Arizona GOP Bill Would Let Legislators Overrule Voters in Presidential Elections

“This is a full sound-the-alarm moment for American democracy,” said one critic.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 1-30-2024 by Common Dreams

Arizona state Sen. Anthony Kern (R-27), an ally of GOP former President Donald Trump, is spearheading a resolution that says “the Legislature, and no other official, shall appoint presidential electors.” (Photo: Anthony Kern)

Just months away from a potential rematch between Democratic U.S. President Joe Biden and Republican former President Donald Trump, democracy defenders are sounding the alarm about an Arizona bill recently introduced by a GOP state legislator.

State Sen. Anthony Kern (R-27) is spearheading Senate Concurrent Resolution 1014, which says that “the Legislature, and no other official, shall appoint presidential electors.” If it passes both chambers, the measure could appear on the November ballot.

As Arizona Republic columnist EJ Montini wrote earlier this month, “In other words, if such a law had existed when Biden beat Trump, the majority MAGA Legislature could have ignored the will of Arizona voters and appointed like-minded electors of their choosing who, in turn, could have installed Dear Leader as the victor.”

“I would hope there isn’t any need to actually to discuss why this is a horrible idea. Undemocratic. Un-American. Idiotic. It is not surprising, however, that it comes from someone like Kern,” Montini added.

Kern was photographed outside of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, is under investigation for falsely certifying that Arizona’s 2020 Electoral College votes should go to Trump, and has set his sights on Congress.

Montini is far from alone in raising concerns about the resolution. In response to reporting on the bill, the Pima County Democratic Party took aim at Republican politicians in Arizona, saying Tuesday that “they know they can’t win.”

Sam Paisley national press secretary for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which works to elect party members to statehouses, said in a statement Tuesday that “this is a full sound-the-alarm moment for American democracy. Arizona Republicans are attacking the most essential tenet of our elections: that the people decide their representatives.”

“Since 2020, we’ve seen hundreds of Republican legislators across the country willing to support efforts to challenge and overturn election results, but this latest attempt to remove the will of the people from the presidential selection process is one of the gravest threats to democracy we’ve seen yet,” she continued.

“The Arizona Republican Caucus continues to be a hotbed of MAGA extremism, and the only way to put an end to this MAGA extremism is for Democrats to break the GOP’s control of both chambers this year,” Paisley asserted. “Democracy is on the line in state legislatures in Arizona and across the country.”

Progress Arizona voting rights director Casey Clowes warned on social media Tuesday: “Anthony Kern is trying to steal your vote! This anti-democratic insurrectionist has introduced SCR 1014 which purportedly gives the [Legistlature] the power to determine our election. He thinks he is entitled to decide election outcomes rather than Arizona’s voters.”

“Call your senator and tell them to vote NO on SCR 1014! Arizonans’ voices deserve to be heard,” added Clowes, sharing a Progress Arizona form that helps voters in the state contact their legislators.

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

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