That money, said Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Glendale, went for particular needs this year due to the COVID pandemic, like additional drop boxes, cleaning supplies, rent for polling places, temporary staff and personal protective equipment.
“Those are basic necessities when you are administering elections,” he said.
“There is zero evidence whatsoever that this money was used in any partisan manner,” Quezada continued. “It wasn’t just helping Democrat voters, it was helping Republican voters, it was helping independent voters.”
But Sen. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, said the money received was above the adopted budgets for county recorders and was not needed to fill in gaps.
“But beyond that, if this grant was coming from China or if this grant was coming from Russia, we might be calling it Russian interference with our elections,” she said.
“So what is the difference between international money coming from a state overseas to an individual interested party, regardless of how it was spent and how desperately it was needed?” Townsend said. “It’s inappropriate.”
That, however, still leaves the question of whether the counties had the money they needed.
Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai, D-Cameron, said she has worked in a county elections office.