GOP lawmaker kills election bill, threatens to torpedo session

By Julia Shumway | Arizona Capitol Times

Vowing to vote against any and all election bills and keep the Legislature in session until the Senate’s audit of 2020 election results is complete, a Mesa Republican dealt an unexpected blow to a bill that could stop tens of thousands of Arizonans from receiving mail ballots. 

Sen. Kelly Townsend said she still supports the bill, which she has already voted for in some form three times this year. She looks forward to voting for it if and when it returns after the audit is done, she said, but not before. 

“Otherwise we’re doing [the audit] for no reason,” Townsend said. “It’s for show. It’s for replying to our constituents that ‘Yes, we’re doing an audit, but if we find irregularities you’re going to have to wait until 2024.” 

Townsend said she told her Republican caucus last week and reminded the Senate majority whip on Thursday that she wouldn’t vote for any election bills and would not support adjourning the legislative session until the audit was complete. Legislative leaders told her they hoped to end the session in two weeks, and they tried to call her bluff today.  

“They tried me out to see if I’m serious or not,” she said. “I mean it when I say that we have no business going home.” 

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