Arizona Senate Majority Leader Karen Fann

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, R-Prescott, speaks to the media after the adjournment of the Arizona Senate legislative session Tuesday, May 26, 2020, in Phoenix. 

(The Center Square) – Members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors could be facing criminal charges as early as Monday if Arizona Senate Republicans agree to punish them for their refusal to turn over election equipment and ballots.

Sixteen GOP senators co-sponsored a resolution to hold the board in legislative contempt after it refused to set a date in which it would agree to their request.

Led by Senate President Karen Fann, R-Prescott, the chamber suspended rules requiring the resolution to be considered in a committee, allowing it to have been read twice. The earliest the measure could be finalized is Monday. 

“It is truly unfortunate that today Maricopa County has refused to comply with the subpoena and allow the Senate to conduct a forensic audit of the election,” Sen. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, tweeted Tuesday. “There is no legal consequence if they allow us access to the machines and ballots. However, there are serious legal consequences for failing to comply with the subpoena.”

Petersen is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

If all 16 Republicans remain in favor of going after the county board, the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms would be empowered to arrest the members. All Democrats opposed the resolution.

Contempt charges stemming from the Legislature is a class 2 misdemeanor in Arizona, which carries four months imprisonment and $750 in fines.

Board Chairman Jack Sellers responded to the resolution, saying the charges simply were meant to apply pressure to turn over the requested equipment, which also is against state law.

“It is also sad that President Fann continues to run from the fact that she has hired a debunked conspiracy theorist utilized by Rudy Giuliani to conduct a Senate ‘audit’ suspiciously as an impeachment trial is set to begin in the United States Senate,” Sellers said. 

It’s been previously reported that Fann had decided to use Allied Security Operations Group’s services to run their inspection of ballots and tabulating machines but later denied a final decision had been made.

Supervisor Steve Gallardo, the board’s only Democrat, said lawmakers were bowing to conspiracy theorists.

“It's shameful that the Arizona Senate issued subpoenas based off unfounded conspiracies for an election that happened 92 days ago,” he said. “It's worse that some members are now doubling down in pursuit of these falsehoods by considering contempt charges against a body they once promised to partner with.”

A poll released Thursday by OH Predictive Insights showed 54% of the Republicans polled agreed with the statement that “evidence has been uncovered which shows that the election was stolen from President Trump in a number of states that the media and election officials have called for Joe Biden.”

Maricopa County is fighting a court battle over whether it should be required to turn the equipment over to lawmakers, but it’s yet to have been decided. The county also is conducting two independent audits of the county’s voting machines.

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.