Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has been investigating the results of the Arizona Senate’s independent audit of the 2020 presidential election in Maricopa County but, similar to what the Arizona Senate experienced previously, has been thwarted by the Maricopa County Supervisors’ (BOS) refusal to turn over evidence. Due to the obstruction, State Senator Kelly Townsend (R-Apache Junction), issued a legislative subpoena to the BOS demanding its testimony on Monday to explain its reasons for delaying the production of documents, and to explain what it intends to do to rectify the situation.
Townsend stated, “Throughout this process, we have been dismayed at the level of obstruction, obfuscation, malfeasance and nonfeasance seen throughout the inquiry. The claim that there is not a ‘shred of evidence’ regarding irregularities in the election is patently false, but hard not to believe by the general public when so much is being hidden from their view.”
She concluded, “There is no expiry regarding the subpoena, and I intend to wait as long as it takes, even until next year’s legislature with different elected legislators, to enforce this action.”
Former Maricopa County Treasurer Royce Flora, who served as county treasurer until January 2021 when he resigned early in disgust over the actions of the Maricopa County Supervisors, believes part of the problem is the BOS is lazy. He told the Arizona Sun Times, “Look at how much they get paid verses how often the are in the office. They get high pay and work substitute teacher hours. Now they want they pay boosted to over $100,000.”
A source with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office (AGO) who preferred not to be identified told the Sun Times that the results of the investigation are just about to be released. The source also said the AGO’s office does not have the authority to issue subpoenas to the BOS.
The AGO has repeatedly asked for further documentation from the BOS during its investigation and gotten stonewalled, delaying the process. On March 9, AGO elections attorney Jennifer Wright sent a letter to the BOS’s attorney requesting copies of 250 specific signatures on file with Maricopa County Elections, so the AGO could compare them to the signatures on the envelopes of mail-in ballots. She also asked for information related to the procedures used to examine signatures, including emails discussing them.
Wright was requesting them in response to a recent report from auditor Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, who found based on an analysis of a representative sample that over 200,000 signatures on the return envelopes accompanying mail-in ballots did not match the voters’ signatures on file, yet only 25,000 were looked into and resolved. Ayyadurai said he was not able to do a complete investigation since the BOS would not allow him to review the signatures of the voters on file with Maricopa County Elections, so instead, he used signatures publicly available from deeds on the Maricopa County Assessor’s website.
Bill Gates, a member of the BOS, responded immediately in an emailed statement. He defended the BOS’s refusal to turn over voter signatures. Gates said, “How is comparing signatures from one unrelated public recorded document to an early ballot envelope signature considered a viable way of proving identity for voting purposes? It’s not surprising this more recent report also uses faulty analysis to draw the conclusions Ayyadurai desires.” He said the request is being processed and “records will be provided in a reasonable period of time.”
Wright’s letter also reminded the BOS’s attorney that the AGO asked for all “written procedures, policies, guidelines and manuals … used by Maricopa County to conduct the 2020 General Election …” back on October 7, 2021. One of those was its ballot-curing procedure, which she named as EV-001. She went on to list more documents left out.
“Surprisingly, the materials also do not include any documentation regarding policies and procedures surrounding Early Voting Special Election Boards that was provided as an exhibit in then-Recorder Fontes’ complaint for declaratory relief,” she said.
Much has been made of the Sharpie scandal – accusations that election workers told voters to use Sharpie pens to mark ballots, which can bleed through, and Wright asked about that.
“This should include unofficial emails that communicated election-related policies to county staff and volunteers (such as pens used for marking ballots), as well as official policies and procedures,” the attorney said.
Former President Donald Trump expressed his concern on Monday about the stonewalling. He issued a statement, “Arizona Senate President Karen Fann is asking the exact right question about the corrupt Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, ‘What are they hiding now?’”
He went on, “Based on the already released information regarding the Rigged and Stolen 2020 Presidential Election, including mail-in ballots without signatures and forgeries, as well as the disgusting refusal to turn over documents, now is finally the time for the Arizona Attorney General to issue warrants and take his investigation to the next level. The supervisors just won’t release the information — it must really be bad!”
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at the Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by Wars. CC BY-SA 3.0.
One Thought to “State Sen. Townsend Subpoenas Maricopa County Supervisors to Testify Why County Is Obstructing Attorney General Brnovich’s 2020 Election Investigation”
[…] requested records from the county until State Senator Kelly Townsend (R-Apache Junction) issued a subpoena. Furthermore, Brnovich made a few recommendations, including better procedures for early-ballot […]