The Arizona Capitol was astir on Wednesday after House leadership entertained the notion of dispatching law enforcement to track down two Republican members needed to pass three election integrity bills. Ultimately, the idea was nixed, the legislators never came back, and the three bills failed — but leadership and the two lawmakers are at odds as to who was to blame.
House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa) and Majority Leader Ben Toma (R-Peoria) contemplated dispatching Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers to locate State Representatives Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) and Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa) in order to pass three bills: SB1013, SB1260, and SB1362. Though the bills failed, all three will be reconsidered.
Hoffman accused Bowers and Toma of engaging in intimidation tactics. On “The Conservative Circus” radio show, Hoffman claimed that Bowers knew days in advance that he was missing multiple Republican votes for certain election bills, but decided to wait to utilize law enforcement on the day of voting. He said that was why Bowers and Toma were to blame for the three election integrity bills’ failure.
“The bottom line is that Rusty Bowers and Ben Toma knew they were missing Republican votes yesterday, yet they decided to put up election integrity bills up for vote so that they would fail,” said Hoffman. “Rusty Bowers chose to play petty political games with critical election integrity bills, and then attempted to wield the power of tyrants to send armed men to his own conservative members to clean up his mess.”
Hoffman said that Bowers issued disparate treatment in sending DPS after him, noting that Bowers refused to send DPS after Democrats last year who staged a walkout during budget voting.
“Last year when Democrats all over the country, including right here in Arizona, were weaponizing their legislative attendance to try to kill election integrity legislation, when they were running and hiding in an attempt to prevent a quorum, the conservatives were the ones who asked Rusty Bowers last year to send DPS in a legitimate government role to bring them back to the capitol, and he refused to even consider it every single time it was brought up,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman claimed that Bowers and Toma were “playing games” with election integrity bills. He insisted that the pair forced every House representative to sit around for an hour as they planned to send officers to his and Parker’s homes.
In response to Hoffman’s accusations, Bowers explained that Hoffman and Parker walked away from the House floor to influence voting in the Senate. He blamed Hoffman and Parker for the failure of the three election integrity bills.
“House rules permit us to compel members back to vote,” stated Bowers. “Let me be clear, sending DPS was discussed but was never deployed in any fashion. Any notion otherwise is a lie. Because we were missing votes, 3 election integrity bills failed on the House floor.”
Parker made light of media coverage of the situation. She alluded to live reporting from Arizona Republic reporter Mary Jo Pitzl, who relayed that Parker and Hoffman were called “Bonnie and Clyde” by those on the floor and stated falsely that DPS was dispatched.
“Bonnie and Clyde? Is the same press that called us ‘fiscal hawks’ last year now comparing us to bank robbers? More like Robin Hood & Lil John standing up to King Rusty & Sheriff of Nottingham Toma,” wrote Parker. “Just wait until the budget comes out & the real bank robbers are exposed!”
State Representative Jake Hoffman’s (R-Queen Creek) controversial proof of citizenship for voting bill passed the Senate on Wednesday along party lines. HB2492 now heads to the governor for final approval. The legislation requires that individuals provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote in the state, and further requires election officials to confirm with all available government databases that the applicant is an American citizen.
The bill advanced steadily through both the House and the Senate, moving out of Senate committee less than two weeks ago, shortly after it was passed by the entire House a few weeks before that. The legislation didn’t advance without pushback, however. Community activists attempted to stall the bill during its consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee, forcing a recess with their antics such as shouting down the legislators and shouting, “Shame!” repeatedly after the bill passed.
In a statement to AZ Free News, Arizona Free Enterprise Club President Scot Mussi was hopeful that Governor Doug Ducey would sign the bill. Mussi applauded the legislature for passing a bill that aligned with the state and federal constitution, forecasting that the bill would prevent bad actors from interfering with elections.
Senate Democrats had a different perspective of the bill: they claimed that the legislation would force numerous Arizonans to register to vote again. They also claimed that the bill violated federal election law.
In regard to the constitutionality claim, Arizona Free Enterprise Club Deputy Director Greg Blackie explained during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that the 2013 Supreme Court ruling determined that the National Voter Registration Act didn’t stop states from denying an applicant’s registration based on information that proved the applicant’s ineligibility. Under this bill, that would mean proof that an applicant isn’t a citizen.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Senate will vote on a bill requiring proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. HB2492 was passed out of the House along party lines a little less than a month ago.
The bill has earned the ire of left-wing groups. Illegal immigrant voting activists shouted down the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month after they approved the bill along party lines. It also inspired pushback from those who were in the national spotlight recently, such as an illegal immigrant who stalked Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) into an Arizona State University (ASU) bathroom.
HB2492 would impact federal-only voters heavily because they aren’t required by federal law to provide proof of citizenship. The bill would prevent individuals from gaming that system by requiring a proof of citizenship in order to register to vote in Arizona. Once an individual submits their voter registration application, election officials would rely on all levels of government databases to determine the applicant’s citizenship.
If there’s proof that the applicant isn’t a citizen, then election officials would refer the case to both the county attorney and attorney general for further investigation. If no data exists to prove or disprove the applicant’s citizenship status, then the election officials would merely notify the applicant of their rejection and offer them time to respond with proof of citizenship.
Election officials would also be required to give to the attorney general a list of all individuals who registered to vote in the past but didn’t provide satisfactory evidence of citizenship by Halloween of this year. The attorney general would have until next March to investigate the citizenship status of those on the list and submit a report on the findings to the secretary of state, Senate president, and House speaker.
According to the bill sponsor, State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), there were over 11,000 individuals who didn’t provide a proof of citizenship prior to voting in the 2020 election, compared to 1,700 individuals who did the same in 2018.
On Tuesday, the Arizona House passed a bill allowing only political parties, county recorders, or election officials to distribute early ballots or active early voter list request forms to voters. The bill, HB2786, passed 31-26 along party lines.
State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) sponsored the bill; his other bill barring illegal immigrants from voting passed the House on Monday. Another election integrity bill passed both the House and Senate on Monday, too: a constitutional amendment proposition that will appear on the ballot for voters to decide.
House Democrats lamented that nonprofit organizations like Mi Familia Vota would lose the ability to engage more voters. Mi Familia Vota is a national organization based in Phoenix that focuses on voter registration and political activism, with a practice of allowing illegal immigrants to work for them. Last summer, Mi Familia Vota in Nevada engaged in door knocking to coax Hispanic neighborhoods into getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Mi Familia Vota pledged $10 million to increase the Hispanic voters turnout in their #BastaTrump campaign. That resulted in 2.4 first-time or newly-registered voters, bolstering Mi Familia Vota’s targeted key battleground states: California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Florida.
The Arizona House passed a bill to prevent illegal immigrants from voting, HB2492, along party lines on Monday, 31-26. The bill would impact federal-only voters heavily because that class of voters isn’t required by federal law to provide proof of citizenship. Federal-only voters had a significant impact in the 2020 election. The main exception made in this legislation would be for those who submit forms produced by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
The bill would require county recorders to rely on local, federal, and state databases to discern whether the applicant is a citizen. Refusal to comply would qualify officials for a class six felony. In the event that an applicant is discovered to be here illegally, officials must notify applicants of their rejection and refer the case to both the county attorney and attorney general for further investigation. Lack of citizenship proof, however, would only require election officials to notify the applicant of their rejection and offer them time to respond with proof of citizenship. A floor amendment removed the 30-day deadline applicants would’ve had to abide by to provide proof of citizenship.
Valid, unexpired driver’s licenses or nonoperating ID numbers would suffice for proof of location requirements to establish residency.
County recorders must also work with the secretary of state to present a list of all individuals who registered to vote and haven’t provided satisfactory evidence of citizenship by Halloween of this year. At that point, the attorney general would have until the end of next March to determine each applicant’s citizenship status and submit a report to the secretary of state, senate president, and house speaker.
As AZ Free News reported, the sponsor of the bill, State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), explained in the House Government and Elections Committee last month that there were over 11,000 individuals who didn’t provide a Documentary Proof of Citizenship (DPOC) to vote in the 2020 election. By contrast, there were about 1,700 individuals who didn’t provide proof of citizenship in 2018.
HB2492 received significant opposition from the illegal immigrant activist community. Those who harassed and stalked Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) into an Arizona State University (ASU) bathroom over her refusal to support President Joe Biden’s reconciliation bill.
The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.