Arizonans To Decide Future Of Ranked Choice Voting

Arizonans To Decide Future Of Ranked Choice Voting

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.

Senate Passes Bill Requiring Early Ballots To Be Tabulated On Site On Election Day

Senate Passes Bill Requiring Early Ballots To Be Tabulated On Site On Election Day

By Corinne Murdock |

On Tuesday, the Arizona Senate passed a bill requiring voting locations to tabulate early ballots on site.

The bill, SB1105, passed 16-14 along party lines. The bill initially failed in the Senate, but received a second chance on reconsideration. However, the legislation wouldn’t apply to counties that tabulate Election Day ballots at a central location, and those that don’t otherwise tabulate Election Day ballots on-site at a polling location or voting center.

SB1105 from State Sen. Frank Carroll (R-LD28) modifies law to require rather than merely allow county officers in charge of elections to tabulate a voter’s early ballot on site on election day.

Officials who voiced opposition for the bill included Pima County Recorder Gabriella Cazares-Kelly, Mohave County Supervisor Jean Bishop, Mohave County Assessor Jeanne Kentch, and County Supervisors Association of Arizona Legislative Director Robin Hillyard.

During the Senate Elections Committee hearing on the bill in January, Senate Majority Leader Sonny Borrelli (R-LD30) called the legislation a “great, great bill” that “helps with accuracy.” Senate Assistant Minority Leader Juan Mendez (D-LD08) questioned what was more important: accuracy or speed. Borrelli responded that voting was a privilege worth waiting in line for, comparing voting lines to those lines people endure for things like movies and Disneyland. 

“You can wait to stand in line, but you can’t wait for the election results to come out when they’re just going to come out?” asked Mendez.

“I’ve always advocated for accuracy, not speed,” said Borrelli.

Jen Marson, Arizona Association of Counties, said that her organization opposes the bill, calling it “unimplementable.” Marson relayed that only half of the counties in the state tabulate ballots on site. She questioned whether the bill would require all counties to tabulate on site.

The committee hearing preceded the amended version of the bill that passed the Senate on Tuesday, which included the exemption for counties that tabulate Election Day ballots at a central location.

Marson further warned that two separate polling places would have to be run within each location: one side for early ballot turn-ins, and one for on-site tabulation. She projected that not all locations would have enough space to run this size of operations. With that, Marson noted that counties would be required to have two separate boards, staff, and equipment to oversee these separate polling place operations. 

In addition, Marson noted that it was difficult to find voting locations that are big enough and are ADA compliant. State Sen. John Kavanagh (R-LD03) pointed out that schools and churches are big enough and are ADA compliant, but Marson disclosed that counties are often told “no” by schools.

Marson questioned whether everyone would be required to stand in line rather than drop off an early ballot, and noted that there would need to be different tabulators for early ballots versus in-person, day-of ballots. 

Democrats in the committee called the bill “problematic” and a “logistical mess.” 

State Sen. Anna Hernandez (D-LD24) claimed that the bill would disenfranchise voters by requiring them to take the time to have their early ballot tabulated on site. Mendez concurred with Hernandez’s remarks, adding that it would make it harder for certain, undisclosed populations to vote.

State Sen. Ken Bennett (R-LD01) admitted that the bill was flawed but ultimately had good intentions. He voted for it in the hopes that the language would be cleaned up to address Marson’s warnings. 

“If people are going to bring their early ballots to the polls, then show ID and let’s get those counted. But, half of the counties literally do not do tabulation at these voting centers. This bill is attempting to do something by striking the very language that gives the counties the flexibility, who don’t do on-site tabulation, to send it in and count it,” said Bennett.

These issues were addressed in an amendment on the bill, which provided the exemption for counties that tabulate Election Day ballots at a central location, and those counties that don’t otherwise tabulate Election Day ballots on site at a polling location or voting center.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Stopping Katie Hobbs’ Nomination for DHS Was a Great First Step, but There’s More Work to Do

Stopping Katie Hobbs’ Nomination for DHS Was a Great First Step, but There’s More Work to Do

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

Katie Hobbs’ reign as governor of Arizona is off to a rough start. She was booed at the Phoenix Open this past weekend. She looked foolish in an interview before the Super Bowl with Fox News Sunday host Shannon Bream—who called out Hobbs for opposing school choice even though she attended a private school. And her pick to lead the Arizona Democratic Party, Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, was rejected.

That’s not a good look for a governor who’s been in office just over a month. And it’s probably why, at this point, Hobbs has chosen to rule by executive action. But her latest failure may be her worst to date.

Earlier this week, Hobbs’ pick to lead the Department of Health Services (DHS), Dr. Theresa Cullen, failed miserably when the Senate rejected her nomination…


Maricopa County Supervisors Snub Senate Subpoena For Election Records

Maricopa County Supervisors Snub Senate Subpoena For Election Records

By Corinne Murdock |

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (BOS) won’t comply with the Arizona Senate’s subpoena for election records. The Senate has attempted to get these records from the county for a month.

In a response letter issued to State Sen. Kelly Townsend (R-LD16), Government Committee chair, BOS Chair Bill Gates said that their staff and attorneys were too busy to respond by Townsend’s Wednesday deadline. Gates also insisted that Townsend’s subpoena wasn’t necessary.

“As you know, Maricopa County has made itself available to answer questions and provide information as requested, regardless if subpoenaed. It is not necessary for you to hand-deliver a letter or have a Senate President signed subpoena issued,” wrote Gates. 

Townsend rejected Gate’s excuse, describing it as a “willful and criminal” obstruction.

“[They] claim [they have] “no time due to court proceedings” [but] that would not be happening if they had followed their own policies,” tweeted Townsend. 

Townsend issued the subpoena on Tuesday as part of an ongoing investigation by her committee on potential mismanagement of this most recent election. 

Townsend asked Gates to reconcile discrepancies between his Audit Reconciliation report and poll workers’ Precinct Ballot Reports. Gates’ report failed to reflect the poll workers’ disclosure that nearly 17,500 ballots appeared to lack a chain of custody from voting centers. 

Townsend also asked Gates to explain why a combined 23,900 ballots were held overnight instead of immediate reception at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC). She also requested delivery of the remaining Incoming Scan Receipts chain of custody documents, and the Goldenrod reports (Voting Location Event Forms) for every voting center.

Further, Townsend requested that Gates reconcile discrepancies between the Election Procedures Manual (EPM) and the county’s procedures pertaining to audit reconciliation and Official Ballot Reports (Precinct Ballot Reports). Gates was to also provide the Goldenrod reports and all communications between the audit manager, the Elections Director, and/or all judges and inspectors regarding the discrepancies. 

Townsend also asked Gates to explain why some voting centers calculated Election Day tabulated ballots from memory cards, while others were counted at Central Count. 

The senator also requested Gates explain the audit process when a Precinct Ballot Report is missing information like tabulated ballots, door 3 ballots, seals, or inspector and judge signatures; as well as explain  how election boards at each voting center account for the provisional and voided ballots on their Official Ballot Report to complete EPM reconciliation requirements, since that wasn’t included in the Precinct Ballot Report fields.

Gates was also requested to explain why the county’s Precinct Ballot Report form wasn’t updated for the voting center model to include a count of control slips as a way to quantify voting center check-ins.

In response to constituent complaints that Townsend should issue an arrest warrant for the board, Townsend explained repeatedly that committee chairs don’t have the power to issue warrants on their own. 

“[A warrant] requires a vote of the body and a majority prevailing,” stated Townsend.

Townsend has attempted for about a month to receive complete election record data from Maricopa County.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Armed GOP Lawmakers Defended State Capitol From Pro-Abortion Insurrectionists

Armed GOP Lawmakers Defended State Capitol From Pro-Abortion Insurrectionists

By Corinne Murdock |

During pro-abortionists’ attempted insurrection of the Arizona State Capitol on Friday, several Republican senators took up arms to defend their legislature. The Arizona Department of Public Safety (ADPS) noted that there were between 7,000 and 8,000 protesters at the Arizona State Capitol Complex on Friday.

In an interview with “Conservative Circus” host James T. Harris, State Senator Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) recounted how the senate was in the middle of approving universal school choice when pro-abortion protestors attempted to breach the Arizona Capitol. Townsend said that she and three other legislators retrieved their firearms to help secure the building. 

“We got word that there was trouble in paradise, that people were trying to break into the capitol. We knew they were out there, but then they started trying to break into the doors,” said Townsend. “It was just surreal. It wasn’t traumatizing, it wasn’t dramatic. It was just, ‘This is really happening in our capitol.’ It was something that I will never, ever forget.”

Townsend also described the wide range of fellow members’ reactions to the insurrection threat: from those assuming leadership roles to those cowering and experiencing meltdowns. The legislator shared that she encouraged fearful members to take heart, sharing confidence in their safety due to being armed against the rioters.

“That’s the difference between AOC and us — when you’re armed, you are empowered to take care of yourself. You’re not traumatized. You are there to hold down the fort, right?” said Townsend.

The senator recounted that the only individuals traumatized by the event, by her observation, were the two children of a fellow, unnamed senator. 

“When you saw who was out there, it was these petulant little 20-year-old girls. There was definitely some Antifa, and that was what caused DPS to act, but mostly it was just girls banging on the window and then coming out with their spray paint and then destroying these monuments with their graffiti — not destroying them but, you know, getting them messy,” said Townsend.

AZDPS reported that rioters committed “felony criminal damage” to the capitol. In their attempts to address the chaos brewing amid trespass and unlawful assembly, AZDPS explained in a press release that they resorted to deploying gas to clear the plaza. In response to criticism of their tactics with children present, AZDPS countered that it was unwise for individuals to bring children to such a protest.

“What began as a peaceful protest evolved into anarchical and criminal actions by masses of splinter groups. As groups realized the state legislature was in session, they attempted to breach the doors of the Arizona Senate and force their way into the building. The violence of their efforts literally shook the building and terrified citizens and lawmakers who occupied the building. As the glass doors bowed from attempts of forced entry, the occupants of the building were instructed to move to secure locations,” reported AZDPS.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich denounced the rioters’ attempts to undermine law and order.

Despite the antics of the weekend, Townsend said that she and other legislators showed up early to the capitol to clean up the aftermath of the pro-abortionists. She observed that some Gold Star mothers were outraged by the defacement of the Enduring Freedom Memorial. The rioters wrote “ABORT THE COURT” and “F**K SCOTUS” across multiple memorials.

“If you could put yourself in their shoes and your son’s name is on there, and these petulant children come and spray paint it because they’re not able to take their child’s life?” remarked Townsend. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to