The Arizona Senate is set to pass a contempt resolution finding that the Maricopa County Board has failed to comply with a subpoena demanding access to elections equipment and ballots cast in the November election, with the potential threat of arrest alluded to in the sure-to-pass resolution.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday:
The Senate introduced the resolution Wednesday afternoon. Timing on a full Senate vote is unclear, but all 16 Republican senators are listed as sponsors, meaning it is virtually certain to pass.
If the resolution is enacted, the five members of the county board could be arrested for failing to comply. It authorizes Senate President Karen Fann to take “all legal action” needed to enforce the subpoena.
The document (in full below) demands:
That the President of the Arizona Senate take all legal action pursuant to section 41-1153, Arizona Revised Statutes, to enforce the subpoena.
A. If a witness neglects or refuses to obey a legislative subpoena, or, appearing, neglects or refuses to testify, the senate or the house may, by resolution entered in the journal, commit him for contempt.
B. A witness neglecting or refusing to attend in obedience to a subpoena may be arrested by the sergeant-at-arms and brought before the senate or house upon authority of a copy of the resolution signed by the president or speaker, and countersigned by the secretary or chief clerk.
The Senate has demanded access to voting machines and all 2.1 million ballots cast in the election. The board has said it can’t comply because ballots are sealed by law and the voting machines the Senate wants to examine need to remain secure.
Board Chairman Jack Sellers said Wednesday he was frustrated that the Senate was threatening to find the board in contempt, saying he met personally with Senate President Karen Fann and thought both sides agreed to try to settle the issue.
“I want to be clear: the county will participate in any court hearing with the Senate if they plan to argue the restrictions on ballots should be waived,” Sellers said in a statement. “Instead of suggesting that we are violating the laws the Legislature wrote, they should turn their attention to finding a solution.
“If they truly believe in the legality of their position, they will join us in seeking a solution through the courts,” Sellers said.