Feb. 18, 2021
PHOENIX — A bill granting the express authority to the Arizona legislature to subpoena ballots, election equipment and information from counties passed the state senate today.
Sen. Warren Petersen (R) introduced the bill amid a battle between Republican leaders and Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, over an audit of the county’s receipts relating to the 2020 election.
Earlier this week, State GOP Rep. Mark Finchem told OANN, “The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has done everything they can to stall, delay, [and] obfuscate. They claim they were negotiating in good faith when indeed they weren’t.”
Last week, the Senate fell one vote short of finding the county in contempt, just days after the county board asked a judge to quash the subpoenas.
Sen. Warren Peterson, who issued the latest round of subpoenas after taking over as the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, authored the bill passed by the senate tonight. He characterized the bill “an insurance policy,” which would ensure the senate could enforce the subpoenas just in case a judge ruled otherwise.
Sen. Warren’s “insurance policy,” SB1408, cleared the senate by a vote of 16-14.
“They [Maricopa County] continue to hold the position that we don’t have the authority to investigate and audit the ballots and in this case the equipment,” Peterson said earlier this week. The senator said SB1408 will make clear that ballots and election machines are not privileged, confidential or protected from disclosure if the legislature issues a subpoena.
The bill now heads to the Arizona state house.