By Daniel Stefanski |
A bill meant to add transparency to Arizona’s elections is approaching its final hurdle in the Legislature.
HB 2722, sponsored by Representative Gail Griffin, “authorizes the officer in charge of elections, the county recorder or any person who is designated by the county board of supervisors to count all or any portion of the ballots in an election by hand” – according to the purpose provided by the Arizona Senate.
In a statement to the House Municipal Oversight & Elections Committee, Representative Griffin explained the purpose of her legislation: “It’s a simple bill. It allows the counties to do a hand count. We believe that they already have the authority to do it, but this clarifies it.”
Last month, Griffin’s bill cleared the Arizona House by a party-line 31-28 vote – with one member (Representative Shah) not voting. Before the action from the full chamber, HB 2722 passed the House Municipal Oversight and Elections Committee with a 6-4 tally; all Republicans voting in favor of the legislation and all Democrats in opposition).
After the House transmitted this bill to the Senate, it was assigned to the Elections Committee, chaired by Senator Wendy Rogers. Rogers recently brought HB 2722 up for consideration, and it passed out of her committee with another party-line vote of 5-3.
During the committee hearing, Representative Griffin stopped by to testify for her bill. She told the members of the committee that she had worked with the Cochise County Recorder David Stevens on the bill’s language.
Democrat Senator Anna Hernandez had some harsh words for the bill sponsor before voting against the bill in the Senate committee: “I’m not inclined to support any legislation that is being pushed by someone who runs an institute that posts conspiracy theories…around elections.” Another fellow Democrat on the committee, Senator Mendez, added, “Advocates, policy advisors – everyone has noted to us that hand counts only produce inaccurate results, confused voters, and consume extensive time, money, and labor…We should not be inviting all of this chaos and pretending as if this is going to solve our problems.”
Senator Rogers had the final word on the bill before it officially passed her committee, saying, “Whatever it takes to get accurate, reliable results – because 250 years of blood and treasure have been spilled for our sacred vote.” She also read a 2019 quote from then-U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, which stated: “This shouldn’t be a controversial statement: The United States must embrace hand-marked paper ballots.”
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.