By Corinne Murdock |
Freshman lawmaker Alex Kolodin has eight election integrity bills ready to introduce in the upcoming legislative session.
Kolodin publicized these draft bills this week for constituent review.
Several of the bills would establish an election integrity commission; a tiebreak system for when the attorney general and secretary of state can’t agree on the Election Procedures Manual (EPM); further rights for political party and public observers to oversee processing of drop box ballots; a requirement for drop box ballot processing to be recorded on a live feed; the option for any county to forgo the use of electronic tabulation machines; and clarifications for minimum signature disqualification and observer rights to challenging signatures.
One bill would prohibit the secretary of state, county recorders, county board of supervisor members, and any elected or unelected officer in charge of elections from serving as a chairperson, treasurer, or any other member of a political action committee (PAC). That bill would prevent controversies such as ongoing public scrutiny over Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer’s PAC. A similar bill was introduced last session by State Representative Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), but never made it to any committee.
Richer’s PAC, Pro-Democracy Republicans, submitted $45,000 to Defending Arizona Values for polling and mailers, $10,000 to Awareness Analytics for polling, just over $7,000 to Richer for event and operating expenses, over $3,700 to Connect Strategic for consulting, and over $2,200 to Summit Consulting Group for consulting.
The PAC’s $88,000 in donations came from thousands contributed by various business leaders across different sectors, like investing and insurance.
Another bill would further clarify legislative intent concerning Title 16, “Elections and Electors,” Chapter 4, “Conduct of Elections.” The proposed legislation clarifies that courts, election officials, and others in power have interpreted these statutes to “an undesirably restrictive degree of public transparency.” Kolodin’s bill establishes a rule of construction that requires the interpretation of statute that affords more transparency to prevail.
A final bill, the “Voters Right to Know Act,” would establish a system enabling voters to see an image of their cast ballot online. These ballots would be digitally organized in a searchable manner by precinct, not vote center, and would include a report informing voters how each vote for the particular candidate or ballot measure was tabulated. Each ballot would also have a unique identifier like a serial number. However, the identifier wouldn’t be linked to individual voters in any government database. Exempt from this ballot image database would be Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) votes. Violations of this legislation would constitute a class 2 misdemeanor.
Though they share the same name, Kolodin’s bill is unrelated to Proposition 211. That separate act approved by voters during this election claims to purge dark money from elections, though it includes carve outs for leftist dark money: corporate media, Big Tech, most labor unions, and certain PACs.
Prior to joining the state legislature, Kolodin served as a prominent constitutional attorney. Over the last few years, he’s represented the Arizona GOP in several election integrity cases. Kolodin attempted to extend Maricopa County’s polling hours on Election Day following mass voting machine failures, which the county explained during its cavass on Monday were due, in part, to incompatible heat settings on a series of retrofitted ballot-on-demand (BOD) printers. Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) intervened in that petition to ensure its demise.