We have always known that the left is strongly opposed to election integrity. In their hearts, they want voting to resemble how they select the best performers on American Idol—no security, no ID, no paper ballots, and no concern if someone decides to vote a few extra times.
Usually though, the left is pretty good at not saying this out loud. They couch their desires as supporting “voter access” or “expanded voting rights.” Very rarely do they reveal their true intentions of supporting open fraud in the system—yet they have now. And in open court no less…
The legal team under the Democratic Party’s top election lawyer, Marc Elias, is suing to keep Arizona’s voter rolls as they are, even if they’re rife with ineligible voters.
According to a lawsuit filed on Monday, the legal team argued that SB1260, which Governor Doug Ducey signed into law in June, infringed on the right to vote as well as the rights of free speech and association. SB1260 requires county recorders to cancel voter registrations for persons registered to vote in another county, and makes it a felony to help cast a vote for an individual registered out of state.
Elias’ team claimed that SB1260’s language made it too easy for individuals or organizations to petition for the cancellation of voter registrations en masse. They asserted repeatedly throughout their complaint that it’s common for voters to have active registrations in more than one county, or even state.
“Though voting in more than one state is illegal, it is perfectly legal to be registered to vote in more than one state or more than one county in Arizona. In fact, it is quite common,” argued the lawyers.
Additionally, Elias’ team expressed a lack of confidence in the ability of county officials to cancel voter registrations upon request. They insisted that people who move frequently would be burdened by the new election integrity law.
“Being registered to vote in more than one state or county is not prohibited, and for good reason,” argued the lawyers. “People do not ordinarily think to affirmatively cancel their voter registration when they move, and there often is no obvious or easy way to do so. Nor is there any assurance that a jurisdiction will actually cancel a voter’s registration immediately upon receiving a request.”
Elias’ firm filed suit on behalf of the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans, Voto Latino, and Priorities USA against Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Attorney General Mark Brnovich, and all county recorders. Elias Law Group attorneys Aria Branch, Daniel Cohen, and Joel Ramirez joined Phoenix-based Roy Herrera of the Herrera Arellano firm to file the lawsuit.
Elias’ team posited that the felony provision of SB1260 would criminalize voter registration efforts made by the three plaintiff organizations, or even by a voter’s parents in the case of college students.
Elias offers updates on this and other election-related court cases via his media platform established in 2020, Democracy Docket.
Another lawsuit was filed on Monday challenging a separate election law in Arizona, HB2492 which requires individuals to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote. The Biden administration filed a similar lawsuit against the state early last month. The Scottsdale-based firm Papetti Samuels Weiss McKirgan and Washington, D.C.-based firm WilmerHale filed the latest lawsuit on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Arizona Democratic Party.
Two election integrity bills sponsored by Sen. JD Mesnard were signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey this week in an effort to ensure consistency among the state’s 15 counties and more quickly remove ineligible voters from the rolls.
Senate Bill 1260 amends Arizona’s election law to require the state’s 15 county recorders to cancel someone’s voter registration upon confirmation that the person has registered to vote in another county. This will include removing the voter from the Active Early Voting used to mail ballots to voters signed up to received them in advance of election day.
SB1260 also makes it a Class 6 felony for any person to “knowingly” assist someone to vote in Arizona if the voter is registered in another state. This allows criminal charges to be filed is if someone forwards an Arizona early ballot to a voter at an address other than what is listed on the early ballot packet.
The legislation takes effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns for the session, so the provisions could be in place before the 2022 General Election.
Meanwhile, Senate Bill 1362 adds a new statute describing the process for on-site tabulation of early ballots brought by voters to a polling place on Election Day. Currently, those in-person “drop offs” might not be tabulated until the next day, a practice each county recorder or election director will now have the authority to set.
SB1362 also tweaks the criteria for when a county’s board of supervisors may reduce the number of polling places during an election. And it better defines the methods which election officials can use to reduce voter wait times at in-person polling places.
It too takes effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns for the session.
According to Mesnard (R-Chandler), the bills will help improve voter confidence in our elections.
“Democratic systems only work if our elections are secure and their integrity unmatched,” he said after the signing. “That means ensuring that each person has one vote and that their vote is properly counted.”
Cochise County Recorder David Stevens is one of the election officials across Arizona who closely followed Mesnard’s bills. He told Arizona Daily Independent his county already has a procedure for when a voter reportedly moves away, but there is a delay in dropping the voter until a notice to be mailed and a response received.
Under SB1260, the process will be sped up by not having to wait to hear back from the voter. This allows county recorders to cancel the voter’s registration upon official confirmation of new registration in another county.
As to the section of SB1260 making it a crime to forward someone’s early ballot to another address, Stevens noted he is waiting to hear what the consequences will be, and whether the statute applies to U.S. Postal Service personnel involved in the forwarding process.
Stevens explained that some counties already offer election day tabulation of early ballots as described in SB1362. On-site tabulation provides a “a more complete election total” which Stevens calls “a good thing.”
He added that while the provisions of SB1362 will entail more work, it will be minimal.
“In the long run, any attempt to have clean rolls is worth the work,” Stevens said.
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!”
A bill to tighten up mail-in voting, SB1260, passed the House Government and Elections Committee along a party-line vote on Wednesday, 7-6.
SB1260, introduced by State Senator J.D. Mesnard (R-Chandler), would make it a class 5 felony for someone to knowingly help another to vote who’s registered in another state. If made law, people would be required to write “not at this address” on an early ballot sent to their home but not addressed to them. There’s no penalty for not writing the phrase on the ballot. In return, county recorders would have to cancel that individual’s registration and remove their name from the Active Early Voting List (AEVL).
Mesnard explained during the committee hearing that Arizona law doesn’t currently have standards for handling those who’ve moved, such as duplicate registrations.
Minority Leader Reginald Bolding (D-Laveen) inquired how a prosecutor would determine that an individual knew they were helping another vote fraudulently, giving an example of a parent forwarding an absentee ballot to their college student who’d established residency and registered to vote in another state. Mesnard admitted that determining that someone “knowingly” facilitated fraudulent voting was difficult to prove, emphasizing that the burden to prove that would fall on the prosecutor.
“I don’t think it should be someone caught up in an innocent mistake,” said Mesnard.
State Representative Kevin Payne (R-Peoria) pointed out that the college student given in Bolding’s example would have to vote on the ballot for the parent’s mistake to be made apparent, and that the college student would be knowingly submitting a fraudulent vote.
State Representative Sarah Liguori (D-Phoenix) asked whether this was a real issue that occurred. Mesnard confirmed that he’d received reports of people submitting ballots to others registered in other counties.
“What does the statute say? Is the statute silent on it or does it address that? And it was silent on the issue,” said Mesnard.
Constituents in favor of the bill included Arizona Free Enterprise Club Deputy Director Greg Blackie, agreeing with Mesnard that current statute doesn’t address this problem that mailed ballots present.
Bolding claimed that counties already have a mechanism in place to address ballots sent to the wrong address, and he argued that the ignorant might be punished for unintentionally committing a crime.
“If they are somehow convicted by a rogue prosecutor, whether they’re at the local level or state level who’s looking to make a political point or score points,” said Bolding. “In this political environment right now, I think we need to be judicious in the laws that we’re making. We need to make sure we’re taking the politics out of it, especially when it comes to the electoral process.”
Liguori concurred with Bolding’s assessment, arguing that the legislation addressed a nonexistent problem.