority voters, which potentially can implicate the anti-intimidation prohibitions of the Voting Rights Act," Karlan also said in the letter, addressing worries about targeting by race.

  • "Such investigative efforts can have a significant intimidating effect on qualified voters that can deter them from seeking to vote in the future."

The other side: Senate President Karen Fann replied to Karlan's letter saying the recount was safe and that if voters were eventually contacted, there would be rules in place to ensure that the move complies with the law, NBC News reported.

  • Fann also vowed that "not a single ballot has been destroyed, defaced, lost or adulterated," per NBC News.

The bottom line: Election officials in Maricopa County have said that the election results have already been validated multiples times, according to the Post.

Go deeper

Aug 11, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

One vote separates candidates for Brooklyn Park mayor

Brooklyn Park mayoral candidates Hollies Winston and Lisa Jacobson. Photos: Facebook

The race for mayor of Brooklyn Park, one of the Twin Cities' biggest suburbs, is down to one vote.

Driving the news: Results from Tuesday's special election show City Council member Lisa Jacobson leading business owner Hollies Winston with 3,415 votes to 3,414.

  • The two are vying to succeed former Mayor Jeff Lunde, who was elected to the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners last November.

Between the lines: Top DFL leaders, including Gov. Tim Walz and House Speaker Melissa Hortman, had backed Winston, knocking on doors and hosting fundraisers in the diverse north metro community.

What's next: Official results will be released Friday, per the city clerk's office.

  • At that time, the losing candidate will have seven days to request a recount.

Of note: An at-large city council race in Duluth was also hinging on one vote as of Wednesday morning, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

Trump sues National Archives, Jan. 6 committee to block records request

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the National Archives from releasing White House records to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, citing executive privilege.

Why it matters: It's the latest escalation in Trump's campaign to disrupt the committee's sweeping probe into the circumstances surrounding Jan. 6, including his actions and communications leading up to the Capitol attack.

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID-19 complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.