Arizona Republicans block voting bill in favor of Democrats

In the Arizona Senate, a bill that prevented ballots from being automatically mailed at each election failed unexpectedly after a Republican voted against the bill and joined the Democratic Party.

Republican Senator Kelly Townsend described her surprising “opposition” vote on the state legislature floor in a tense episode of seeing Senator in a fierce conflict with the bill’s sponsors.

“I agree with the bill, but I won’t vote until the audit is over,” she said. Audit organized by the Senate Republican Party The number of ballots in Maricopa County reportedly started this week and will continue until mid-May. The audit is a continuation of Republican efforts to question the outcome of the 2020 elections in the state where President Joe Biden won more than 10,000 votes. His slight victory has led many Republicans to accept the unfounded allegations of former President Donald Trump’s fraudulent vote. Some have demanded Congress dismiss Biden’s victory and seat electors, who would instead hand over the state to Trump. (State Republican leaders said the legislature had no authority and proved the victory of Biden’s electoral college. In 2016, Trump won about 10,000 votes in major states in Michigan.)

Republican Senator Michelle Ugenti Rita, who sponsors the bill, said on the floor, “I was disappointed to be on the side of accepting someone’s temper.”

Townsend said he would not vote for any of the other proposed election changes until the audit was completed, and complained that his election bill had died on the committee.

“Absolutely I’m angry with all of my election bills — dead. Absolutely I’m angry. Do you want to see a tempered tantrum? Really want to see it Then I can show you that, “she said.

“It’s like this year’s general election integrity bill, and we’re all excited about it,” she continued. “But that’s not the only bill of the year.”

Ugentirita later motioned to reconsider the bill, which allowed Senators to bring the bill back into the vote.

Senate Bill 1485 removes infrequent voters from the state’s early voting list (PEVL) and turns them into “active” early voting lists. If the county does not vote by mail in two consecutive election cycles and does not respond to notifications from the election authorities within 90 days, the county must remove voters from the early voting list.

The bill passed the House of Representatives earlier this week, but requires state legislature approval to reach Republican Governor Doug Ducey’s desk.

Democrats and supporters fear that the Republican dispute is just a temporary grace, but by pressing companies and voters to urge Ducey to kill or reject the bill in the legislature. I want to take advantage of the moment.

“This gives us the opportunity to strengthen all of these lobbying activities,” Democratic Senator Martin Quezada told NBC News before voting.

Kezada said he would pressure sports teams to consider boycotting upcoming sporting events in Arizona. The Super Bowl will be played at the Arizona Cardinals stadium in 2023, followed by the NCAA Final Fort Tournament in 2024.

SB1485 At least one of 22 restrictive election bills Considered in Arizona this year, more than half of the bills cover postal voting. Another bill, SB1713, which adds a voter ID requirement to ballots, is still pending, but Townsend has vowed not to vote on the election bill until the audit uncertains the fate of the bill.

Business leaders, Democrats and supporters protested the bill violently, dozens of business leaders opposed it, and Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James tweeted about the bill to about 50 million Twitter followers on Wednesday. did.

Despite Republicans concluding that the 2020 elections are safe and the results are accurate, this measure builds confidence in Arizona’s elections and searches for fraud. It states that it is to continue.

Maricopa County, including Phoenix City, Conducted internal accuracy test required by law in November Then, we decided that the correct answer rate of the county election system was 100%. Maricopa is the largest county in the state with a population of 4.4 million. According to census data, more than 31% of these residents are Latino or Hispanic.

State authorities have not audited Maricopa County ballots. Instead, Senate Republicans hired four outside companies and booked the Phoenix Arena to host the count until May 14. According to NBC affiliate KPNX.. The Senate Republican Party said the report would be published around the end of May.

Florida-based company Cyber ​​Ninjas led the audit According to the Senate Press release.The· Arizona Republic And AZ mirror Doug Logan, the founder of the company, Promoted election conspiracy theory with his deleted Twitter account.. NBC News has not confirmed the tweet and seems to have been subsequently removed from the Wayback Machine.

In a phone call with reporters the day before the SB1485 vote on Thursday, Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs accused the audit of being a party “circus.”

“No one should take the circus seriously. That’s it. It’s the circus, and they’ve repeatedly shown that they’re not interested in the actual, true, independent consequences,” she said.

Heritage Action for America, Actively promote new election restrictions A nationwide statement was issued on Thursday urging lawmakers to pass SB1485 and SB1713.

Townsend’s vote is “a short-sighted attempt to draw attention to other election bills,” Garrett Beth, vice president of government communications, said in a statement.

The Arizona Legislative Assembly is scheduled for 100 days, but is usually extended. Mr Kezada said the session will be extended on Thursday and will take place again while lawmakers are working on the budget. However, he added that members usually work to end a session in 120 days, after which the member’s daily allowance (meaning the payment of meals and expenses incurred during the session) is reduced by more than half.

The audit is not expected to be completed by the 120th day of the session.