After Maricopa County Voting Debacle, Arizona Should Reform Its Election Legal guidelines

If Arizona is genuinely all for enacting much-needed state election reforms—and it needs to be, particularly after this month’s voting debacle in Maricopa County, the state’s largest—it’s now or by no means. Or a minimum of for the following 4 or eight years.  

Time period-limited outgoing Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, ought to name a lame-duck particular session of the Legislature for the only function of enacting voting reforms earlier than the presumptive governor-elect, Democrat Katie Hobbs, can take workplace on Jan. 2—after which it undoubtedly gained’t get finished. 

(Hobbs leads her Republican opponent, Kari Lake, by 0.6 of 1%, or 17,150 votes, out of greater than 2.55 million counted. The race has been known as by the information media within the Democrat’s favor, however Lake has but to concede.) 

“The best way they run elections in Maricopa County is worse than in banana republics round this world,” Lake was quoted as saying by London’s Day by day Mail newspaper, including: “I imagine on the finish of the day that this will likely be rotated.” 

The Day by day Mail reported that Arizona Assistant Legal professional Basic Jennifer Wright on Nov. 19 wrote to one in every of Maricopa County’s prime election officers “detailing reviews of a string of irregularities from printer issues that stopped ballots being tabulated, to confusion about procedures for transferring voters to alternate websites in the event that they had been unable to vote on the first location.” 

Wright’s letter added: “These complaints transcend pure hypothesis, however embrace firsthand witness accounts that increase issues relating to Maricopa’s lawful compliance with Arizona election regulation.” 

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All of this comes on the heels of a Nov. 7 report in The Epoch Instances that “19,000 late, invalid ballots had been counted” in Maricopa County within the 2020 election. 

Arizona Senate Majority Chief Rick Grey and Home Speaker Russell Bowers, each Republicans, ought to press Ducey on the necessity for a particular session. So ought to GOP members of the state’s congressional delegation, Reps. Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, Debbie Lesko, and David Schweikert.

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida—the place there have been not one of the issues Arizona skilled, regardless of having an citizens thrice the dimensions of Arizona’s—may present the Grand Canyon State with mannequin election-reform legislative language to adapt for its wants.  

Any election-reform legislative bundle ought to embrace some mixture of the next: 

  1. Improve the severity of punishment for the inherently corrupt follow of ballot-harvesting, which is at present solely a Class 6 felony, the least extreme kind of felony within the state. 
  2. Eradicate all poll drop containers, which had been supposedly meant to accommodate a one-time emergency, the COVID-19 pandemic, and by no means meant to be a everlasting function of the electoral panorama. 
  3. Require photograph identification. (Presently, there are too many different types of ID allowed, many not requiring a photograph.) 
  4. Considerably shorten the window for early voting, which at present begins in Arizona 27 days earlier than Election Day. Election Day needs to be simply that, not Election Month. Early voting shouldn’t run for greater than every week, as a result of the longer the interval is, the extra time there’s to cheat. 
  5. Eradicate so-called Lively Early Voting Checklist mail-out ballots, which permits voters to join a mail poll to routinely be despatched to them for each election. That’s a prescription for ballots to be mailed to voters who’ve moved or died, which creates a gap for orphaned ballots to be crammed out and returned by another person. 
  6. Sharply curtail most mail-in and absentee-voting choices, besides the place they’ve historically been used, resembling when the voter is out of city or unwell. They shouldn’t be allowed merely for comfort. (France banned voting by mail in 1975 due to its propensity for fraud.) 
  7. Require the final 4 digits of a voter’s Social Safety quantity or the serial variety of the voter’s driver’s license or state-issued voter-ID card as a safeguard on allowed absentee ballots, relatively than simply signature-matching, which is at greatest an artwork and never a science. Matching Social Safety and state ID numbers would even be a lot quicker and extra correct.
  8. Require by regulation a sitting secretary of state operating for reelection or for one more workplace to recuse himself or herself from election supervision. Lake repeatedly known as on Secretary of State Hobbs to take action in the course of the marketing campaign, citing battle of curiosity, however indefensibly, she refused to take action.  
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All these commonsense election reforms don’t forestall any eligible people from voting.

Little question Democrats (and the liberal media) will howl, however so what? They’d be the primary to demand reforms if the scenario had been reversed.

As for doing this in a lame-duck session, it’s no completely different than what we’re seeing in Washington, the place congressional Democrats are attempting to ram by means of codification of same-sex marriage and different left-wing laws now, whereas they nonetheless management the Home.

There’s no filibuster within the Arizona state Senate, which Republicans narrowly management, so Democrats wouldn’t have the ability to block the election reforms, assuming all Republicans had been onboard.

The GOP messaging needs to be that the election reforms are essential to keep away from future repeats of the Maricopa fiasco.

“[W]e are going to revive honesty to our elections,” Lake, who continues to insist she is going to win, vowed to The Day by day Mail. 

However except Lake does actually prevail, the window of alternative for restoring electoral integrity will quickly shut, so Republicans within the Arizona Legislature must act expeditiously—and unapologetically—to make these modifications, leaving it simple to vote however making it more durable to cheat. 

This text initially appeared in The Washington Instances.

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