A judge has ruled that the Arizona Senate can get access to 2.1 million ballots from Arizona’s most populous county so it can audit results of the 2020 election that saw Democrat Joe Biden win in the state.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason’s decision on Friday comes after a protracted battle between the Republican-controlled state Senate and the GOP-dominated Maricopa County board over subpoenas issued by the Senate.
The board contended that the ballots were secret and the Legislature had no right to access them.
The Senate said the constitution gives it oversight of the election.
Jack Sellers, Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors released the following statement after the ruling:
"Judge Thomason's ruling brings much-needed clarity to whether Senate subpoenas apply to ballots that, per state law, must be kept private following an election. We respect his ruling and will review it with our attorneys as we determine how best to move forward."
In a statement, Vice Chairman Bill Gates said Maricopa County had nothing to hide and the county conducted three fully transparent audits:
"The judge has spoken. From the beginning, I believed the law required the County Board of Supervisors and the Treasurer to prevent disclosure of your ballots. Contrary to what some have said, Maricopa County has nothing to hide. We want people to have faith and trust in the accuracy and security of our elections. For our part, we have done everything within our power to provide that. Maricopa County has conducted three fully transparent audits, including two forensic audits by independent, qualified and outside Vote System Testing Laboratories. I trust the Senate will be completely transparent with the public as Maricopa County has been. From the beginning, the County sought clarification from the court. The court has ruled. I look forward to working with the Senate to provide them the information they are requesting."
The Arizona Senate Republicans also released a statement following the ruling:
"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. Today's ruling states: The Arizona legislature clearly has the power to investigate and examine election reform matters. Accordingly, the Senators have the power to subpoena material as part of an inquiry into election reform measures. It's clear the judge understands this is about getting answers to the questions voters have, and not some effort to overturn any election results. Hopefully, with a proper, independent and detailed audit, we will start to restore voter confidence in election integrity. Today's ruling means we can begin that process."