By Daniel Stefanski |
Amid a looming threat to transform Arizona’s elections by outside special interest groups, legislative Republicans are taking proactive steps to ensure that danger is neutralized before it gains momentum.
This week, the Arizona Senate passed HCR 2033, which sends a question to voters on an amendment to the state constitution to “determine that a Legislature-enacted direct primary law supersedes any contrary or inconsistent provision of any charter, law, ordinance, rule, resolution or policy of any city and modifies nominee requirements for a direct primary election.”
The issue at stake with this resolution is ranked choice voting (RCV), which is most prominently featured in Alaska. The system allows voters to 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.
The Arizona Senate Republican Caucus cheered the successful passage of this bill, writing, “JUST IN: Senate Republicans voted to send HCR 2033 to the ballot to give voters a voice in protecting Arizona’s primary election system and prohibit ranked choice voting!”
Bill sponsor, Representative Austin Smith, applauded the Senate’s vote on his resolution, saying, “Thank you to the @AZSenateGOP for voting out HCR2033. A bigger thank you to all the grassroots activists who worked so hard to make this happen. Very grateful for you all. This constitutional referral to protect our party primaries and girding us against radical experimental election systems that disenfranchise voters such as ‘ranked choice voting.’ HCR 2033 has passed the house and senate and will appear on the 2024 ballot!”
The vote in the Senate was split down party lines – 16-13, with one Democrat (Senator Miranda) not voting. Earlier in the session, the Arizona House passed the resolution – also along party lines – 31-28, with one Democrat (Representative Shah) not voting.
After the Senate approved HCR 2033, the legislature transmitted the resolution to the Arizona Secretary of State.
Smith’s efforts had attracted local and national attention – on both sides – since he introduced the resolution. Heritage Action previously noted the progress of the resolution through the state legislature; and its Vice President of Field Operations, Janae Stracke, highlighted its clearance from the state house in a March 2 press release, saying, “The ranked-choice voting scheme upends the democratic process and fundamentally changes the way elections operate, leaving voters confused, disenfranchised, and left with unpopular candidates who do not properly represent them….We encourage the Arizona Legislature to continue moving these bills through the process to maintain election integrity, and we look forward to working alongside grassroots Arizonans to advance more legislation that makes it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.