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Legislature Wants A Say In How Their Election Laws Are Carried Out

February 1, 2021

The Arizona Legislature may currently enact the laws which serve as the framework for elections in the state, but the nitty gritty details of how those laws are carried out is spelled out in the Arizona Election Procedure Manual (EPM), a 544-page set of rules and instructions all 15 counties must follow.

Changes to the EPM are usually recommended by those who do the majority of the work in an election – county recorders and their election department counterparts. The changes themselves, however, have to be implemented by the Arizona Secretary of State (SOS) with the approval of the Arizona Attorney General and governor.

On Feb. 1, the Senate Committee on Government is slated to take up SB1068 introduced by Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-LD12). The bill would amend three election-related statutes dealing with the EPM, and if passed, the legislature will have a much bigger say in how their laws are put into effect courtesy of the Legislative Council.

The Legislative Council, comprised of the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and six members from each legislative chamber, would have a seat at the review and approval table, as would the Governor’s six-member Regulatory Review Council (GRRC).

The governor and attorney general would be removed from the approval process if the bill passes.

According to the Senate Research Department, there is no anticipated fiscal impact to the state General Fund associated with SB1068. The main concern expressed by the Arizona Association of Counties has been the timeline for getting review and approval passed through two councils.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights have come out in opposition of the bill.

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