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Arizona lawmakers resurrect bill allowing them to overturn elections

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Cole Lauterbach | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Arizona Republicans are backing a bill that would make sweeping changes to the way the state conducts its elections, including giving the Legislature the final say on whether the results are valid.

House Bill 2596 would remove much of the state’s processes allowing for early or absentee voting. It also would require the Legislature to convene in a special session and review primary and general election results. If lawmakers believed the winners were chosen properly, the rest of the electoral process would continue. If they objected, then “any qualified elector may file an action in the superior court to request that a new election be held.” 

The bill is sponsored by Rep. John Fillmore, R-Apache Junction, and 15 other Republican representatives.

The bill is one among several Republicans said will shore up election security, something they insist was lacking in the 2020 general election, when Arizona’s 11 Electoral College votes went to President Joe Biden. Biden's win in Arizona marked the first time a Democrat carried the state since Bill Clinton won it in 1996.

Former President Donald Trump and his supporters claim Maricopa County’s election was fraught with errors and should be decertified, though a partisan review of the county’s ballots found no evidence that Biden stole the election. 

After a woman who identified herself as a Republican who’s disaffected with her party over “The Big Lie” spoke out on civility issues in a House Government and Elections Committee, Fillmore touched on his view of the last presidential election. 

“I believe that, in 2020, we had some serious concerns that were never really responded (to),” Fillmore said. “I don’t trust ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox or anybody out there. Everybody’s lying to me, and I feel like I have a couple hundred ex-wives hanging around me at the same time. … This is not a President Biden thing. This is not the other red-headed guy thing. What this is i a concern for the average citizen that, ‘is our voting good.’”

Rep. Shawnna Bolick, R-Phoenix, filed similar legislation in the first half of the legislative session.