By Daniel Stefanski |
As the threat of a Ranked Choice Voting ballot measure grows, Arizona lawmakers are increasing their warnings about the future of elections under this proposed new system.
This week, the Arizona Freedom Caucus released a statement to note its members’ extreme disapproval over the prospects of Ranked Choice Voting governing future elections: “The Arizona Freedom Caucus unequivocally opposes Ranked Choice Voting. The problems with RCV are numerous and well-documented, the least of which is the erosion of the one-citizen, one-vote principle which has long guided American elections. In jurisdictions where it has been tried, RCV has caused the exact outcomes which election integrity legislators have sought to eliminate, such as disenfranchisement, voter confusion, delayed results, and the unnecessary complication of our elections process.”
HB 2552, sponsored by Representative Austin Smith, passed the House on March 1 with a 31-28-1 vote. On February 28, SB 1265, sponsored by Senator Anthony Kern, passed the Senate with a 16-13-1 vote.
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 issued the following statement in the Arizona Freedom Caucus’s press release: “Ranked Choice Voting is an unmitigated disaster as seen recently in Alaska and local municipalities races. Arizona—Maricopa County specifically—already has a bad record of voter tabulation and counting process. Between voter confusion, high rates of ballot exhaustion and the difficulty of tabulating the results, RCV increases voter disenfranchisement, distrust in the process and deters candidates from taking stances on issues important to every Arizonan. The bottom line is RCV is a scam that destroys integrity in elections.”
Senator Kern also provided a quote for the release, saying, “RCV may not always result in the candidate with the most first-choice votes winning the election. I am aware that there are groups in Arizona advocating for RCV, but this will only lead to chaos, and we must ensure that our constituents have easy and fair access to the ballot box.”
Another Freedom Caucus member, Senator Justine Wadsack, also weighed in on the Ranked Choice Voting debate: “RCV introduces voter disenfranchisement perpetrated by its ‘exhausted ballots’ because the effect is the silencing of significant portions of the electorate. Exhausted ballots are those that do not rank any continuing candidate, contain an overvote at the highest continuing ranking, or contain two or more sequential skipped rankings before its highest continuing ranking.”
The Arizona Freedom Caucus, along with other Republican members of the State Senate and House, hosted a press conference on Wednesday, at 11:00am, in the Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing Room to announce their formal opposition to Ranked Choice Voting. These efforts take place under the unfriendly shadow of the Ninth Floor of the Arizona Executive Tower, where the legislation has little chance of being signed into law by Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs.
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.