Arizona lawmakers change election laws | Kingman Miner Daily

PHOENIX — Republican lawmakers on a Senate panel on Thursday approved a series of election law changes that they claim could help prevent the kind of voter fraud that some continue to insist happens in 2020.

The government commission voted:

  • Virtually eliminate the use of drop boxes that allow people to drop off their already completed advance ballots into special receptacles, often located outside polling places or county offices;
  • Increase the number of constituencies where random manual counts of ballots must be performed to compare with the machine count;
  • in effect requiring that these automatic counts be carried out in each of the precincts rather than bringing the ballots to the county election offices;
  • Require more frequent checks by election officials with the US Post Office to see if people have moved;
  • Give designated election observers more access to monitor the process of things like early opening of ballot envelopes;
  • Mandate that records of felony convictions, which prevent people from voting, be sent regularly to county recorders.

And the panel also voted to give the attorney general sweeping new powers not just to investigate allegations of election irregularities, but to “issue all forms of subpoenas to any person, whether or not in this state”. the power to examine persons under oath and to demand documents.

This all comes just days after the same committee voted to scrap early polls for most Arizonans as well as get rid of early voting locations, moves that would force more people to take the time to get to the polls. on polling day. The measures now all require the approval of the full Senate.

The votes, which all toed party lines on the Republican-controlled committee, came after a parade of witnesses detailed all the things they said were done wrong in the last election.

“One of the things we saw was the 700,000 (votes) that weren’t verifiable,” said Jeff Zink, who participated in what was billed as an audit conducted by Cyber ​​Ninjas. at the request of Senate Speaker Karen Fann (R-Prescott). “This fraud was rampant, not only in Maricopa County, but across the United States as well.”

And Zink has made it clear what he thinks of those who don’t support the bills like getting rid of drop boxes.

“If you vote against this, you are part of the problem, not part of the solution,” he told lawmakers.

Shelby Busch, who also supported SB 1058, said having drop boxes where people can vote makes them “ballot harvest ripe,” where individuals can submit multiple ballots. for unrelated persons despite a state law that already makes such acts a crime.

Sen. Martin Quezada (D-Glendale), who dismissed unverified allegations of fraud in the 2020 election, said Republicans seem to believe the vote needs to be harder to appreciate.

“There are a lot of people in my community who deeply appreciate voting, but who also deeply appreciate using a dropbox,” he said.

“They work, they take care of the families, they take care of the kids, they make sure the lights stay on every day,” Quezada said. “And it allows them to not only fulfill their day-to-day obligations, but also to ensure that their voice is heard and their vote is counted.”

But it wasn’t just those who testified Thursday who had theories about the fraud.

“We’ll get to the truth of 2020,” said Sen. Wendy Rogers (R-Flagstaff), voting to support more random hand counts. Rogers is a key supporter of claims that the election was stolen from Donald Trump and pushed to uncertify the results.

“But we will simultaneously fix the things that need to be fixed for 2022.”

Rogers also developed SB 1343, which requires ballots to be counted where they are cast.

“Both our research and our comments have shown that mischief occurs between the precinct and the county,” she said.

And Sen. Sonny Borrelli (R-Lake Havasu City) chastised those who oppose such changes.

“To say there was nothing wrong, it was the most perfect election in Arizona history, is a myth,” he said, citing the work of volunteers during the election. the Cyber ​​Ninja audit – but not to mention that the hand count done there not only verified that Joe Biden passed Donald Trump in Maricopa County, but that his margin of victory was even greater than the official count.

“But the media wants to scroll a company with a goofy name,” Borrelli said, “showing a complete lack of respect for the people who did the work.”

And he said those volunteers “found a lot of things that needed to be fixed,” saying evidence of issues with the ballot box’s chain of custody has been turned over to the attorney general’s office.

So far, however, Attorney General Mark Brnovich has not announced any findings of any type of fraud.

Despite this, Sen. Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) pushed through her SB 1475, the one that gives the AG’s office the additional broad powers. She said the language actually came from that agency.

Sen. Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) called what’s in the bill “critical tools” the AG needs for future investigations.

Committee members also endorsed SB 1380 to require more frequent check-ins to see if people really live where they say they do.

Current law allows, but does not require, county recorders at least once before election years to obtain information from the U.S. Postal Service about address change requests. This bill not only makes it mandatory, but also requires such checks on the first day of every month.

Barbara Jennings told lawmakers she was involved in a voluntary post-election campaign where she and others went to the addresses of people registered to vote.

“Every building we went to, that person didn’t live there,” she said. “Either they had never heard of them or they had moved a year ago.”

And Jennings said he went to homes where people said they were getting early ballots for people who hadn’t lived there in years.

“The voters rolls, from everything researchers have told me, have been corrupted for almost 40 years,” Rogers said. And she said reports from those who went out on their own and surveyed neighborhoods led her to conclude that there are real problems. “The dead vote, the illegal immigrants vote, the non-residents vote,” Rogers said. “This must stop.”

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