GOP lawmakers push bill to force hand of supervisors

Several hundred protesters gathered outside of the Maricopa County Elections Office as the votes from the 2020 elections continued to be counted./KTAR News Photo/Gabriel Gamino

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services  

Facing defeats in court, Republican lawmakers are moving to change the law — retroactively — in a bid to eventually get their hands on voting equipment and ballots, even if it takes months. 

SB1408 would spell out in statute that county election equipment, systems, records and other information “may not be deemed privileged information, confidential information or other information protected from disclosure.” 

More to the point, the measure approved Thursday on a party-line 5-3 vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee declares that this information is “subject to subpoena and must be produced.” And it empowers judges to compel production of the materials and records. 

Sen. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, who chairs the panel, made it clear the legislation has one purpose: to force the hand of Maricopa County officials who have so far refused to comply with a subpoena the Senate has issued. 

They have produced various records. 

But the supervisors contend the county is precluded from surrendering access to voting machines and the actual ballots to senators or the auditors they hope to hire. And so far the Senate’s efforts to get a court ruling compelling disclosure have faltered. 

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