One of the many Republican bills to suppress voter access has run into an unexpected roadblock in Arizona’s state Senate: one of the GOP’s own refusing to play ball. Sen. Kelly Townsend broke ranks to kill S.B. 1485 despite ostensibly supporting it, insisting that an audit be completed first.

The move prompted insults from conservative colleagues like the bill’s sponsor Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, who accused Townsend of having a “temper tantrum” over her own election security bills stalling. 

“You guys can say it’s a ‘temper tantrum,” Townsend said. “Absolutely I’m upset about all my election bills dead. Absolutely I am upset. You want to see a temper tantrum? I can show you one if you really want to see it, but I will not.”

S.B. 1485 targets infrequent voters, changing Arizona’s permanent early voting list to force counties to remove members. If a voter does not vote by mail for two consecutive election cycles and fails to respond to an alert from the county, the county is legally required to boot them from the list.

Townsend said she was actually supportive of the bill, but would continue to block it until an audit of Maricopa County finishes investigating its 2020 election. Expected to last through May, the search is part of sweeping and thus far entirely unsuccessful efforts by Republicans to find voter fraud that cost Donald Trump the election.

US President Donald Trump during a February 16, 2017 press conference at the White House Former US President Donald Trump Photo: AFP / Nicholas Kamm

Townsend exhumed the equally unfounded accusations against Dominion Voting Systems while talking about the bill. 

“Chain of custody, who here has addressed the chain of custody? Who here has addressed the SD cards that have zero chain of custody that have the results that come out of the Dominion machines?” she asked.

All in all, it’s likely a temporary reprieve. Ugenti-Rita motioned for the bill to be reconsidered, allowing her to bring it up again down the road. It’s part of a wider push to restrict voting in Arizona, with most legislation targeting Democrat-favored mail-in voting. 

Townsend has said she’ll block them all until the audit concludes.