Arizona judge issues ruling in election fraud case

On Friday (Feb. 26), a judge ruled that the Arizona Senate can obtain 2.1 million ballots and election equipment from Arizona’s most populous county in order to review votes for the 2020 presidential election.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason issued the decision following months of confrontation between Republican members of the state Senate and the Maricopa County Board of Elections over the election dispute.

Attorneys for the state Senate said in court that the constitution gives the legislature the role of maintaining election compliance and ensuring that voters’ electoral integrity is protected, and that the subpoenas were legal and a proper use of legislative power. The five-member Board of Election Supervisors, on the other hand, argued that the ballots were secret and that the Legislature was not entitled to them, and said Senate President Karen Fann (D-Mich.) issued the subpoenas for an illegal purpose.

In his ruling, Thomason agreed with the state Senate in general, saying the subpoenas “were legal and enforceable.

“There is no question that senators have the authority to issue legislative subpoenas” and “meet the statutory requirements for a legislative subpoena,” Thomason wrote. The Senate also has broad constitutional authority to oversee elections.”

“The Arizona Legislature clearly has the authority to investigate and review election reform matters,” the ruling said, “and the subpoenas do not violate the separation of powers doctrine. The production of subpoenaed materials would not violate the secrecy laws.”

Unless appealed by the commission, the bill would open up most of the state’s disputed ballots. In the open results of the state’s election, Biden received more than 1,672,000 votes to Trump‘s 1,661,700, a gap of about 10,000 votes.

State Senate President Karen Vann had said she hoped the audit would somehow prove whether President Joe Biden’s victory was legitimate.

“We’re thrilled and pleased that the judge was able to see the big picture on this whole issue,” she said, adding, “This has never been about illegally overturning an election. It has always been 100 percent important for voter integrity issues to be certified by voters who have questions about the security and validity of Arizona’s election system.”

“Judge Thomason’s ruling leaves the applicability of Senate subpoenas to ballots that must be kept secret under state law in great need of clarification,” Republican Party Board Chairman Jack Sellers said in a statement, “We respect his ruling and will work with our lawyers in determining the best way forward to review it with our attorneys.”

Supervisor Bill-Gates, another Republican board member, said that “from the beginning, the county has asked for clarification from the court,” and “the court has ruled. I look forward to working with the Senate to provide them with the information they have requested.”

The state Senate has repeatedly wanted an audit before, and the county Board of Supervisors has refused to turn over the actual ballots or tabulating machines, saying the ballots are legally confidential and the machines would be compromised as a result.

After investigating a sample of 100 ballots from the state last Dec. 7, the Arizona Supreme Court declared three of them faulty, with a 3 percent error rate.