Updated: May 24
by Patrice Johnson | May 23, 2023
Texas may be the home of the Alamo, but the battle lines were drawn in Arizona on May 22 when both chambers of the Arizona legislature passed a resolution to ban use of electronic tabulators in federal elections. In a twist sure to be contested in court and with the potential to set legal precedent, Senate Concurrent Resolution 1037 (SCR 1037) bypassed the governor’s veto pen and was transmitted directly to the Secretary of State with instructions to go into immediate effect.
“It is in effect. It has the full force of law. It doesn’t require the governor’s signature,” state Senator Wendy Rogers (R) reported in a radio interview.
SCR 1037 informs all Arizona counties and the secretary of state that they are no longer allowed to use electronic tabulators, including Dominion and ES&S machines (which Michigan uses, plus Hart machines) until they comply with legislative requirements.
In the meantime, counties are instructed to hand count paper ballots. Legislative requirements before electronic machines may be returned include, among other stipulations, 1) electronic voting machines must be manufactured of U.S.-made parts, and 2) tabulator software code must be made available to the public.
At issue is which governmental body has ultimate authority over the “time, place, and manner of elections.” Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution, the Elections Clause, assigns the power to state legislatures:
The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.
--U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 4, Clause 1, the Elections Clause.
In a release published on Twitter, Arizona Senate Majority Leader Sonny Borrelli wrote, “The Legislature is exercising our plenary authority to see that no electronic voting systems in the state of Arizona are used as the primary method for conducting, counting, tabulating, or verifying federal elections, unless those systems meet necessary standards of protection.”
"The federal government has made it very clear that elections equipment is considered a target by those who want to threaten the safety and security of our country," the majority leader stated.
"We have ignored this elephant in the room by allowing electronic voting systems made with parts produced in countries considered adversaries to the United States to be used as the primary method for conducting our elections.”
Borelli released a statement calling on county supervisors statewide “first and foremost” to protect national security during future elections. He declared it was in the state's and nation's best interest to comply with implementation of “security measures to protect our republic."
According to Senator Rogers the recent lawsuit between gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake (R) against proclaimed-contest-winner Katie Hobbs (D) produced evidence of election machine compromise. The trial, she said, “brought out several sets of data truths…. It came out.”
Evidence of tabulator compromise, it appears, prompted the Arizona legislature to apply a Department of Homeland Security designation of elections systems as critical infrastructure. The Borelli release referred to the 2017 DHS designation. “This means these electronic systems must have safeguards in place to prevent any attacks which threaten our national security.”
On April 13 the Phoenix New Times published that Arizona Governor Hobbs “has made a habit of giving Republican-backed legislation a one-way ticket to the veto bin.” Then she vetoed a slew of bills, including Senate Bill 1074, and brought her term-of-office vetoes to a reported 86. These vetoes appear to have crossed a red line for the state’s GOP-majority legislature and sparked the bicameral adoption of SCR 1037.
Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs (D)
“This session, the Senate passed legislation that would have fulfilled federal government requirements to protect critical elections infrastructure. However, Senate Bill 1074 was vetoed by the Governor,” the Borelli release stated.
HB 2613 would have required vote recording and tabulating equipment purchased on or after Jan. 1, 2028, to be 100% sourced, manufactured, and assembled in the United States. She also vetoed H.B. 2305 that would have increased the ability of political parties to observe the verification of mail ballot signatures and imposed new ballot-handling and record-keeping requirements. H.B. 2308 would have prohibited the secretary of state from personally performing any aspect of election operations for any election in which they are a candidate on the ballot, except for the constitutional duty to certify the statewide canvass.
Hobbs did, however, approve a historic budget that provided additional election funding, plus tax rebates.
Tammy Clark, vice president of Stand Up Michigan, sounded elated as she summarized the situation to this writer:
“The Arizona legislature has brilliantly taken back their plenary authority, granted to all legislative bodies by the US Constitution, in the event of a national security threat. The department of defense defined electronic voting machines as critical infrastructure with U.S. national security in 2017, and there is evidence that these machines have been compromised. Therefore, the legislature has the authority to intervene. Their approach was genius, and there’s nothing the governor or the SOS can do about it! So, Arizona is returning to paper ballots for all federal elections.”
"When we 16 senators are united, as we well are, we can do great things. We got this through," Senator Rogers said. “Irrespective to how the judge rules, we’re in this for the long haul.”
Join Tammy Clark this Thursday during MFE's Zoom at Noon.