By Daniel Stefanski |
Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) has the attention of national and local Republicans – especially as a group may be forming to push this voting reform measure onto the 2024 Arizona ballot to affect future elections.
After the Republican National Committee (RNC) voted last week to oppose RCV, Arizona Representative Austin Smith, who is a freshman member of the legislature and the Arizona Freedom Caucus, introduced HB2552 to prohibit RCV in the Grand Canyon State.
Ranked Choice Voting is most prominently featured in Alaska, where voters rank their preferences in each election until one candidate receives more than 50% of the vote. If RCV were to be successfully pushed by special interest groups in the 2024 election, Arizona’s primary and general elections would be effectively eliminated in favor of this new progressive system.
According to the Pew Research Center, “62 jurisdictions nationwide have adopted the voting method” – and more are on the way in the near future, including the attempt to airdrop it into Arizona.
Representative Smith posted on his Twitter account this week that his legislation had “support from a majority of the Republican caucus in both the Arizona House and Senate.”
Smith does not appear to be wrong about that. The bill has garnered 38 cosponsors from both legislative chambers.
The bill also appears to be destined for a quick vote as it has already received a first and second read in the Arizona House in its first week of existence.
RCV has long been a target of Representative Smith. Soon after Smith won his general election contest in November 2022, he tweeted that “We can never allow rank choice voting to happen in Arizona.”
In an exclusive interview with AZ Free News, Representative Smith explained why he introduced this legislation:
“I introduced HB 2552 with a majority of Republican lawmakers of all stripes because we’ve seen in the test run with RCV that it doesn’t work. It actually deepens problems with elections. It hurts voters and makes the process of tallying even harder. We shouldn’t make the process of vote tallying even harder for election workers and sow distrust in the process even more.”
Representative Smith’s bill has been met with tremendous applause from many people around Arizona and nationally, including two former elections officials in the state, David Romney (Election Services Division of the Arizona Secretary of State’s office) and Jen Wright (Assistant Attorney General and head of the Election Integrity Unit).
Should this legislation pass the Arizona Senate and House, it remains to be seen whether it would be signed into law by Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs, who has promised to use her veto stamp on bills she believes are partisan in nature.
This potential uncertainty if and when the legislation reaches the Ninth Floor won’t stop Representative Smith, however, from seeing his bill across the legislative finish line. Smith told AZ Free News, “It’s important for the legislature to show Arizona citizens that Republicans are going on the offensive to prevent bad policies from hurting Arizona’s elections. The best defense is a good offense, and my bill does just that.”
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.