Representative-Elect Unveils Eight Election Integrity Bills For Upcoming Session 

Representative-Elect Unveils Eight Election Integrity Bills For Upcoming Session 

By Corinne Murdock |

Freshman lawmaker Alex Kolodin has eight election integrity bills ready to introduce in the upcoming legislative session.

Kolodin publicized these draft bills this week for constituent review. 

Several of the bills would establish an election integrity commission; a tiebreak system for when the attorney general and secretary of state can’t agree on the Election Procedures Manual (EPM); further rights for political party and public observers to oversee processing of drop box ballots; a requirement for drop box ballot processing to be recorded on a live feed; the option for any county to forgo the use of electronic tabulation machines; and clarifications for minimum signature disqualification and observer rights to challenging signatures.

One bill would prohibit the secretary of state, county recorders, county board of supervisor members, and any elected or unelected officer in charge of elections from serving as a chairperson, treasurer, or any other member of a political action committee (PAC). That bill would prevent controversies such as ongoing public scrutiny over Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer’s PAC. A similar bill was introduced last session by State Representative Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), but never made it to any committee.

Richer’s PAC, Pro-Democracy Republicans, submitted $45,000 to Defending Arizona Values for polling and mailers, $10,000 to Awareness Analytics for polling, just over $7,000 to Richer for event and operating expenses, over $3,700 to Connect Strategic for consulting, and over $2,200 to Summit Consulting Group for consulting.

The PAC’s $88,000 in donations came from thousands contributed by various business leaders across different sectors, like investing and insurance. 

Another bill would further clarify legislative intent concerning Title 16, “Elections and Electors,” Chapter 4, “Conduct of Elections.” The proposed legislation clarifies that courts, election officials, and others in power have interpreted these statutes to “an undesirably restrictive degree of public transparency.” Kolodin’s bill establishes a rule of construction that requires the interpretation of statute that affords more transparency to prevail. 

A final bill, the “Voters Right to Know Act,” would establish a system enabling voters to see an image of their cast ballot online. These ballots would be digitally organized in a searchable manner by precinct, not vote center, and would include a report informing voters how each vote for the particular candidate or ballot measure was tabulated. Each ballot would also have a unique identifier like a serial number. However, the identifier wouldn’t be linked to individual voters in any government database. Exempt from this ballot image database would be Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) votes. Violations of this legislation would constitute a class 2 misdemeanor. 

Though they share the same name, Kolodin’s bill is unrelated to Proposition 211. That separate act approved by voters during this election claims to purge dark money from elections, though it includes carve outs for leftist dark money: corporate media, Big Tech, most labor unions, and certain PACs. 

Prior to joining the state legislature, Kolodin served as a prominent constitutional attorney. Over the last few years, he’s represented the Arizona GOP in several election integrity cases. Kolodin attempted to extend Maricopa County’s polling hours on Election Day following mass voting machine failures, which the county explained during its cavass on Monday were due, in part, to incompatible heat settings on a series of retrofitted ballot-on-demand (BOD) printers. Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) intervened in that petition to ensure its demise.

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

House Republicans Sign Letter In Support Of Senate Audit, Urge Passage Of Election Integrity Bills

House Republicans Sign Letter In Support Of Senate Audit, Urge Passage Of Election Integrity Bills

By Terri Jo Neff |

As the State Senate’s audit of Maricopa County’s 2020 General Election results and procedures continues, the majority of House Republicans signed a letter last week proclaiming their support of Senate President Karen Fann’s efforts.

“Each of us remains steadfast and focused on working to safeguard against potential ballot tampering, voter fraud and other voting irregularities,” the April 29 letter states. “We firmly believe our elections must be lawfully conducted under the Constitution, as well as with federal and state election law.”

The signees include Reps. Brenda Barton, Leo Biasucci, Walt Blackman, Shawna Bolick, Judy Burges, Frank Carroll, Joseph Chaplik, David Cook, Timothy Dunn, John Filmore, Mark Finchem, Travis Grantham, Jake Hoffman, Steve Kaiser, John Kavanagh, Quang Nguyen, Joanne Osborne, Jacqueline Parker, Beverly Pingerelli, Jeff Weninger, and Justin Wilmeth.

According to the letter, the representatives are “fully committed to sorting through the verified evidence” once the Senate Audit is done and the auditors’ reports are available. Then they will work “to remedy verified irregularities” with the intent to increase voter trust. 

In the meantime, the signers told Fann it “is paramount” to pass other pending election integrity legislation such as SB1485, which would require all 15 counties to remove voters from the early ballot mailing list if those voters fail to utilize early voting for two full election cycles. About 207,000 voters could drop off the early ballot list, a process which does not impact a voter’s registration status.

Cleaning up the list will save counties money on printing and postage, according to SB1485 supporters, while also reducing opportunities for election misconduct by ensuring early ballots are only being sent to voters who intend to use them.

SB1485 has already cleared the House but is held up in the Senate due to a revolt in the Republican caucus by Sen. Kelly Townsend, who alleges bill sponsor Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita was responsible for “killing” more than a dozen of Townsend’s election-related bills.

The representatives’ April 29 letter was issued the same day the House voted 31 to 29 along party lines to approve SB1003, another bill sponsored by Ugenti-Rita, which will ensure counties follow the same process -and same deadline of 7 p.m. on election day- for curing early ballots received without the statutorily required signature on the voter affidavit.

Most counties reported a very small number of unsigned early ballot affidavits in the 2020 General Election, but the bill is one of several that Republicans say are necessary to promote consistency and voter confidence in election procedures used statewide.