A top Republican senator in Arizona is asking the state’s attorney general to probe Maricopa County officials over their refusal to fully comply with election audit subpoenas deemed lawful by a judge.
Arizona Senate Majority Whip Sonny Borrelli submitted a formal request on Aug. 3 to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a fellow Republican, to probe the county’s Board of Supervisors for the failure to comply.
“The supervisors are acting as if they are above the law, and it is an insult to the citizens of our state,” Borrelli said in a statement.
The request, made public by Arizona Sen. Wendy Rogers, shows that Borrelli is accusing the county of breaking state law governing compliance with subpoenas issued by the state legislature.
The request was made under Arizona Senate Bill 1487, passed in 2016. It says that the attorney general shall investigate any action taken by a governing body of a county, city, or town that is alleged by one or more members of the legislature to have violated state law or the state’s Constitution.
The attorney general is directed to make a written report of his findings within 30 days of receiving a request.
If Brnovich finds a violation, the county must rectify the violation within 30 days of the finding, or face a loss of funding.
Maricopa County’s board, which oversees elections, late last year refused to comply with subpoenas issued by the state Senate that requested ballots, tabulators, and other election-related materials and items to conduct an audit of the 2020 election.
Supervisors claimed the subpoenas were overbroad and an overreach of state authority, but a judge ruled in February that the subpoenas were “legal and enforceable.”
Supervisors opted to provide much of the requested items and data, but withheld routers and router images, claiming that providing either would present a security risk.
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and another top Republican last month issued fresh subpoenas, asking for the withheld items along with ballot envelopes, voter records, and keys to access voting machines at an administrative level.
Maricopa County’s board and Dominion Voting Systems responded on Aug. 2. The board said the county’s recorder, Stephen Richer, would produce some of the requested items, but refused to provide the routers. Dominion said it wouldn’t hand over any information.
“The Board has real work to do and little time to entertain this adventure in never-never land,” Jack Sellers, chairman of the board, wrote in a formal letter to Arizona senators.
“Please finish whatever it is you are doing and release whatever it is you are going to release.”
That open defiance rankled some Republicans, such as Borrelli, who is now asking Brnovich to probe the supervisors.
“Enough is enough! The level of disrespect and contempt from the supervisors toward Senate leadership and Arizona voters is appalling,” he said. “I respectfully announce the Attorney General investigate this clear violation of the law. Arizonans expect no less.”
The 1487 request to the Arizona Attorney General has been filed against the Maricopa Board of Supervisors by @SonnyBorrelli on behalf of the Arizona Senate. I support this and hope the @GeneralBrnovich lays the smack down. Throw the book at them! pic.twitter.com/vJkfoTvozp
— Wendy Rogers (@WendyRogersAZ) August 3, 2021
Brnovich’s spokespersons didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Maricopa County’s board declined to comment.
Fann said in a statement late on Aug. 2 that the state Senate was poised to acquire copies of ballot envelopes and voter registration data from Richer, the Republican recorder who has repeatedly denigrated senators, auditors, and the audit on his Twitter account.
“That is progress, and the final audit report will be better because of it,” she wrote.
Fann accused the county of stonewalling on a request for information into a server breach that took place around the election and said that senators were weighing options for getting access to the routers and election machine passwords.
“It is unfortunate the noncompliance by the County and Dominion continues to delay the results and breeds distrust,” she wrote.
The Arizona Senate could vote to hold Maricopa County’s board in contempt for refusing to fully comply with the subpoenas, but Republican Sen. Paul Boyer blocked such a vote in February, saying he wanted more time for the parties to negotiate.
Boyer has more recently turned against the audit, along with fellow Republican Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita. Republicans control the state Senate with a slim 16–14 majority, meaning opposition from even one GOP member would lead to a failed vote. Democrats in the chamber unilaterally oppose the audit, which began in mid-April.
Auditors completed a third ballot count last week, and are now finalizing other work and preparing a draft report to send to Fann and others. After a review, they plan to release it to the public.