Sen. Kelly Townsend was recently interviewed by Breitbart News about her refusal to vote for one of the Republican caucus’s most impactful election integrity bill, but she provided significantly incorrect information while explain the legislation, according to an election law expert.
Townsend surprised her colleagues earlier this month by voting “no” on SB1485, which Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has the potential to remove more than 207,000 voter names from the Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL) due to inactivity. Removal from PEVL does not impact a voter’s registration status.
At the time, Townsend swore she would not vote for any election-related bills until the Senate received a final report on the ongoing audit of Maricopa County’s 2020 General Election. She also made a disparaging personal comment against SB1485 sponsor Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, a fellow Republican whom Townsend blames for “killing” all 18 election-related bills Townsend introduced this session.
“Mark my words, and my actions, I will not bend,” Townsend after the April 22 vote.
In her subsequent interview with Breitbart, Townsend is quoted as pushing back on criticism of her vote, contending that the changes to PEVL contained in SB1485 would not kick in until 2026 so there is no hurry.
“I demand reform for the 2022 election, and will only vote ‘yes’ on the 2026 election reform bill after the 2022 election reform bills are passed,” Townsend is quoted in the April 27 article. She also said it will take “four years from passage before voters who miss elections will be purged” from PEVL.
The problem, according to election legal expert Hans von Spakovsky, is that Townsend grossly misunderstood how soon the PEVL could be cleaned up if SB1485 is approved and signed by Gov. Doug Ducey this session. He notes that county recorders must advise those voters identified for being dropped “no later than” January 2023 but the process could be done well before the critical 2022 election.
“SB1485 will go into effect immediately after passage, not in 2026 as some have claimed,” said von Spakovsky. “County recorders can, and should, lawfully begin cleaning up the early voting list well before the 2022 midterm election, based on voter participation in the 2018 and 2020 election cycles.”
Townsend’s no vote on SB1485 was set to kill the legislation on a 15 to 15 ties but Ugenti-Rita voted against her own bill on the chance a reconsideration vote can be arranged yet this session. Meanwhile, Townsend’s threat to hold all of her party’s election legislation hostage has garnered attention from several organization which support more election integrity in Arizona.
One of those is Heritage Action For America.
“All conservatives should support this bill — we cannot delay in strengthening Arizona’s election system and restoring trust to voters,” said Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action.
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.