Arizonans eager to find out what state legislators with subpoena power might learn about the 2020 General Election must wait an undetermined amount of time, after the chair of the House Elections Committee couldn’t get approval for a meeting this week.
Rep. Kelly Townsend (LD16) initiated the process several days ago for approval of a Dec. 10 committee meeting. However, the chief clerk for the Arizona House of Representatives was informed Wednesday evening by Chief of Staff Michael Hunter that House Speaker Rusty Bowers had not authorized the elections committee to meet that day.
That meant the clerk, Jim Drake, could not put forth an agenda or arrange for the meeting which would have been conducted via Zoom.
Townsend and other legislators then approached Senate President Karen Fann about the possibility of meeting via a senate committee instead. Thursday afternoon there were reports and tweets that the Senate Judiciary Committee would take up the cause Friday.
“A serious and substantive move in the right direction,” Townsend tweeted at 12:13 p.m., along with a thank you to Fann. And at 1:30 p.m., Townsend noted that the public could view the meeting Friday morning via Zoom.
But by late afternoon it was clear no such meeting would be held Friday, nor was there a firm date for a future meeting. Some legislators say they were told there was not enough time to properly notice a senate committee meeting, while others say they were told there was never plans for a meeting until after the U.S. Electoral College convenes Monday.
Thursday evening Townsend told Arizona Daily Independent she wanted to start committee inquiries before the state’s 11 electoral votes are cast for former Vice President Joe Biden next week. She also expressed frustration at the delays but insisted she will continue pushing for a meeting so voters can get their questions answered about the integrity of this year’s general election process.
Townsend also said Arizona voters do not want the issue to go away, even if some legislators do.
“Regardless of the reasons they had for us not meeting this week, the optics clearly tend to show the public that it is about stalling,” said Townsend, who next month becomes Senator Townsend (LD16).
Next Monday, the 11 Democratic electors are scheduled to gather at 10 a.m. for the formal process of casting Arizona’s electoral votes, which by statute go to the presidential candidate who received the most general election votes. The Democratic electors are Steve Gallardo, Luis Alberto Heredia, Constance Jackson, Sandra D. Kennedy, Stephen Roe Lewis, James McLaughlin, Jonathan Nez, Ned Norris, Regina Romero, Felecia Rotellini, and Fred Yamashita.