AZ Senate Fall One Vote Shy of Contempt Charge against BOE

Arizona Senate falls ONE vote short of holding Maricopa County supervisors in contempt in Ballot Audit Fight - Yea, it was a "Republican."

by Howard Fisher, Capital Media Services

PHOENIX — A bid by Senate Republicans to hold Maricopa County supervisors in contempt faltered Monday as one GOP lawmaker balked.

Sen. Paul Boyer, R-Glendale, said he believes the Senate does have the power to use its subpoena power to demand access to the county’s voting machines and ballots from the Nov. 3 election.

“That authority is clear, and it will be used if necessary,” Boyer said. But he said he believes that power should be used “sparingly and reluctantly.”

More to the point, Boyer said he believes the county is willing to conduct an additional audit of the presidential election results to answer questions about whether the reported results giving the edge to Joe Biden were accurate. What’s needed, he said, is a judge to issue an order clearing the way for the access that senators seek, rather than a contempt citation.

“I believe the board (of supervisors) genuinely seeks the confidence and clarity of a court order to legally proceed,” Boyer said. And once that happens, he said, there will be no legal reason for the supervisors to claim that giving the Senate what it wants would violate the law.

That drew derision from Sen. Warren Petersen, R-Phoenix, who walked colleagues through a timeline of what he said has been an ever-changing stance by the supervisors over whether there would or would not be an audit; who has access to the ballots; and some apparently conflicting arguments about whether courts have authority over the enforcement of legislative subpoenas.

Senate President Karen Fann, R-Prescott, detailed for colleagues her own attempts to resolve the issue with the supervisors. In fact, Fann said she originally planned a contempt vote for 2½ weeks ago but held off in hopes it wouldn’t come to that.

Every effort to get a resolution, she said, was met with objections from the board.

“So I’m sorry to say, this is why we’re at where we’re at right now,” Fann said.

Sen. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, said claims by the supervisors that they want this resolved ring hollow. He cited a filing Monday morning that sought a court order to block the Senate from voting on the contempt resolution.

In that filing, board attorney John Doran told a Maricopa County judge the scheduled contempt vote was part of “politically charged paranoia” and a bid by the Senate to “press ahead with a false narrative belied by the actual facts and evidence.”

Mesnard called that filing “beyond outrageous. Their actions show they are dripping with contempt.”

With the 30-member Senate having just 16 Republicans and the Democrats opposed, Boyer’s decision left the majority one vote short of approving the contempt resolution.

A spokesman for the board said late Monday the supervisors had no comment.

What happens next is unclear.

There is still a Senate subpoena demanding access to the machines and the ballots.

The supervisors, four Republicans and one Democrat, have a pending lawsuit asking a judge to void the subpoena as invalid, saying state law prohibits the county from surrendering access.


AZ Senator by Tom Zawistowski is licensed under N/A N/A

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