Infighting among GOP state senators in Arizona has blocked a bill that would have purged the state’s mail-in voting list.
The battle on Thursday was sparked as the state Senate was voting on S.B. 1485, a measure sponsored by Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R), which would have purged voters from the permanent early-voting list if they had not voted in two consecutive elections.
The measure also would have turned the early-voting list to an “active” early-voting list.
The state House passed the bill by a 31-29 vote earlier in the week, and the Senate was expected to pass it on Thursday.
But things took a surprising turn after Sen. Kelly Townsend (R) suddenly joined with Democrats in voting against the measure, after previously supporting it.
ABC News reported that Townsend wanted to wait for the outcome of an audit in Maricopa County before voting on the measure.
The audit came after the county contributed to President BidenJoe BidenJan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats address reports that clean energy program will be axed Two House Democrats to retire ahead of challenging midterms MORE’s narrow 2020 election victory in Arizona over former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE.
The Arizona Mirror reported that the firm hired to conduct the audit spread baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election.
Ugenti-Rita said Townsend’s “no” vote was part of a “temper tantrum” over her own election-related bills, according to ABC.
“It's certainly disappointing to take such a stark turn when someone purports again to care about election integrity, perhaps it's just a game and just for show," Ugenti-Rita said.
According to video shared to Twitter by NBC News reporter Jane C. Timm, Townsend said she was upset that her own bills were never considered.
“I am committed to fixing the problems in this elections system in Arizona, even if it means my name is in red on this board, and you guys can absolutely say it’s a temper tantrum,” Townsend said.
“Absolutely, I’m upset about all of my election bills dead,” she continued. “Absolutely, I’m upset. You want to see a temper tantrum, I can show you one if you really want to see it, but I will not.”
“You want to see a temper tantrum, I can show you one,” Arizona GOP state Sen. @AZKellyT said on the floor today, casting a surprise ‘no’ vote that (at least temporarily) kills @MichelleUgenti’s #SB1485— Jane C. Timm (@janestreet) April 23, 2021
Watch to see the heated back-and-forth: pic.twitter.com/IwJ9GGo5f9
The back-and-forth comes as the state considers a handful of election reform bills following Trump's claims that widespread voter fraud contributed to the 2020 presidential election.