Arizona judge sides with GOP lawmakers in dispute over 2020 ballot audit

Though the 2020 election is well in the rear view mirror and Joe Biden has been in the Oval Office for more than a month, lawmakers in Arizona continue to investigate what many believe were serious irregularities in the voting process.

In a win for those hoping to increase electoral transparency, a Superior Court judge in Maricopa County ruled in favor of GOP state senators who sought access to over two 2.1 million ballots as well as the equipment used to tabulate results in the November presidential contest that saw Biden declared the winner over Donald Trump.

The ruling came in response to two subpoenas issued by Republican lawmakers in December of last year demanding access to the ballots, election equipment, and other materials needed for an audit of the results, as Phoenix NBC affiliate KPNX reported.

Judge Timothy Thomason found that “there is no question that the Senators have the power to issue legislative subpoenas,” and that “the Senate also has broad constitutional power to oversee elections.”

In doing so, Thomason rejected arguments made by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors that the questioned ballots were secret, that the lawmakers had no right to review them, and that the initial subpoena for the materials was issued illegitimately.

In response to the court’s finding, the senate GOP applauded the judge for understanding that “this is about getting answers to the questions voters have, and not some effort to overturn any election results,” further characterizing their work as an important step in bolstering “voter confidence in election integrity.”

The ruling ended a ongoing dispute between the Republican legislators and the Board of Supervisors which has since indicated that it will not appeal the decision, according to the Associated Press.

Jack Sellers, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, stated that he and his colleagues respect the judge’s ruling and “will immediately start working to provide the Arizona Senate with the ballots and other materials.”

Considering that a recent Quinnipiac Poll revealed that 77% of Republicans believe widespread fraud occurred during the 2020 presidential election, audit initiatives such as the one being undertaken in Maricopa County may indeed be critical if voter confidence in the electoral system is to be restored anytime soon.