A judge ruled Friday that the Arizona Senate may access 2.1 million ballots and election equipment from the state’s most populous county to audit results from the 2020 election.
“Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason’s decision comes after a protracted battled between the Republican-controlled state Senate and the GOP-dominated Maricopa County board over subpoenas issued by the Senate,” the Associated Press (AP) reported.
The Board of Supervisors argued the ballots were secret, the Legislature “had no right to access them,” and the subpoenas Senate President Karen Fann issued were “for an illegitimate purpose.”
“The Senate’s lawyers contended that the constitution gives the Legislature the role of maintaining the purity of elections and make sure voter integrity is protected, that the subpoenas were legal and a proper use of legislative power,” the article said.
Judge Thomason agreed with the Senate and called the subpoenas “legal and enforceable” in his ruling.
“There is no question that the Senators have the power to issue legislative subpoenas,” the judge wrote. “The Subpoenas comply with the statutory requirements for legislative subpoenas. The Senate also has broad constitutional power to oversee elections.”
In a statement Friday, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers said the county “will immediately start working to provide the Arizona Senate with the ballots and other materials.”
“We hope senators will show the same respect and care we have for the 2.1 million private ballots and use them in service of their legislative duties,” he added.
In November, three Arizona Republicans — Reps. Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, and David Schweikert — called for an audit of the ballots in Maricopa County due to what they described as issues regarding the “integrity” of the state’s “election systems,” Breitbart News reported.
“Americans and Arizonans must have full confidence in our election processes and systems in order to maintain the bedrock of our constitutional republic,” Biggs said at the time.