Ongoing GOP attacks on 2020 election have Maricopa County worried about the future

Arizona Republicans have yet to exhaust their attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election results in Maricopa County.

Despite a series of so-called “audits” failing to find substantial evidence against the facts — that President Joe Biden beat former President Donald Trump by more than 10,000 votes in Arizona — GOP leaders in the Arizona Senate are not yet waving the white flag.

State lawmakers continue to grill Maricopa County officials, this time with a new subpoena for voter records.

“Famously, Arizona has seen a coordinated election denial effort centered on Maricopa County,” said David Becker, executive director and founder of the Center for Election Innovation and Research in Washington, DC.

“Perhaps because of an assault on our democratic process by the losing presidential candidate, we have seen unprecedented attacks on…election officials in Maricopa County.”

Republican Kelly Townsend, chair of the Senate Governmental Committee, issued a new legislative subpoena to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors last week.

She is demanding records related to voter registration and early polls — something Republicans in the state are seeking to undo with legislation and a Supreme Court trial.

This time, Mesa’s first-term state senator is focusing her efforts on the debunked findings of Shiva Ayyadurai, an anti-vaccine politician and election conspiracy theorist commissioned by Senate Speaker Karen Fann as part of what d others have called “simulated” electoral integrity. probe in Maricopa County.

“It saddens me a lot,” Becker said. “These attacks weaken American democracy, and they have not stopped.”

Townsend is researching voter registration records, contact with voters whose advance ballot affidavit signatures were rejected, and the county’s signature verification protocol.

It also requires the signatures that election workers used to verify the first ballots in 2020, she said.

After 16 months of constant monitoring, Maricopa County is exhausted. And worried.

“I’m concerned about the future,” said Republican Bill Gates, chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. “We continue to manage this investigation on a daily basis.”

The post-Trump divide in the Arizona GOP is exemplified by Townsend’s contentious relationship with Gates.

It all comes down to early voting.

In 2020, 90% of ballots in Maricopa County were cast by mail.

Gates celebrates that fact, but Townsend’s committee last Thursday passed Bill 2289, sponsored by Apache Junction Republican John Fillmore, which would end early voting and require ballots to be counted by hand.

Now the bill could see a Senate-wide vote.

The partisan and discredited Maricopa County election ‘audit’ ended months ago, but that also didn’t signal the end of Arizona conservatives’ efforts to drum up support for allegations of baseless voter fraud,” America Oversight, a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog group based in Washington, D.C., said in a statement.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s Election Integrity Unit is seeking similar documents as part of an investigation into Fann’s partisan audit.

Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright, who heads the Election Integrity Unit, joined Townsend in citing Ayyadurai’s findings in subpoenas and letters to Maricopa County.

Wright “receives two pilot studies conducted by Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai” and needs copies of Arizona voter registration records “in order to accurately assess the issues raised in the report,” she wrote. to the county on March 9.

Ayyadurai, a staunch supporter of the widely debunked conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was rigged, released a “scientific study” late last month claiming that more than 200,000 ballots in Arizona with incompatible signatures had not been examined.

Brnovich declined to directly answer why he gives Ayyadurai’s findings enough credence to warrant further scrutiny.

“We are not going to discuss the specific investigative techniques of an ongoing review,” said Katie Conner, senior spokeswoman for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. “As a prosecution agency, we deal with facts and evidence, not rumors or gossip. We decline to comment further on the audit review.

An independent study of voting machines in Maricopa County, the Senate Partisan Review Final Audit Report, debunked another popular myth in a report released this week that the machines were connected to the Internet.

The report “should be a final issue at the heart of the so-called Senate audit,” Gates said.

He responded to Townsend’s subpoena by turning over the records she had requested on Monday.

For now, “the attacks continue,” Gates said. “My colleagues and I are literally called traitors on a daily basis.”

Townsend was tight-lipped when confronted with what she expected to find in the filings Gates returned this week.

If there is any damning evidence to support her promise to overturn the 2020 election results, she has yet to find it.

“I wanted them to give the Attorney General the requested items,” Townsend said. New times. “That was the intent of this subpoena and it has been complied with, so no further action on this matter is currently required.”

In the meantime, she seeks to conjure up drastic changes to Arizona’s democratic process, which she says is infected with fraud, returning Election Day in Arizona to a voting experience reminiscent of what it was there. has generations.

Twenty-four hours to vote, in person only.

Since folding her congressional candidacy earlier this month, Townsend has been pursuing a second term in the Arizona Senate to keep the dream alive.

Nixing early voting is a threat to all Arizona voters, Gates says. Not only is it an accessibility issue, but it’s also the preferred method of voting for most Republican voters in the state.

“These threats are alive in Maricopa County,” Gates said.

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