A bill that was set to strengthen election integrity in Arizona by cracking down on voter fraud failed in the Republican-led State Senate, after a Republican member went against the party and voted it down, as reported by ABC News.
The bill, SB 1485, would have made it easier to remove inactive names from the state’s early voting list by removing the word “permanent” from the state’s definition of said list. Following this change, anyone on the list who did not vote in the state’s elections after a certain period of time could have their names removed completely. Inactive names remaining on a state’s voting rolls, such as in Arizona, can lead to a greater chance of voter fraud when those names are used to sway an election in a crucial swing state.
But a single Republican state senator, Kelly Townsend (R-Ariz.), voted with the Democrats against the bill. Her reasoning, ostensibly, was to wait for the results of a GOP-led audit of all 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County from the 2020 election.
However, the bill’s sponsor, State Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-Ariz.), claimed that the true reason for Townsend’s no vote was her anger over the fact that none of her election integrity bills made it out of committee. Comparing Townsend’s torpedoing of the bill to a “temper tantrum,” Ugenti-Rita also pointed out that Townsend had “voted for it twice on two occasions,” and “has never once talked about an amendment or language in the bill that would be of a concern.”
In response, Townsend ultimately admitted that she was, in fact, “absolutely…upset about all of my election bills dead,” but then issued a warning: “You want to see a temper tantrum? I can show you one if you really wanted me to.”
The bill was supported by numerous prominent conservative advocacy groups, including Heritage Action, the 501(c)4 arm of the influential think tank Heritage Foundation. Heritage Action released a statement condemning Townsend’s “short-sighted attempt to draw attention to other election bills which failed to pass out of committee,” and pointed out that “a wide majority of Arizonians support these common-sense bills.”
SB 1485 is one of many election integrity bills that have been introduced in Republican legislatures all across the country following the 2020 election, where there is overwhelming evidence of voter fraud and other irregularities that affected the final outcome, particularly in key swing states such as Arizona.