Senate Republicans demanded late today that Maricopa County officials turn over election equipment by 9 a.m. Wednesday, right as the two groups head back to court to tangle over whether the Senate has the legal authority to request that information.
A new subpoena, delivered to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors late Tuesday afternoon, wants the board to be found in contempt of the Legislature if it doesn’t send a representative to testify and provide full access to the election equipment, software, voting rolls, voter records and ballots used during the 2020 election.
The new subpoena requests the same information then-Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Eddie Farnsworth and President Karen Fann demanded in December, but with significant edits for typos and to remove information that isn’t specific to Arizona, such as differentiating between “absentee” and “mail-in” ballots.
It comes as the county and the Senate GOP continue to spar over the senators’ demands, which county supervisors have roundly denounced as overreaching and inappropriate. Oral arguments in the second of two lawsuits over the original subpoena are scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, the same time Fann and new Senate Judiciary Chairman Warren Petersen expect the county to turn over the materials it demanded.
Fann, Petersen and Senate GOP spokespeople did not immediately return messages left shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Randall Warner ruled for the county in late December, finding that nothing in the Arizona Constitution gives the courts the authority to enforce a legislative subpoena. But he left the door open to a separate argument from the Senate GOP that a state officer — such as the president of the Senate — who has the legal authority to issue a subpoena can ask a judge to enforce it.
Many Republicans in the state Legislature describe a full forensic audit — which Maricopa County’s supervisors have already pledged to do as soon as litigation and appeals around the election are complete — as the only way that they and their constituents will be confident that the 2020 election was fairly and accurately conducted and Joe Biden won the presidency.
County supervisors and election officials from across the state have warned that the Senate Republicans’ request risks threatening the right to a secret ballot, and that continuing this legislation only feeds the flames of post-election protests that culminated in Trump supporters storming the U.S. Capitol last week in an event that killed five people, including one capitol police officer.