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AZ Senate Moves to Hold Maricopa County Board in Contempt for Failure to Comply with Election Subpoenas

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All Republicans serving in the Arizona Senate co-sponsored a resolution Wednesday holding the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in contempt for failure to comply with subpoenas relating to the Nov. 3 election.

Republicans currently hold a 16 to 14 majority in the Grand Canyon State’s Senate.

In December, the Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the board of supervisors, calling on them to turn over the metadata of the original ballot images from the Dominion Voting Systems equipment, along with various reports and logs related to the election.

“There is technology that can look at those ballots to see if there are any anomalies, to see if there’s any dual voting and whether or not these were pre-printed,” then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Eddie Farnsworth said in a December interview.

The board of supervisors, however, did not comply with the subpoenas and instead went to court to seek to block them.

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In late December, a state superior court judge affirmed the Judiciary Committee’s right to enforce its subpoenas, however, the Senate was not in session at the time.

After the 2021 legislative session began in mid-January, current Judiciary Chairman Warren Petersen issued a new subpoena to the board of supervisors threatening legislative contempt charges if they failed to comply.

Last week, the board of supervisors voted unanimously to conduct an audit of the Dominion Voting Machines equipment used in Maricopa County, which is Arizona’s most populous, including the Phoenix metropolitan area.

However, the audit authorized does not include a review of the ballots themselves, as requested by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Both Senate President Karen Fann and Peterson announced on Friday that the board’s audit did not go far enough and the Senate would be hiring its own auditing firm.

“Unfortunately, their limited scope does not fulfill the demand of our subpoena, which called for a deep forensic audit. We need to do more than make basic checks on the machines to make sure they were working. We need to check the ballots and ballot scans for abnormalities,” Petersen said.

“We need to look at the machines to see if there was any manipulation,” he continued. “We need to make sure there was no remote or local access that made changes to the results. I’m grateful the President has chosen a firm that will do that work. Only then will our voters feel confident about the results of the election.”

Petersen tweeted on Tuesday that Maricopa County is not cooperating with the Senate’s broader audit plans.

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“It is truly unfortunate that today Maricopa County has refused to comply with the subpoena and allow the Senate to conduct a forensic audit of the election. There is no legal consequence if they allow us access to the machines and ballots,” he wrote.

“However there are serious legal consequences for failing to comply with the subpoena,” Petersen added.

The contempt resolution introduced on Wednesday names all five board members —  Chairman Jack Sellers and his three fellow Republican colleagues Steve Chucri, Bill Gates, Clint Hickman, as well as Democrat Steve Gallardo — saying they “have repeatedly and willfully delayed and obstructed a vital and duly authorized investigation by the Arizona Senate.”

Further, the resolution said that the Arizona Senate president will take all legal action required to enforce the subpoena.

The Arizona Mirror reported the contempt resolution could subject the board of supervisors to arrest and a class-two misdemeanor charge.

Class-two misdemeanors hold a maximum prison sentence of four months.

Ahead of the introduction of the resolution, Sellers, in a statement provided to The Western Journal, said, “It is our understanding that state law prohibits the release of the ballots once they have been sealed.”

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“There is nothing prohibiting the Senate and their lawyers from going into a courtroom and explaining to a judge why the Board should disregard state law and allow access to people’s ballots and personal information,” he added.

Gallardo charged that the Arizona Senate is showing “contempt” for the majority will of Maricopa County’s voters.

“It’s shameful that the Arizona Senate issued subpoenas based off unfounded conspiracies for an election that happened 92 days ago,” Gallardo said in a statement provided to The Western Journal.

“We have moved on and are concentrating on addressing the pandemic and other critical issues facing the residents of Maricopa County. I ask the Senate to do the same.”

Former President Donald Trump carried Maricopa County in 2016 by 2.9 percentage points (45,500 votes), but Democratic President Joe Biden won the county by 2.2 percentage points (45,100 votes) in November, or a 5.1 percent swing.

The Arizona Secretary of State’s official tally has Biden defeating Trump statewide by 10,457 votes.

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