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Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason ruled that The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors must turn over 2.1 million ballots and tabulation machines to Senate Republican leaders.

“The Court finds that Subpoenas are legal and enforceable. There is no question that the Senators have the power to issue legislative subpoenas,” said Judge Thomason

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The dispute began when the State’s Senate issued a subpoena calling for a forensic audit of the machines and software that were used to tabulate the ballots. A second subpoena called for a scanned ballot audit to collect an electronic ballot image cast for all mail-in ballots counted.

The County Board of Supervisors argued that once ballots are sealed, they can only be unsealed by a court order recount. 

Judge Thomason made it clear that his ruling was on the legality of the subpoena and not politics. He criticized both sides for “spending valuable resources on lawyers, ‘fighting’ with another branch of government over what materials can be provided to another branch of government under a subpoena.”

Thomason stated that the Arizona Legislature has the power to investigate and examine reform matters. He explained that the Senate has the broad constitutional power to oversee elections and is able to subpoena material query to election reform measures. The subpoenas were said to have “proper legislative purpose” by Thomason. 

Jack Sellers, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said the ruling “brings clarity to whether Senate subpoenas apply to ballots that, per state law, must be kept private following an election.”

Sellers stated that the board respects Thompson’s opinion and will start working to provide the Arizona Senate with the ballots and other materials. 

“We hope senators will show the same respect and care we have for the 2.1 million private ballots and use them in service of their legislative duties,” said Sellers

“We are very, very thrilled and grateful for the judge to look at the big picture and recognize that this was never about overturning any election,” said Senate President Karen Fann. 

Fann also stated that the subpoenas were never about overturning the election, but was instead about the integrity of the Arizona election system. 

“I trust the Senate will be completely transparent with the public as Maricopa County has been…I look forward to working with the Senate to provide them the information they are requesting,” Vice Chairman of the Maricopa Board of Supervisors Bill Gates said.

Gates also said that three fully transparent audits have been conducted, two of them being forensic audits by qualified independent Vote System Testing Laboratories.

Fann said she has been considering several auditors, including the Allied Systems Operations Group. She said although Allied Systems qualified, it would be difficult to select them due to a perception that they wouldn’t be independent.

Written ByJose Villegas

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