Arizona Republican House Speaker Effectively Condemns GOP Bill to Allow Legislature to Reject Election Results

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, a Republican, quietly condemned House Bill 2596 on Tuesday with an unusual parliamentary maneuver.

The President assigns all new bills to a committee for review before they can have votes in the full House, a choice that often has a great effect on a measure’s chances of success. But on Tuesday, Bowers took the unprecedented step of ordering all 12 House committees to review the election bill, virtually guaranteeing it will never reach the floor.

The bill’s main sponsor, Republican State Rep. John Fillmore, called the move “a lynching of 12 committees” in an interview with CNN affiliate KPHO/KTVK.

Bowers and Fillmore did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on Thursday.

Under the bill, Arizona lawmakers would meet in a special session to review the ballot tabulation process for the primary and general elections and decide whether to “accept or reject the election results.” If the legislator rejects the results, “any person qualified as an elector may bring an action in Superior Court to request the holding of a new election”, specifies the bill.
The legislation would have made several significant changes to the battleground state’s election procedures, such as requiring voting only on Election Day and in person.

In doing so, the bill would have eliminated early voting and the state’s widely used mail-in ballot program, which does not require an excuse to vote by mail.

Fillmore’s proposal would have required voting only by paper ballots, banning electronic machines for all voters except those with disabilities.

The bill would also have required ballots to be counted by hand, instead of using electronic equipment to tabulate election results – and for results to be completed within 24 hours of the close of polls. .

Two senators, including acting Senate President Vince Leach, and a dozen other state Republican House lawmakers had signed on as sponsors of the bill.

Arizona Trump Voting Rights Rally and March Highlights Fight for Democracy
Bowers told Capitol Media Services that there was no way the bill would get approval from every House committee and that the provision allowing state lawmakers to overrule election results is unacceptable.

“We gave authority to the people,” he told the outlet.

Bowers also opposed the proposal to count all ballots by hand, according to the outlet, telling Capitol Media Services that “there are individual elements (of the bill) that undermine the ‘accuracy, speed and reliability of a vote’, adding: ‘And if I can stop it, I’m not going to let that happen.’

Fillmore previously told CNN he was trying “to ensure the integrity of the voting process.”

He argued that lawmakers should have the power, as “representatives of the people”, to review the vote count.

“If there’s a problem, we don’t spill anything. We just try to put the skates on it and say, ‘This has to be judged,'” he said.

CNN’s Fredreka Schouten contributed to this report.

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