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Editor’s Thought Bubble: The most un-democratic bill I’ve ever seen

By: - February 1, 2021 9:00 am

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Republicans in the legislature are kicking off 2021 with a host of proposals that seek to change how our elections are conducted. While some proposals, like Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita’s measure to take the “permanent” out of the Permanent Early Voter List, are retreads from prior years, a good many of this year’s bills are a direct result of Republicans being unable (or unwilling) to accept that Joe Biden won in November.

By far, the wildest proposal is HB2720 from Rep. Shawnna Bolick, a Republican from north Phoenix. The measure deserved the national derision it earned last week for it’s most outrageous provision: allowing the legislature to overturn the certification of a presidential election with a simple majority vote that could be called for at any time between Election Day and inauguration.

But the bill does so much more. For example, it makes every single ballot cast in every single election a public record, meaning anyone could access them. (Current law sharply restricts who has access to ballots, even after an election is certified.) It also would bar all of a county’s supervisors from seeking re-election or holding office for 10 years if there is ANY interruption in the live-video feed of ballots being counted. Aside from the fact that supervisors aren’t responsible for counting the votes, Bolick seeks to punish elected officials for things outside their control, like a severe thunderstorm or other accident that might cause a power outage and take down the live feed.

Of course, Bolick won’t put up with any of this criticism. The lawmaker, who famously blocks what seems like everyone who disagrees with her on Twitter, put out a statement Friday whinging about how her bill is merely an attempt to increase transparency and the media is lying about what it does “as click bait to generate misleading headlines.”

She added, without a sense of irony or appreciation that every single word is incorrect: “It is a good, democratic check and balance.”

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Jim Small
Jim Small

Jim Small is a native Arizonan and has covered state government, policy and politics since 2004, with a focus on investigative and in-depth policy reporting, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications. He has also served as the editor and executive director of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting.