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Enforcement of Arizona Senate's Maricopa subpoena 'unlikely' with reported GOP holdout

County failed to comply with first Senate subpoena; "critical" routers still remain unavailable to auditors.

Updated: July 27, 2021 - 10:58pm

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The enforcement of the Arizona Senate's second subpoena of election materials from the state's Maricopa County depends upon achieving a majority vote in the chamber that one Republican senator says is "unlikely" due to a reported GOP holdout.

State Senate Republicans this week issued a fresh subpoena to the county, demanding a fresh wave of documents related to the 2020 election there as an ongoing forensic audit of results approaches a conclusion. 

Key among the requested materials from the second subpoena are routers used by Maricopa County to handle data processing from multiple county departments, including some related to elections. Those routers have been at the center of a months-long battle between Maricopa officials and Senate-commissioned auditors. The county has insisted that the security risks of handing the routers over is too high, while auditors have argued that it is "critically important" to obtain them to ensure a thorough audit. 

Whether or not the county will comply with the second subpoena is unclear. Also unclear is whether or not the state Senate will enforce the subpoena.

State Sen. Kelly Townsend says the enforcement of the order depends upon a unified GOP vote in the chamber, which she claimed is presently just out of reach. 

"The only way we are allowed to enforce the subpoena is to be in session and take a vote as the entire Senate body who holds the Board of Supervisors in contempt, and we need a majority of 16 to pass," she told Just the News on Tuesday. "We only have 15 votes, so it's unlikely we will be able to enforce this subpoena, either."

"The dissenting vote is Sen. Paul Boyer," she added.

Boyer did not respond to requests for comment from Just the News. Earlier this year he was the lone Republican in the state Senate to vote against holding the Maricopa Board of Supervisors in contempt.

State statute delcares that "if a witness neglects or refuses to obey a legislative subpoena ... the senate or the house may, by resolution entered in the journal, commit him for contempt." Individuals who are "neglecting or refusing to attend in obedience to a subpoena may be arrested by the sergeant-at-arms and brought before the senate or house," the statute continues. 

The audit has been among the most visible and contentious of the Republican-led investigations into the 2020 election since last November. 

State-level GOP representatives in the months since the election have spearheaded efforts to examine and assess the U.S. election system due to concerns about security vulnerabilities in the voting process. 

Democrats and commentators have dismissed the efforts as conspiracy theory-motivated witch hunts. Multiple inquiries, meanwhile, have led to mounting calls for certain key reforms of state-level election practices. 

The Michigan legislature, for instance, concluded earlier this year that though the state was not wracked by voter fraud in the November election, the practice of mailing unsolicited absentee ballots — a measure undertaken last year by many election officials, including the Michigan Secretary of State — posed "a clear vulnerability for fraud that may be undetected."

Audit documents from Georgia, meanwhile, exposed what appeared to be, at the very least, significant election data management failures from Fulton County, notorious throughout Georgia for its poor management of elections. 

Fulton has also been a source of controversy due to the ongoing mystery of its handling of absentee ballots on election night, when ballot workers at the county's State Farm Arena appeared to be dismissed early from their posts, after which a skeleton crew of workers stayed behind to scan ballots largely unsupervised. 

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