An AZ Superior Court Judge has ruled that voting machines and 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County must be turned over to AZ Senate from the November 2020 election for an audit.

 

KJZZ– The ruling by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomanson sides with the senators, who claimed they have the legislative authority to issue subpoenas for ballots and other voting records that the county Board of Supervisors had refused to hand over.

Attorneys for Maricopa County argued the Senate’s multiple subpoenas weren’t issued for a valid purpose and conflicted with state laws protecting the confidentiality of ballots. Attorneys argued that Senate President Karen Fann, R-Prescott, was trying to “perform a private recount” of the 2020 presidential election and cited her own comments as evidence that a recount, not an audit, was the true purpose of the subpoenas.

Thomanson avoided weighing in on Senate Republicans’ motivations, though he lamented that county supervisors and senators had not worked together to find a compromise, and instead had fallen into a political dispute ripe with “name-calling” and “threats.”

That feud came to a head with a Senate vote on a resolution to hold the supervisors in contempt — a resolution that came with a threat to arrest the supervisors and prosecute them for failing to comply with the subpoena. The resolution failed to pass by one vote.

“This Court is not in a position to determine if the ‘real’ purpose of the subpoenas is to try to ‘overturn’ the result of the election,” the judge wrote. “Even if one of the original purposes of the 2020 subpoenas was to see if the election could somehow be challenged, there still is a perfectly valid legislative purpose for the subpoenas”

Thomanson cited Senate Republicans’ stated purpose — using data from an audit to evaluate the accuracy and efficacy of Maricopa County’s vote-counting process, with an eye towards changing laws to improve the election system — as that “valid legislative purpose.”

The judge also dismissed concerns that handing over the ballots would violate a state law requiring county officials to keep them under seal following the election.

That statute doesn’t immunize the ballots from subpoena as county attorneys claimed, Thomanson wrote.

“Confidentiality statutes do not prevent ballots and associated materials from being provided to government officials. Rather, these statutes are intended to prevent disclosure of information to the public,” he wrote. “All government officials are obligated to follow the law and comply with confidentiality statutes. This, of course, includes the Senators.”

AZ Senate Republicans issued a statement expressing their gratitude for Superior Court Judge Thomanson’s decision “We are grateful for the Superior Court judge’s ruling this morning that the Senate subpoenas are legal and enforceable, and it is entitled to audit voting equipment and ballots used in the November election.”

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The statement clarifies that the AZ Republican Senators are aware that their discovery will not change the outcome of the presidential election. (An election that sent the Democrat’s first basement campaigner to the White House)

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