State AGs Speak Up And Arizona Leads The Charge

  • by:
  • Source: UncoverDC
  • 09/19/2023

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita penned a letter on March 3 in concert with 19 other Attorneys General to protest the passing of HR1, the For the People Act of 2021. The Act, originally introduced in 2019 as reported in January by UncoverDC, is summarized in this five-page document written by the American Constitutional Rights Union.

In a nutshell, the bill seeks to federalize elections. It proposes mandates and unconstitutional changes to election laws, some of which were used in the 2020 election, to usurp the power of the individual states to make laws and rules for elections.

The letter's overarching argument is that, if passed, HR1 would "federalize state elections and impose burdensome costs and regulations on state and local officials...The Act would invert that constitutional structure, commandeer state resources, confuse and muddle elections procedures, and erode faith in our elections and systems of governance."

The Elector's Clause, congressional elections, mail-in ballots, overriding voter ID laws, mandating redistricting through "independent commissions"  are among the "constitutional deficiencies" discussed in the letter to congressional leadership.

States like Arizona took notice in early April as the first state to "formally oppose the Democrat-backed federal election overhaul" when the State Senate passed House Concurrent Resolution (HCR)2023, "declaring the state of Arizona's opposition to any federal action infringing on Arizona's constitutional power to manage, control and administer elections." The bill was passed by the House on March 4 and passed by the Senate on April 7. The partisan bill was passed in a straight party-line vote in both houses.

AZ State Rep. Jake Hoffman

Arizona State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-AZ-12) is a strong constitutional advocate—especially when elections are involved. He is vice-chair of the Arizona House of Representative's Government and Elections Committee. It was Hoffman who authored HCR 2023. He also led the charge to help pass House Bill 2569, a bill that "prevents private individuals or organizations from giving money to state election boards or officials," a bill that has been signed into law by Governor Ducey (R-AZ). He says HR1 is "arguably the most dangerous piece of legislation to come out of D.C."

Election integrity is the "civil rights issue of our time," Hoffman explains. He believes what the tech giants went a "bridge too far" in the 2020 election, with "provable" interference in the "process and management" of elections. Hoffman has been kicked off of both Facebook and Twitter for his views. He was accused of using his digital marketing company, Rally Forge, to "employ a cell of teenagers who spammed social media with identical messages in support of President Donald Trump. Among the messages were those seeking to discredit results of the upcoming election by spreading conspiracy theories about mail-in and missing ballots." Hoffman explains about the 2020 election:

"In 2020, we had many firsts, obviously, from lockdowns to coronavirus, etc. But when it comes to elections, this was the first time that we ever saw big tech billionaires, and really billionaires of any kind, investing hundreds of millions of dollars, almost half a billion, with a 'B' to be exact, into the administration and management of local county elections departments all across the country and state secretaries of state all across the country.

And that includes millions upon millions of dollars right here into Arizona. And that’s a very concerning trend, not only because of the perception that it puts on the elections but the influence."

While he is disappointed that the bill votes were divided strictly along party lines, he believes the majority of the American people and Arizonans want to trust in the integrity of elections. He calls HR1 the "Corrupt Politicians Act." Hoffman believes HR1 would nullify initiatives like the ban on ballot harvesting that took the Arizona legislature five years to sign into law. It was signed in 2016. The bill has since been hotly contested, with courts as recently as early March weighing whether to keep the ban.

Hoffman expects that other states will follow suit, and he is willing to "share the resolution with absolutely anyone." He has already contacted the states of Georgia and Alabama. He is also sponsoring HB 2792, a bill that would "prohibit the mass mailing of ballots to voters that did not request a mail-in ballot. Now, it actually goes one step further, and it adds a provision of a class 5 felony for violating the statute." The bill is now working its way through the Senate.

Arizona's strong showing to further investigate and perform a meaningful audit for the 2020 Maricopa County election is something of which Hoffman is extremely proud. He believes that Arizona will set an example for other states considering a forensic audit of the 2020 election.

"Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, you have lots of states right now that are all stepping up to the plate to make sure that they are fixing the elections process, putting in the safeguards that are necessary for voters to have confidence in the process.

And I think we’re going to see a much better system in place come 2022 and 2024. And I can tell you that here in Arizona, Republicans will not rest until all voters—independents, Democrats, Republicans alike—are able to have confidence in the outcome and the process of our elections." 

According to AZ Rep. Mark Finchem's Weekly Legislative Journal, multiple election integrity bills have been put on hold due to resistance from local business leaders.

Screenshot/Finchem Frontline Legislative Journal

Finchem, who is currently running for Secretary of State, says that HR1 may be "'transformational and comprehensive,' it is neither in a good way." Finchem reminds us that it is "the power of State Legislatures [that] was enshrined in the Constitution of the United States, Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 for a reason. It is the states that gave enumerated power to Congress, and it is the states that knew this day would come when the federal government attempted to take over the various states."

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