The integrity of our electoral process is vital to maintaining the foundations of democracy. Reliable and secure voting machines play a crucial role in the faith, trust, and confidence of our elections. Knowing and understanding this, the Arizona Legislature just passed HB 2613, which would have mandated voting machines used in state elections be made in America. Furthermore, this legislation would have required all those voting machines to have 100% of their parts and components sourced and assembled in the U.S.
Unfortunately for the people of Arizona, Governor Hobbs vetoed the legislation. In doing so, she turned her back on American manufacturing and election integrity.
The call for products to be made in America is not new. In fact, during his State of the Union address in 2023, President Biden emphasized the importance of domestic manufacturing, highlighting how American-made products would benefit the country’s economy and ensure national security. The proposed legislation in Arizona would have aligned with this vision, as it promoted the manufacturing of voting machines in the U.S., creating jobs and strengthening the domestic industry while simultaneously enhancing election security.
One of the primary benefits of requiring voting machines to be made in America is that it enhances election security. By mandating that all components are sourced and manufactured in the U.S., the legislation would have ensured that voting machines are built to the highest security standards, making them less susceptible to hacking, interference, and tampering. And if history is any guide and issues arise with machines on Election Day, it is much easier to find out what happened if the voting machine manufacturing plant is located in Buckeye and not Beijing. It also would have guaranteed transparency in the manufacturing process and ensured that any potential vulnerabilities could be addressed before the machines were used for elections.
Moreover, American-made voting machines would have given voters greater confidence in the electoral process, particularly at a time when concerns about election integrity are rising. By increasing transparency and accountability, these machines would help to alleviate doubts and promote trust in the democratic process.
Finally, the legislation would have allowed for a transition period before full implementation, ensuring a smooth transition and minimizing any potential disruptions to the electoral process. This provision would have ensured sufficient time for voting machine manufacturers to meet the new requirements, which would have minimized the impact on existing voting systems.
Requiring voting machines used in Arizona to be made in America is a sensible move that benefits everyone. By enhancing election security, increasing transparency, promoting domestic manufacturing, and supporting the American economy, this legislation would have represented a significant step toward ensuring the integrity of the democratic process. As President Biden emphasized in his State of the Union address, everything made in America benefits the country. Clearly, Governor Hobbs’ veto signals she does not support American workers, American manufacturing, or election integrity. The real question Arizonans have to ask is, “Why?”
It’s a tale as old as January 2023: Arizona’s Democrat Governor and Republican-led Legislature aren’t agreeing on much in this session; and they certainly aren’t coming together on issues of election integrity.
Governor Katie Hobbs recently vetoed SB 1074, sponsored by Senator Sonny Borrelli, which would have prohibited “the use of electronic voting equipment as the primary method for tabulating votes in any city, town, county, state or federal election unless the outlined requirements are met.” The legislation would also prescribe “requirements relating to the source codes for electronic voting equipment.”
The governor didn’t provide much information in her veto letter to Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen, writing, “The election equipment required by the bill, as well as the problem it purports to solve, does not exist. This bill neither strengthens our democracy, nor ensures that Arizonans can better exercise their fundamental right to vote. I stand ready to receive bills that do.”
The bill sponsor, Borrelli, was outraged at the governor’s decision, issuing a press release to “call out Governor Hobbs for her continued blatant political games after she vetoed a bill that would have established oversight, security and transparency on electronic voting systems.”
Senator Borrelli stated: “In her veto letter, Governor Hobbs stated the election equipment required by the bill does not exist. This is in fact a lie. The equipment exists, but the components are made in the People’s Republic of China and other non-friendly countries. She’s pushing the idea that the United States of America could not onshore the manufacturing of tabulation equipment, which is absolutely absurd. There is nothing the American workforce cannot do given the right opportunities.”
He continued, saying, “Furthermore, Governor Hobbs falsely stated that this bill purports to solve a problem that does not exist. I beg to differ. Any electronic device can be manipulated to have a certain outcome. You need source codes to determine this, but they’re not being provided with the current system. You would think the former Secretary of State would know that in 2013, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security designated elections systems as critical infrastructure. This means these systems should be subjected to the same national security standards that the U.S. Department of Defense would apply to any critical infrastructure. Having a third-party vendor with total autonomy is not good for security, voter confidence, nor democracy. This bill would have taken the politics out of the voting process and created a neutral party that works for the Legislature. Fair and honest elections are a bi-partisan concern, albeit only when Democrats are the ones to benefit. Hobbs’ obstructive and cavalier attitude has been part of the destruction of transparency and oversight within our elections.”
SB 1074 originated in the Senate and was considered by the Elections Committee in February, where it passed by a vote of 5-3. The full Senate then approved of the measure in March, 16-13, with one member (Senator Gonzales) not voting. Borrelli’s proposal was then transmitted to the House and heard in the Municipal Oversight & Elections Committee, where it received six Republican votes compared to four Democrat votes (with Representative Jacqueline Parker absent for that vote). The full House then gave the bill the green light with a 31-27 tally, with two Democrat members not voting, making it possible for the legislation to be sent to the Governor’s Office.
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.
Election integrity measures haven’t been a source of unity for all Arizona Republicans over the past two years, but one bill just introduced by a state senator may have brought the party somewhat closer together on one aspect of reform.
The one-page bill, SB 1471, was recently introduced by Senator John Kavanagh, dealing with ballot tabulation and hand count comparison. According to the legislation, which would only apply to Arizona counties with a population of more than two million persons, “the officer in charge of elections in (these counties) shall randomly select four election precincts in the county from the ballot test decks used for logic and accuracy testing for the 2022 general election and shall recount all races using one hundred of those ballots from each precinct.” There would be a hand count of these ballots that would coincide with the machine count.
The legislation requires a county recorder to “compare the tabulator total and the hand count,” and take additional steps to recheck the counts should there be a “difference in the totals that is greater than one-tenth of one percent.” The county recorder would then “estimate how many persons working sixteen hours a day would be required to hand county the entire number of ballots cast in the November 2022 election.” After the conclusion of this process, the county recorder would transmit the report to the governor, president of the Arizona Senate, and the speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives.
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer released a statement this week that appeared to be in support of the legislation, saying, “Smart legislation is key to improving Arizona’s elections and voters’ trust. …This legislation will build confidence in our election system by showing that machine tabulation is highly accurate, free of bias and fast. Thanks to Senator Kavanagh for this good idea.”
It remains to be seen if Republicans at the Legislature will be appreciative of Recorder Richer’s statement on SB 1471. Maricopa County officials and members of the Arizona Legislature have not always seen eye-to-eye over election integrity since the 2020 presidential contest, and there are often competing interests or motivations even in a perceived daylight of agreement between two opposing factions. Some legislative Republicans may see this bill as an opportunity to validate hand counts, while other Republicans may view this legislation as an endorsement of machine counting.
This bill has not been assigned to a committee, nor does it have any cosponsors at the time of publication.
Should this legislation pass the Arizona Senate and House, it remains to be seen whether it would be signed into law by Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs, who has promised to use her veto stamp on bills she believes are partisan in nature.
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.
This past November’s election in Arizona was a complete disaster. Not only did voting machines fail across Maricopa County, but many voters were suppressed and disenfranchised. Right now, we should be working toward solutions that restore voter confidence and ensure election integrity. But believe it or not, some national groups and liberal billionaires are planning to come to Arizona to run a ballot initiative that would make our elections even more complicated.
It’s called ranked-choice voting, and if you haven’t heard of it, it works a little something like this…
From their pulpit at press conferences, they shrugged off questions and concerns about the potential for long lines on election day and whether they would have their voting centers properly equipped. For weeks, the mainstream media blasted out to Arizonans that they are competent election officials, about to implement the “safest, most secure” election in history.
Then it all came crumbling down in what was one of the worst election days in recent history. Long lines, yes. But more importantly, critical equipment failures resulted in the complete inability to tabulate ballots at dozens of voting locations for several hours. It didn’t stop there. The issues persisted in the coming weeks for Maricopa County, who responded to requests for information with hostility. And then, we found out Pinal County (following major problems in their primary election) had miscounted hundreds of ballots, shrinking the already miniscule gap between the candidates for attorney general.
Two months later, these issues are still being litigated. But regardless of how the election contests being pursued by Kari Lake and Abe Hamadeh turn out, nothing changes the fact that Maricopa and Pinal Counties bungled the election.
Going forward, Arizona must learn from what happened, craft meaningful solutions, and focus efforts on productive goals ahead of 2024…