Arizona courts reject Dem-backed ballot initiative to fundamentally weaken state election integrity laws

A Democrat-backed ballot initiative proposal in Arizona, if approved by the state’s voters, would have repealed and reversed a number of recent Republican-passed legislative rules changes that were designed to protect and strengthen election integrity and guard against voter fraud.

Unfortunately for Democrats, their plan to undermine the integrity and security of the state’s elections procedures was destroyed Friday when the Arizona Supreme Court ruled definitively that the proposed initiative had not garnered enough signatures to qualify to appear on the ballot in the next election, the Conservative Brief reported.

It was a close call, though, as the Democrat-backed initiative fell short of being approved to be on the November ballot by less than 1,500 eligible signatures.

Rejected by courts

The Associated Press reported Friday that the Arizona Supreme Court had upheld a lower court’s ruling earlier in the day that had disqualified the ballot initiative due to not reaching the required threshold of signatures from eligible registered voters.

The initiative needed at least 238,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, but Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joseph Mitikish ruled that the proposal had fallen short of that threshold by just 1,458 signatures.

Interestingly, Judge Mitikish had first ruled on Thursday that the initiative had qualified to appear on the ballot, but that ruling had been rejected by the state’s Supreme Court due to the judge’s inability to clearly demonstrate how he had reached that conclusion.

Of course, despite the matter now being final, backers of the failed initiative are furiously casting aspersions at the courts and opponents of the measure with wild and unfounded accusations of underhanded partisanship and illegalities.

Game-changer

Had the initiative appeared on the ballot and been approved by voters, The Federalist reported, it would have effectively rolled back virtually all of the election integrity-focused changes made over the past two years by Arizona’s Republican-majority legislature and governor.

Indeed, had the rules been changed, it would have allowed for same-day voter registration with minimal identification verification, would eliminate a 30-day residency requirement for voter eligibility, and would have made it more difficult to remove inactive voters — including those who had died or moved away — from registration rolls.

The initiative, which was modeled after House Democrats’ HR1 legislation that would federalize all elections nationwide, would also have allowed for ballot harvesting — a controversial practice ripe for fraud in which individuals, often paid party activists, are permitted to collect and submit an unlimited number of ballots on behalf of other voters.

It was all a scam

If the Democrats had succeeded in getting this initiative on the ballot — and tricked voters into approving the ironically, or perhaps purposefully, misnamed Free and Fair Elections measure — it risked fundamentally altering Arizona’s newly strengthened election laws, and not for the better.

Thankfully, though, the deceptive effort has now been halted by the state’s highest court and Democrats will have to go back to the drawing board to devise a new scheme that will enable them to engage in fraud and take advantage of lax election security laws.

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