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…
Last week, the Biden Administration officially filed a lawsuit against Arizona over HB2492, which bolsters safeguards to our voter registration process to require proof of citizenship ensuring only U.S. citizens are voting in our elections.
To many, it sounds absurd. Not HB2492, but the revelation that in Arizona, and in every state in the country, people are registering to vote and voting without ever providing proof of citizenship.
Who has authority to settle election related lawsuits involving the State of Arizona, its various agencies, and political subdivisions such as counties is the subject of proposed legislation slated for consideration by the House Committee of the Whole on Monday.
House Bill 2621 introduced by Rep. Jacqueline Parker as a strike everything on an earlier bill seeks to ensure the proper elected officials are aware of and involved in lawsuits in which “the constitutionality, legality or application” of Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 16 Elections and Electors, is questioned.
Parker’s bill creates a new law, ARS 16-194, prohibiting any party representing the State, an agency of the state, or a political subdivision of Arizona from agreeing to or signing a settlement agreement or a consent decree in any civil proceeding involving the state’s election laws, with the exception of disputes arising from the Citizens Clean Elections Act.
HB2621 leaves intact current state law requiring the Arizona Attorney General, the Speaker of the House, and the Senate President be served with legal filings involving a constitutional challenge to any state statute. Those three state officers also have the right under current state law to make their positions known to any court presiding over such a lawsuit.
The bill would likely prevent a repeat of the confusion leading up to the 2020 General Election when Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs retained her own legal counsel to respond to a lawsuit filed in federal court to change the application of the state’s voter registration deadline.
The federal court issued an order extending the state’s statutory registration deadline despite the fact Hobbs had not consulted with all 15 of the state’s county recorders who actually conduct voter registration. Hobbs also did not immediately appeal the federal court order until Gov. Doug Ducey, House Speaker Rusty Bowers, and Senate President Karen Fann challenged the deadline extension.
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks to say the least. In the wake of severe distrust of the U.S. election system, multiple states throughout the country have been seeking to pass reasonable laws that protect our election process. You would think that’s something everyone could get behind.
But not the liberal media and the left. They would rather tell one lie after another, all to push their “big lie” that these bills are somehow voter suppression. The pressure from the woke left resulted in Major League Baseball moving its All-Star Game from Atlanta after Georgia passed its new voting laws. And even here in Arizona, multiple business leaders have taken a public stand against several election integrity bills.
Perhaps they should’ve checked in with voters first.
A poll conducted late last week by the Free Enterprise Club and Heritage Action shows that bipartisan majorities support sensible reforms that strengthen Arizona’s election laws.
The poll found that more than 80% of Arizona voters support requiring all voters to provide identification in order to vote, with 70% strongly supporting this requirement. Even a large majority of Democrats, 69%, support the idea of requiring all voters to provide ID prior to voting.
But there’s more.
Since there is a difference between asking about general support for election integrity laws and support for specific legislation, we decided to poll two specific bills being considered by the legislature. Both of these bills have been labeled “extreme” by the media and left.
The first was SB 1713, legislation that would require voters that vote by mail to include additional identification when voting. When asked if they would support this new requirement, 63.7% of Arizona voters said they would, including large majorities of Republican and Independent voters.
The other bill we asked voters about was SB 1485, legislation that would remove a person from the early voter list who does not vote by mail in 2 consecutive primary and 2 consecutive general elections from the early vote-by-mail list unless they return a notice within 30 days from the county indicating they would like to remain. Not surprisingly, a majority of voters support this reform as well.
So, shouldn’t lawmakers listen to the people by passing reasonable election reforms? After all, that’s why they were voted into office. Unfortunately, these widely popular bills may be stopped if the corporate media and Democrats get their way.
For example, Sen. Quezada (D-LD29) has already threatened the people of Arizona with losing the 2023 Super Bowl if SB1713 and SB1485 are signed into law. And inflammatory rhetoric such as “voter suppression” and “Jim Crow” is being regurgitated by liberal politicians and activists on a regular basis.
Enough is enough. It’s time for Arizona lawmakers to stand up to the woke bullying and threats and do what’s right. The vast majority of Americans support voter ID laws and election integrity reforms. They want an election system that makes voting both accessible fraud proof. And they understand that voter ID laws and clean voter rolls help make that happen. That means passing SB 1713 and SB 1485.
The Arizona Legislature may currently enact the laws which serve as the framework for elections in the state, but the nitty gritty details of how those laws are carried out is spelled out in the Arizona Election Procedure Manual (EPM), a 544-page set of rules and instructions all 15 counties must follow.
Changes to the EPM are usually recommended by those who do the majority of the work in an election – county recorders and their election department counterparts. The changes themselves, however, have to be implemented by the Arizona Secretary of State (SOS) with the approval of the Arizona Attorney General and governor.
On Feb. 1, the Senate Committee on Government is slated to take up SB1068 introduced by Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-LD12). The bill would amend three election-related statutes dealing with the EPM, and if passed, the legislature will have a much bigger say in how their laws are put into effect courtesy of the Legislative Council.
The Legislative Council, comprised of the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and six members from each legislative chamber, would have a seat at the review and approval table, as would the Governor’s six-member Regulatory Review Council (GRRC).
The governor and attorney general would be removed from the approval process if the bill passes.
According to the Senate Research Department, there is no anticipated fiscal impact to the state General Fund associated with SB1068. The main concern expressed by the Arizona Association of Counties has been the timeline for getting review and approval passed through two councils.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights have come out in opposition of the bill.