PHOENIX — The volume of election reform bills lawmakers may consider this session is staggering. 105 bills filed, ranging from ending early voting to jailing election workers if they misplace ballots. State Senator Kelly Townsend of Mesa has authored more than her share of them.
"I have always been about the confidence of the voter because we want voter confidence to bring people out to the polls to vote. If they don't feel like their vote counts, they're going to stay home and that's not what we want," Senator Townsend (R - Mesa) said.
Taken altogether, the proposed legislation would dramatically change how we vote and how the state's 15 Registrars of Voters do their jobs.
"Some of the bills coming thru will be all but impossible to administer or implement because there are time issues, statutory deadlines we need to meet that would be impeded," Yavapai County Recorder Leslie Hoffman said.
Yavapai is one of Arizona's most Republican counties. One proposal by State Senator Wendy Rogers prohibits all ballot by mail elections for schools and cities. Prescott, the county seat, has conducted those types of elections problem-free for 20 years.
"It will cost almost twice as much to do an election and then the turnout is very low," Hoffman said.
Most of the election reform bills are in response to Arizona's 2020 election audit. In January, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors refuted nearly all of the Cyber Ninjas 75 claims of inaccuracy. The county found 22 of those claims were misleading. Another 41 claims were inaccurate because the claims stated fraud or misstated analysis and 13 claims were false.
During the hearing debunking the audit's findings County Supervisor Chairman Bill Gates said, "We were told in our math class to show our work. I think we've done that and I think the Senate hasn't."
Despite the county's rebuttal and the lack of any evidence of widespread voter fraud, there are still those that support the changes and some of those people showed up at a recent Senate Government Committee hearing supporting the bills.
"There was a ton of fraud. I saw it myself," one speaker said without explanation. "I don't believe there was election fraud, I know there was election fraud," said another speaker who said he worked on the audit as a volunteer for 37 days.
It was left to a retired Lt. Colonel, a West Point Graduate, to caution lawmakers before voting any of the election bills out of committee. "Conspiracy theories do not take away from the fact our election processes are already safe and secure," Dana Almon said.
Seven election bills did make it out of committee that day, including one prohibiting all ballot by mail elections, another authorizing the reviews of elections equipment and one which institutes counter-fraud security measures recorders will need to implement in future elections.
Democrats say there is no evidence the bills are necessary and that the integrity of Arizona's elections is sound.
"They don't like the fact our elections are being run smoothly and effectively. So, they're trying to mess with it to reach a desired outcome," State Senator Martin Quezada (D - Glendale) Minority Whip said.
Senator Quezada sits on the government committee where nearly all the election reform bills will end up. All the bills that have come before the committee so far have passed out on party line votes.
"The only one who is going to save our democracy in Arizona is going to be a Republican state senator or state representative that stands up. Enough is enough we need to stop this nonsense," Quezada said.
"Getting rid of early voting is a no. It's a hard no for me," said State Senator Paul Boyer, a Republican. Because of the makeup in both chambers, one Republican no vote kills a bill. "It's something Arizonans have been doing for decades. Never been a problem with it," Boyer (R - Glendale) said.
Boyer also opposes a bill ending ballot by mail voting for schools and city elections as well as on which allows a simple majority of the legislature to call itself back into session after an election to review and potentially challenge the outcome. It was a reference to House Bill 2596 by East Valley lawmaker John Fillmore. Fillmore's bill also eliminates early voting.
"You will vote in your precinct of registration, in person, on paper, and not electronics. It's an excellent bill," Fillmore (R - Mesa) said.
Republican leaders in the House did not agree with Fillmore's assessment. House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R - Mesa) essentially killed the bill on Tuesday when he assigned it to every House committee.
There are bills like strengthening voter ID, regular auditing of county election offices, posting ballot images online, and adjusting the rules for ballot drop boxes which have a good chance of passing this session. But it is a long journey for a bill to make its way to the finish line during any legislative session. And nothing is ever assured.
Below is a list of all 105 election reform bills filed at the legislature:
Legislator | Bill Number | Title
David Gowan SB1404 eligibility; early voting; list
David L. Cook HB2071 early ballots; postmark date; receipt
David Livingston SB1355 campaign finance report; due date
Frank P Carroll HB2469 early ballots; polling place; tabulation
Frank P Carroll HB2476 presidential electors; congressional districts; at-large
J.D. Mesnard SB1259 recounts; requests; procedures; audits
J.D. Mesnard SB1260 registrations; early voting; move notice
J.D. Mesnard SB1362 early ballot on-site tabulation
Jake Hoffman HB2236 voter registration; request required
Jake Hoffman HB2237 same day voter registration; prohibition
Jake Hoffman HB2238 ballot drop boxes; prohibition
Jake Hoffman HB2239 electronic ballot adjudication; prohibition
Jake Hoffman HB2240 elections; voting centers prohibited
Jake Hoffman HB2241 early ballot drop off; identification
Jake Hoffman HB2242 voter registrations; validation requirement
Jake Hoffman HB2243 voter registration; state residency; cancellation
Jake Hoffman HB2491 elections; signature matching requirements
Jake Hoffman HB2492 voter registration; verification; citizenship
Jake Hoffman HB2493 election integrity fund
Jake Hoffman HB2494 voter registration events; posting
John Kavanagh HB2170 election mailings; third-party disclosures
John M. Fillmore HB2283 polling places; schools; district boards
John M. Fillmore HB2287 precincts; combination; prohibition
John M. Fillmore HB2288 emergency voting; registration update; prohibition
John M. Fillmore HB2289 challengers; polling places; tabulation observation
John M. Fillmore HB2295 election day; celebration
John M. Fillmore HB2296 government-issued voter identification; requirement
John M. Fillmore HB2596 elections; revisions; mail-in; identification; tabulation
Joseph Chaplik HB2617 voter registration; cancellations; causes
Karen Fann SB1642 election management systems; security
Kelly Townsend SB1012 registration database; federal voters; report
Kelly Townsend SB1013 secretary of state; federal form
Kelly Townsend SB1054 election equipment; security; legislative review
Kelly Townsend SB1055 election process; contractors and contracts
Kelly Townsend SB1056 misplaced ballots; invalidity; misdemeanor; damages
Kelly Townsend SB1357 election equipment; certification; results
Kelly Townsend SB1358 hand counts; precincts; procedures manual
Kelly Townsend SB1359 election workers; unique passwords
Kelly Townsend SB1360 election observers; access
Kelly Townsend SB1474 voting; election day only; holiday
Kelly Townsend SB1475 voter registration; citizenship; falsification; penalties
Kelly Townsend SB1477 voter registration; felonies; clerk; database
Kelly Townsend SB1478 elections; county supervisors; ballot; markers
Kelly Townsend SB1479 precinct size; voters; vote centers
Kelly Townsend SB1570 election equipment; security; results; tabulation
Kelly Townsend SB1571 ballot drop boxes; surveillance; appropriation
Kelly Townsend SB1572 voting list; images; cast votes
Kelly Townsend SB1573 hand count; political parties; employees
Kelly Townsend SB1574 voting irregularities; report; legislative review
Kelly Townsend SB1576 tabulating equipment; fractional votes; manual
Kelly Townsend SB1577 elections; adjudicated ballots; categories
Kelly Townsend SB1603 elections; auditor general
Kelly Townsend SB1608 precinct tabulation; verification; elections
Kelly Townsend SB1609 election contests; invalidated election; sanctions
Leo Biasiucci HB2041 ballot fraud countermeasures; paper; ink
Leo Biasiucci HB2109 election celebration day
Leo Biasiucci HB2357 election board clerks; party affiliation
Lupe Diaz HB2643 signatures; superior; justice court; constable
Lupe Diaz HB2644 nomination petitions; signatures; city office
Mark W. Finchem HB2023 electronic ballot images; public record
Mark W. Finchem HB2079 counties; precinct size; maximum
Mark W. Finchem HB2080 hand count; electronic tabulation verification
Mark W. Finchem HB2244 auditor general; election systems; audits
Mark W. Finchem HB2245 in-person early voting; time period
Michelle Ugenti-Rita SB1008 elections; recount margin
Michelle Ugenti-Rita SB1010 school districts; protesting; partisan elections
Michelle Ugenti-Rita SB1285 elections manual; legislative council
Neal Carter HB2567 nominating petitions; multiple petition signatures
Neal Carter HB2640 candidate nomination signature requirements
Neal Carter HB2641 candidate nomination petitions; signatures; county
Regina E. Cobb HB2100 health information organizations; confidentiality; data.
Shawnna Bolick HB2270 officials; political action committee prohibition
Shawnna Bolick HB2376 election procedures; review; commission
Shawnna Bolick HB2377 voting; seventy-five foot limit; photographs
Shawnna Bolick HB2378 election lawsuits; settlements; approvals
Shawnna Bolick HB2379 election procedures manual; statutory conflict
Shawnna Bolick HB2380 early ballots; delivery; penalties
Shawnna Bolick HB2602 polling places; emergency voting centers
Sonny Borrelli SB1119 electronic ballot images; public record.
Sonny Borrelli SB1120 ballot fraud countermeasures; paper; ink.
Sonny Borrelli SB1457 voting machines; hardware; software; access
Sonny Borrelli SCR1046 voter identification; Arizona card
Steve Kaiser HB2018 political party proxies; prohibition
Steve Kaiser HB2385 auditor general; voter registration database
Thomas Shope SB1460 election law amendments
Tim Dunn HCR2014 initiative; referendum; signatures; legislative districts
Tim Dunn HCR2015 initiatives; supermajority vote; requirement
Tyler Pace SB1638 early ballots; visually impaired voters
Walter "Walt" Blackman HB2059 early voting; boxes; observers; electioneering
Walter "Walt" Blackman HB2571 early voting; limitations; hand count
Walter "Walt" Blackman HB2577 voter identification; ballots; delivery; process
Wendy Rogers SB1027 election bureau; complaint; investigation
Wendy Rogers SB1028 ballot paper; security measures
Wendy Rogers SB1043 election day; state holiday
Wendy Rogers SB1058 drive-up voting; prohibition
Wendy Rogers SB1335 election day voting; early voting
Wendy Rogers SB1338 paper ballots; hand count; precincts
Wendy Rogers SB1343 early ballots; provisionals; precinct tallies
Wendy Rogers SB1348 elections; hand count; tabulators prohibited
Wendy Rogers SB1351 early voting list; renewal
Wendy Rogers SB1380 voter registration rolls; maintenance
Wendy Rogers SB1465 voting equipment; requirements; records; origin
Wendy Rogers SB1612 election equipment; prohibited providers
Wendy Rogers SB1613 state elections; contest; technical correction