PHOENIX (AP) – Republicans who control the Arizona Senate are moving forward with their threat to pass a contempt resolution, finding that Maricopa County has failed to comply with a subpoena demanding the ” access to electoral materials and ballots during the November elections.
The The Senate presented the resolution Wednesday afternoon. It’s unclear when for a full Senate vote, but all 16 Republican senators are listed as sponsors, meaning it’s virtually certain to pass.
If the resolution passes, the five county council members could be arrested for not complying. It authorizes the President of the Senate, Karen Fann, to initiate “all legal proceedings” necessary to enforce the summons.
The Republicans-dominated board of directors missed a noon deadline on Tuesday to comply with a Senate subpoena without taking action after hearing their lawyers.
The Republican-dominated board of directors again refused on Tuesday to comply with subpoenas issued by GOP lawmakers as they tried to show fraud or other electoral mischief led to the president’s victory Democrat Joe Biden in the state. The courts have dismissed eight lawsuits brought by supporters of former President Donald Trump after his loss, ruling there was no evidence he had not lost.
The Senate demanded access to the voting machines and the 2.1 million ballots cast in the election. The council said it could not comply as the ballots are sealed by law and the voting machines the Senate wants to review must be kept safe.
Board Chairman Jack Sellers said on Wednesday he was frustrated that the Senate threatened to find the board in contempt, saying he had personally met with Senate Speaker Karen Fann and believed that both parties agreed to try to resolve the matter.
“I want to be clear: the county will participate in any court hearing with the Senate if it plans to argue that the restrictions on ballots should be lifted,” Sellers said in a statement. “Instead of suggesting that we are breaking the laws drafted by the Legislature, they should focus on finding a solution.
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“If they truly believe in the legality of their position, they will join us in seeking a solution in court,” Sellers said.
Steve Gallardo, the only Democrat on the board, criticized the move.
“It is shameful that the Arizona Senate issued subpoenas based on unfounded plots for an election that took place 92 days ago,” he said in a statement. “It is worse that some members are now stepping up to pursue these lies by considering contempt charges against an organization they had promised to partner with.”
The Maricopa County Supervisory Board voted unanimously on Wednesday to hire two companies to verify election hardware and software used in the November election.
Supervisors repeatedly pointed out the multiple tests of the voting machines performed before and after the election and the manual counting of a sample of ballots that showed the count to be correct. They fought subpoenas issued in December by the Senate Judiciary Committee with the support of Senate Speaker Karen Fann in court.
New subpoenas were issued after a new legislature was sworn in on January 11. No new proceedings have been initiated by either party.
Still, the board voted last week to do its own audits, checking whether the software on the voting machines is intact and that they haven’t been hacked or connected to the internet.
Republican Senator Warren Peterson said the audit fell short of what lawmakers wanted to examine.
Documents released from the county on Wednesday show that Fann hired a company closely linked to the Trump campaign’s efforts to overturn election results in several battlefield states to conduct his audit. The Allied Security Operations Group worked with Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani to raise baseless allegations of voter fraud and counting errors in Arizona and other states.
The documents describe the work the company would do for the Senate if it were allowed access to ballots and election materials, including recounting at least 550,000 ballots and collecting “medical images. legal ”of software used in the counting machines.
GOP County Supervisor Bill Gates released a statement saying, “I will never be in favor” of handing over the ballots without a court order.
“Not only is it illegal under Arizona state law for this council to give custody of the ballots, but it is also unfathomable that the Arizona Senate hired a known conspiracy theorist and often demystified to conduct his audit, ”he said in a statement that he also Posted on Twitter.
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