On Wednesday, the Arizona State Senate Judiciary Chairman Warren Petersen, with the blessing of Senate President Karen Fann, crafted a floor resolution to hold the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in contempt of the Senate for not turning over the 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County during the 2020 election.
The Arizona Senate Judiciary Chairman’s request is simple: Give them the ballots so Colonel Phil Waldron and his associates can examine them.
Not only is it illegal under Arizona state law for this Board to turn over custody of the ballots, it is also unfathomable that the Arizona Senate has hired a known, and frequently debunked, conspiracy theorist to conduct their audit.
From the outset of our conflict with the Senate, my priority has been the privacy and security of voter data and the sacrosanct right of a secret ballot. The request and subsequent retribution from the Senate is a direct attack on both.
Additionally, the Arizona Senate has put Maricopa County in the unattainable position of following Arizona state law, which we in good faith believe we are doing, or submitting the information demanded by the legislative subpoena.
Maricopa County originally filed suit to ask for clarification from the courts what information we can legally provide to the Senate. That is not obstructionism. That is not willfully violating a subpoena. It is a legitimate concern that the Board has in protecting people’s secret ballot and following the law.
If the Arizona Senate believes that they have a right to examine your secret ballot, I invite them to make a good faith argument to a court and will respect any decision henceforth.
Barring a court order, I will never be in favor of turning over your ballots.
In the meantime, I stand willing and able to work with the legislature to address any concerns about how the election was handled in order to craft legislation to address any deficiencies.
I also look forward to the results of the two independent audits currently being conducted at the request of the Board of Supervisors.
It is paramount that voters have confidence in our system and I am hopeful that having qualified and independent auditors review the data will do just that.
Bill Gates is a member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors representing county District 3.