Election Transparency Bill Headed To Governor’s Desk

May 18, 2023

By Daniel Stefanski |

Another election integrity bill has cleared the Arizona Legislature and is awaiting final action from Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs.

On Monday, HB 2560, sponsored by Speaker Ben Toma, passed out of the Arizona House of Representatives with a party-line 31-27 vote (with one Democrat not voting and one vacant seat). The proposal “directs the County Recorder to transmit to the Secretary of State to post on a secure website: a list of all registered voters before an election, a list of all persons who voted in the election, the unaltered images of ballots used to tabulate election results and the cast vote record in a sortable format.” The Senate then substituted SB 1324 with the House version Monday, giving the legislation the green light, 19-9 (with two Democrats not voting).

Earlier in the session, the bill had been approved by the House Municipal Oversight and Elections Committee along partisan lines (6-4).

The bill had previously garnered the support of Democrat Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and Republican Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer. On April 7, as he was about to mark his 100th day in office, Fontes’ office released a statement on the legislative proposal, writing: “Additionally, Secretary Fontes has been a strong proponent of SB 1324, a bipartisan piece of legislation concerning ballot imaging sponsored by former Secretary of State and current State Senator, Ken Bennett. An identical bill was introduced in the House as HB 2560. The bill, which is similar to legislation passed in other states such as Colorado, would allow people to compare ballot images to a cast vote record and would help restore confidence for some voters in our elections.”

Richer had issued a statement earlier in the year on February 13, saying, “Elections work when there is openness and transparency. SB 1324 does that by creating a system where each county recorder can inform voters before and after every election about who is eligible to vote while protecting voter confidentiality. All three – the list of eligible voters, the list of who voted, and the cast vote record – will be available to anyone who wants them. SB 1324 and Speaker Ben Toma’s legislation, HB 2560, contain similar language and will further strengthen our elections by enshrining the kind of transparency that can build public trust in our elections.”

After the bill received the go-ahead from the Senate on Monday, Senator Wendy Rogers tweeted, “Great effort to restore accountability in our elections.”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

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