Republican leaders in the Arizona Senate, citing a recently passed legislative resolution, are calling for counties to stop using current counting machines to count ballots. But the move has no legal basis, and his claims were also criticized by some Republican lawmakers.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Sonny Borrelli of the City of Lake Havasu wrote to county leaders statewide that unless the system meets the requirements, it will be used “as the primary method of conducting, counting, tallying, and verifying federal elections” and “electronic elections.” Voting system” cannot be used. It was established in a recent resolution passed by Congress.
But election officials across the state were quick to point out that these requirements were not legally enforceable.
Secretary of State Adrian Fontes said Mr Borelli was relying on a non-binding resolution passed earlier this year with only Republican support. Fontes said in a statement that the resolution does not require the governor’s signature and does not have the power to change state and federal rules regarding election supplies.
Maricopa County Oversight Board Chairman Clint Hickman said a senator cannot force an Arizona county to stop using counting tools to count votes.
And Mr. Borrelli’s Republican colleagues in the Senate disagree with his demands.
“This is something that Senator Borrelli is doing on his own,” said Kim Quintero, the director of public relations for the Senate Republican Party.
Quintero said the rest of the Senate leadership also disagreed with the letter.
She acknowledged that Senate President Warren Petersen voted in favor of the resolution, as did other Republicans. But Quintero added that Borrelli has a different interpretation than her colleagues.
Borrelli didn’t respond to a request for comment on Monday’s letter.
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Letter arrives after governor’s veto
Borrelli was also the proponent of Senate Bill 1074. The bill would have put into law many of the requirements he said counties now have to comply with. They include that the components of the tallying machine are designed and assembled in the United States, that the machine’s source code is available to the public, that images of ballots and system logs will be This includes being published on the website of .
Governor Katie Hobbs vetoed the bill in April, saying the facilities it requires and the problems it seeks to solve “do not exist.”
“This bill does not strengthen our democracy, nor does it allow Arizonas to better exercise their basic voting rights,” Hobbes said in the vetoed letter. rice field. “I am prepared to receive such an invoice.”
In a letter to county officials, Borrelli wrote that by vetoing the bill, the governor would “expose electronic voting systems made with components of countries considered hostile to the U.S. “It’s not just endangering the state, it’s endangering the nation.” in a very vulnerable and dangerous position. ”
Hickman said he supports the use of U.S.-made equipment.
“But until that becomes a reality, the oversight board will use the funds necessary to acquire (federally) certified equipment to conduct accurate and safe elections as required by state law,” he said. said in a statement.
Officials in Pima, Cochise and Coconino counties did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Pinal County officials confirmed they received Borrelli’s letter but declined to comment.
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Legislative resolutions usually serve to express opinions on behalf of the passing body.
Fontes said county election officials should not interpret Borrelli’s letter as an order to stop using counting tools. He also said the machines have already been certified by federal and state authorities based on the requirements outlined in the law.
“All applicable election tools used in Arizona are certified,” he said. “If these requirements or the certification process were to change, a regular bill would have to pass through Congress and be signed by the governor, but that is not the case in this non-binding resolution.”
Borelli cited parliament’s “overall powers,” or broad powers, to support his efforts. He also noted that the U.S. Constitution “specifically communicates” that state legislatures will set laws regarding “when, where and how” voting takes place.
But to impose changes to the county’s election process, the legislature must successfully pass a bill signed by the governor, not a resolution, said Tom Liddy, civil affairs chief of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. Stated.
“The constitution provides that there is full power over federal elections and that the legislatures have the power to set the time, place and manner of elections. The legislature will legislate,” Liddy said. “Sonny Borelli should call his office, or at least his lawyer.”
Sasha Hapka focuses on voting and democracy, covering Maricopa County, Pinal County, and regional issues in the Republic of Arizona.Any tips on her election or questions about voting?Contact her email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SashaHupka.
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