GOP defector blows up Arizona Senate vote to hold Maricopa County supervisors in contempt over election audit

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Republicans in control of the Arizona state Senate failed to hold the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in contempt for refusing to turn over election-related materials failed by one vote.

The Senate voted Monday on the measure, which was supported by the entire GOP caucus, but state Sen. Paul Boyer broke ranks and joined Democrats in voting against it because he said he wanted more time for the two sides to work things out. The 15-15 vote was just one shy of the measure passing, which could have potentially led to the supervisors’ arrests, according to the Arizona Republic.

“Today’s vote merely provides a little bit more time for us to work together charitably and amicably as friends,” Boyer told the Senate on Monday.

The Republican senators and supervisors have been at odds for weeks as they conduct parallel audits of the election results. The board first began an audit on Jan. 27 and three days later the Senate reciprocated and began its own audit after it claimed Maricopa was not satisfying lawmakers’ demands for a “deep forensic audit.”

In response, the lawmakers filed a subpoena to attempt to get possession of the election materials they want for their audit. While Republicans in the Senate contend that they can compel the board to hand over ballots and voting machines, Maricopa County Board spokesman Fields Moseley said there isn’t a legal mechanism to turn over the 2.1 million ballots to the Senate without a court order.

“The Board will not violate people’s trust by handing over the ballots that are under seal,” Moseley said in a statement.

Last week Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen warned of “serious legal consequences” if the board didn’t comply with the subpoena and announced the contempt resolution that was voted on Monday.

“We issued a subpoena and they have given us the finger,” said GOP Sen. Warren Petersen.

Also on Monday, attorneys for the board asked the Maricopa County Superior Court to issue a restraining order preventing the Senate from taking legal action against the supervisors. The attorneys wrote that the measure was “a blatant attempt to create dangerous and false political theatre.”

Boyer and GOP Senate President Karen Fann met with board Chairman Jack Sellers and Supervisor Bill Gates prior to the vote, Supervisor Steve Gallardo told the Arizona Republic.

Since the election, many Republicans officials in the state have been questioning the integrity of the vote, especially in Maricopa, the state’s most populous county. Dominion Voting Systems machines were used in the election and the company has become the target of conspiracy theories contending that President Biden did not win the election against former President Donald Trump.

The voting systems company has vociferously denied that their machines are not secure and CEO John Poulos testified under oath that the claims are “beyond bizarre” and “complete lies.”

Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Trump-aligned lawyer Sidney Powell are facing $1.3 billion defamation lawsuits filed by Dominion because of their claims that the company’s machines were somehow rigged to throw the election in Biden’s favor.

Dominion is also at the center of an ongoing lawsuit in Antrim County, Michigan, where a Trump-aligned team claimed the machines were “intentionally and purposefully designed with inherent errors to create systemic fraud and influence election results.”

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