Copying California’s Election System in Arizona Is an Insane Idea

Copying California’s Election System in Arizona Is an Insane Idea

This fall, the people of Arizona will have a number of critical decisions to make about the future of our state. But one initiative may be the most important issue facing voters in November.

Earlier this month, the special interests behind a plan to bring California-style jungle primaries and ranked choice voting to Arizona submitted signatures with the Arizona Secretary of State to qualify the so-called “Make Elections Fair Act” for the November General Election. If approved, this proposed constitutional amendment would not only make our elections unfair, but it would radically change how Arizonans select and approve candidates for public office in several alarming ways.

The Measure Grants One Politician Too Much Power

It’s never a good idea to give one politician total power over anything—especially an election—but that’s exactly what the Make Elections (Un)Fair Act would do. The measure grants one politician, in this case the Secretary of State, the power to determine how many candidates will appear on the general election ballot for each race. On top of that, the Secretary of State could even decide how many candidates advance in his or her own race.

Think about what this could mean.

The Secretary of State could go up and down the ballot selecting just two candidates for the general election in one race while selecting five in another race despite the fact that only one candidate can win. But it gets even more confusing. When two seats are open in the general election, meaning that two candidates would be elected, the Secretary of State can select four candidates for one race, but seven in another! This means that the Secretary of State could literally pick and choose all the way up and down the ballot the number of candidates in each race that would most benefit his own political party.

But that’s not even the worst part!

In his own race, if the Secretary of State determined that it would be better for him to go head-to-head with just one opponent, this measure allows him to unilaterally declare that just two candidates will be on the ballot. But if he felt like it would be better to “crowd the field,” he could put five candidates on the ballot to have his opponents fight with each other while he sneaks his way to victory. The Democrats like to talk about “protecting Democracy” (even though we’re a constitutional republic). Does that sound like Democracy to you?

Jungle Primaries Will Result in Races Where Only One Political Party Is on the General Election Ballot

It’s bad enough that some Arizona voters have been disenfranchised in recent elections, but jungle primaries would take this to a whole new level. If this system becomes our reality, we will most certainly see elections in which candidates from only one political party will appear on the general election ballot. That would mean that under this scheme, we could have a November election where your choice for governor only includes Democrats or vice-versa.

This possibility should concern every Republican, Democrat, and anyone in between.

A system like this gives voters no real choice in the general election. It’s completely unfair and is another radical way to leave even more voters in our state disenfranchised.

The Measure Would Force Voters to Navigate Two Completely Different Voting Systems on the Same Ballot

Are you confused enough already? Well, we’re not done. The language of the Make Elections (Un)Fair Act would create a confusing new system for voting that requires the use of a complicated ranking system for some candidates but not for others.

That’s right. Under this flawed system, we would end up with a patchwork ballot where you’re choosing between two candidates in one race and then ranking a set of candidates in your order of preference in the very next contest. This insane voting process would increase tabulation errors, require longer ballots, create longer lines at the polls, and delay election results for months. Clearly, this is not the road Arizona should be heading down.

The reality is that jungle primaries and ranked choice voting are radical election schemes imported from California by out-of-state special interests with a thirst for more influence and control over our state’s political process. Both systems are confusing, unfair, and will disenfranchise voters. And the only ones who stand to gain are the ones with the money to manipulate the system.

As you’re preparing to vote this November, just remember that copying our election system after California is an insane idea. And vote NO on the Make Elections (Un)Fair Act.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.

Arizona’s ‘Make Elections (Un)Fair Act’ Submits Signatures for November Ballot

Arizona’s ‘Make Elections (Un)Fair Act’ Submits Signatures for November Ballot

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – Last week, the special interests behind a plan to bring California-style jungle primaries and ranked choice voting to Arizona submitted signatures with the Arizona Secretary of State to qualify their initiative for the November General Election. If approved by voters, this proposed constitutional amendment would radically change how Arizonans select and approve candidates for public office.

“This fall, Arizonans will have a number of critical decisions to make about the future of our state, but this initiative may be the most important one facing voters,” said Scot Mussi, President of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club.

If passed by voters, The Make Elections (Un)Fair Act, which copies the California voting system, would do the following for future Arizona elections:

  • Allows one politician, the Arizona Secretary of State, to decide how many candidates qualify for the general election ballot for every single contest, including his or her own race.
  • Would result in some races where candidates from only one political party appear on the general election ballot.
  • Would force voters to navigate two completely different voting systems on the same ballot, with some races requiring voters to rank candidates and others that do not.
  • Will increase tabulation errors, create longer lines at the polls, and significantly delay election results.

“This initiative is nothing more than a California-style election scheme, which would give unilateral power to one politician to determine the candidates on our ballots. It is not fair, and it is not honest,” said Mussi. “If it is determined that this measure did submit enough valid signatures, we will ensure voters know exactly how undemocratic and unfair these policies will be for future generations.”

Read more about this radical and confusing initiative here.

Arizona Free Enterprise Club President Files Lawsuit to Force Cleanup of State’s Voter Rolls

Arizona Free Enterprise Club President Files Lawsuit to Force Cleanup of State’s Voter Rolls

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – Late last week, Scot Mussi, the President of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona over the State’s failure to comply with Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which requires states to “conduct a general program that makes a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters from the officials lists of eligible voters by reason of … (A) the death of the registrant; or (B) a change in the residence of the registrant” to maintain accurate voter-registration records in a uniform manner across the state.

“Election integrity is a serious issue in our nation,” said Mussi. “Ensuring that Arizonans can have faith in the integrity of our election system and representative government starts with clean voter rolls that leave no doubts about who is able to cast a ballot. That’s why we sent a prelitigation notice to Secretary Fontes last August highlighting the artificially high voter registration rates. Unfortunately, most Arizona counties continue to have voter registration rates far exceeding the national average. We hope that the court compels Secretary Fontes to comply with his obligations under the NVRA to clean up Arizona’s voter rolls.”

Joining Mussi as Plaintiffs in this challenge are the Chair of the Republican Party of Arizona, Gina Swoboda, and Steven Gaynor.

In their lawsuit, the Plaintiffs argue that Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes has failed to perform his mandatory list maintenance duty under the NVRA. For example, the most recent voter registration and census data show that up to four Arizona counties – Apache, La Paz, Navajo, and Santa Cruz – have more registered voters than eligible citizens. The remaining counties across the state have implausibly high voter registration rates that far exceed the average national and statewide voter-registration rates in recent years. Consistent with these artificially high registration rates, the complaint alleges that Arizona has at least 500,000 registered voters on the rolls who should have otherwise been removed because they are deceased or no longer reside in Arizona.

The Plaintiffs ask the federal court to find that Secretary Fontes is in violation of Section 8 of the NVRA, and to require the Secretary to fully comply with any existing procedures Arizona has in place to ensure ineligible voters are identified and removed from the rolls.

Read the complaint here.

Ballot Measure Gives Secretary of State Total Power to Select Candidates That Appear on the Ballot

Ballot Measure Gives Secretary of State Total Power to Select Candidates That Appear on the Ballot

Who thinks it is a good idea to let voters decide which candidates appear on the general election ballot? Probably everyone. How about letting just one politician decide instead? You would hope that question is rhetorical, and the answer is no one. But right now, out-of-state special interests are spending millions of dollars to put their so-called “Make Elections Fair” measure on the ballot that would do just that. 

The groups pushing these ideas are trying to trick voters into signing their petitions and supporting their poorly written constitutional amendment, arguing it will lead to less partisanship and more centrist candidates on the general election ballot. But hidden in the measure is a provision that lets just one politician, the Secretary of State, decide how many candidates move from the primary to the general election. 

And it isn’t limited to just some elections. Under the measure, the Secretary of State would have the power to decide for every single election on the ballot, including his own! The Secretary of State could go up and down the ballot, selecting just two candidates for the general election in one race, then select three, four, or five in another when only one candidate can win in the general.

It gets even more confusing when two candidates can win the general election for two seats (like for the State House). The Secretary of State can select four candidates for one race, but seven in another, picking and choosing all the way up and down the ballot for every single race however many candidates would most benefit his own political party. 

How about his own race? If it is better for him to go head-to-head with just one opponent, he can unilaterally declare that just two candidates will be on the ballot. But if it is better to “crowd the field,” he can let five candidates show up on your ballot to have his opponents fight with each other while he sneaks his way to victory. 

This new candidate selection scheme would be in addition to the fact that their measure will result in some races where candidates from only one political party appear on the general election ballot, depriving many voters of any choice at all.  If this sounds familiar, it’s because California uses this exact same system to select its candidates. That’s right. The proponents are trying to fix Arizona’s election system by bringing in ideas from San Francisco.

When the legislature writes election laws, their bills have to pass through two legislative chambers consisting of 90 different lawmakers elected from every corner of Arizona. There are committee hearings, public testimony, amendments, recorded votes, and then the Governor has to approve it too. 

But according to the proponents of this measure, what is “fair” is removing all those checks and balances and just consolidating all power into the hands of one politician so he can install a confusing system no one wants. 

California politicians like to pick their opponents. In Arizona, we like to let the voters make that choice. Placing all power in the hands of one politician isn’t fair, it won’t lead to more centrist candidates, and for a group that purports to support and defend “democracy,” this is one of the most undemocratic measures ever written.   

But the drafters of this measure likely don’t care. Their goal is to buy their way onto the ballot, then hope voters won’t discover all the easter eggs they hid in the initiative. No question that this is a very cynical strategy that speaks volumes about their low opinion of voters, but given that they thought it was a good idea to give one politician the power to pick their own opponents, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. 

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.

Copying California’s Election System in Arizona Is an Insane Idea

Is Arizona Turning Blue? The Latest Voter Registration Numbers Tell a Different Story.

Everyone knows that political pundits, social media influencers, and the corporate media love a good narrative. And one of their favorites for years has been the claim that Arizona is trending blue—that a demographic shift toward Democrats is inevitable.

This ‘conventional wisdom’ is repeated so often that much of the Republican political class in the state has accepted it as fact. Some are even advising candidates that the only path forward for Republicans is to abandon their conservative principles, embrace center-left policy solutions, and settle for a future of divided government.

But a funny thing about narratives and conventional wisdom: numbers don’t lie, especially those showing party preference when people are registering to vote.

Last month, the Secretary of State updated the statewide voter registration data prior to the Presidential Preference Election. The latest figures show that Republicans are once again the largest voting bloc in Arizona, surpassing Independents by nearly 40,000. This is certainly an important development—especially given all the attention it received on social media when Independent registrations surpassed Republicans last year.

But that’s not the most significant voter registration trend. It’s the one that could spell doom for the Democratic party in our state’s upcoming election.

The Data Shows a Widening Gap Between Registered Republicans and Democrats

According to the Secretary of State’s recent report, the voter registration advantage for Republicans over Democrats is now 5.77%, with approximately 236,000 more people registered as Republican than Democrat.

How significant is this?

On Election Day in 2022, the gap between Republicans and Democrats was 4.03%—or about 166,000 more Republicans than Democrats. And on Election Day in 2020, the gap was only 3.04%—or about 130,000 more Republicans than Democrats.

This means that in less than four years, the percentage gap between Democrats and Republicans has nearly doubled, and in raw numbers went from 130,000 to 236,000 more Republicans than Democrats in the state!

Arizona Voter Registration Totals 2014 - 2024

At first glance, this already looks impressive, but the registration numbers from the last decade show an even greater long-term trend. Based on the data from the Secretary of State, the gap between registered Republicans and registered Democrats is stronger today than at any point in the last 10 years! (See graph above and chart below)

Arizona Voter Registration Percentage Breakdown 2014-2024

So, despite the ‘conventional wisdom’ of the political class, there is no evidence that Arizona is trending blue. In fact, the registration numbers suggest the opposite. Now, Republicans look to be positioning themselves in 2024 to look a lot more like the 2014 and 2016 elections that featured a massive red wave and the election of President Donald Trump.

And while the last three elections may have been razor thin close, a combination of ridiculous Democrat policies—along with critical Republican successes—are setting up the opportunity for Republicans to have a big year.

Democrats Are Hemorrhaging Support Due to Absurd Policy Positions

One thing these voter registration numbers tell us is that people are seeing just how crazy Democrats are on the issues. We can start with the current border crisis where the Biden administration has abandoned its constitutional duty, and Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs has done everything she can to pretend it doesn’t exist. In the meantime, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in the number of “gotaways,” a surge of illegal immigrants in the Tucson Border Sector, and an increase in cartel violence—to name just a few of the problems.

Then, there’s our schools where Critical Race Theory and radical gender theory have been spreading like wildfire—especially over the past four years. In the Scottsdale Unified School District, we’ve seen administrators encourage students to replace their “deadname”—the name that individuals reject upon transitioning genders—with their preferred name on their school ID. In Phoenix, a sixth grade teacher was recorded teaching her students about gender identity and not trusting their parents on the subject. And a Tucson High School held its first annual drag show in May 2022, weeks before one of the counselors who organized the event was arrested for having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

But we also can’t forget about how the Left handled COVID. Democrat-run states had some of the most restrictive stay-at-home orders in the country. Just ask the people of Michigan. And many of them also pushed “vaccine passports” to allow citizens to use their freedoms. Then, of course the Biden administration rolled out a dangerous vaccine mandate with Democrat-run cities like Phoenix quick to get on board.

On top of all this, the Left continues to push preposterous bans on gas stoves and gas cars while now trying to adopt taxes on our vehicle miles traveled as inflation eats away at the average citizen. Meanwhile, the only thing Katie Hobbs seems to be able to accomplish is breaking the record for most vetoes in a legislative session and massively growing the size of the state government.

Republican Successes Have Created Great Momentum

People want to live in a state that’s free. That’s why Arizona’s Republican leadership has made it a top priority—especially in the last four years—to ensure that our freedoms are both protected and expanded.

During COVID, our state’s response put it ahead of most other states in the country. While we certainly weren’t immune from restrictions, Arizona remained open as blue states like California, New York, and the aforementioned Michigan continued with extreme lockdowns and other measures that crushed their state’s economies.

Then, in July 2021, Republicans delivered historic tax cuts for all Arizona taxpayers, giving them some much-needed relief from rising inflation. But they didn’t stop there. With gas, grocery, housing, and energy prices climbing under the Biden administration, Republicans also included tax relief for Arizona’s families in last year’s state budget.

Along with this, conservatives got to work on passing a law that both saves taxpayers money and provides universal school choice for every single child in the state. Upon the launch of the expanded Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA), the program was so popular that the ESA website became overwhelmed by the large number of families looking to escape the woke agenda in our union-backed public schools.

Now, the latest voter registration numbers are demonstrating that these policies have resonated with the electorate in Arizona while attracting even more conservatives to our state. That’s probably why Democrats have been so frantic trying to repeal school choice and falsely blame our historic tax cuts for the budget shortfall. They are worried that it will be game over for them if these structure reforms stand.

It’s also important to note that none of this guarantees electoral success for Republicans. A registration advantage is like a head start in a race. Great to have but means nothing if the GOP doesn’t work hard to unify around a conservative platform, conduct a robust GOTV program, and support their general election candidates. Poor voter turnout and infighting within the party cost Republicans several races throughout the state in 2022.  

But the overall political trend lines are clear. Arizona’s freedom-focused policies have laid a foundation for us to be a red state. Now, we need to use this momentum, build on it, and ensure that we become an even more red state for years to come.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.

What to Make of the Confusing and (Mostly) Incorrect Federal Court Ruling on Arizona’s Proof of Citizenship Election Law

What to Make of the Confusing and (Mostly) Incorrect Federal Court Ruling on Arizona’s Proof of Citizenship Election Law

It is no secret that an overwhelming number of Americans believe that only U.S. citizens should be allowed to vote in our elections. It arguably is and ought to be the first and primary qualification to vote. But what good is that requirement if it isn’t verified? In other words, without proof of citizenship, we are relying on a simple stroke of a pen or pencil on a registration form, checking a small box attesting to citizenship.

That’s why in 2004 Arizona voters approved a measure to require proof of citizenship before registering to vote. But, in the 20 years since, that requirement has been whittled away and now there are tens of thousands of people voting in Arizona elections (often referred to as “Federal only” voters) without ever having provided evidence of their citizenship.

In response to this explosion of ‘Federal Only’ voters, the Arizona legislature passed two landmark bills, HB2492 and HB2243, to require proof of citizenship and regular, enhanced voter roll maintenance to ensure only eligible individuals are registering and voting in our elections.

What happened next shouldn’t surprise anyone that has watched the left fight every reasonable voter integrity measure around the country. As soon as both bills were signed into law, a dozen liberal organizations and the Biden Justice Department sued in federal court, claiming that the measures were unconstitutional, illegal, and (of course) racist.

The case was given to Bill Clinton appointed judge Susan Bolton, and after a year of litigation, she issued a confusing, disjointed two-part ruling that is destined for appeal. And while a few positives can be gleaned from the decision, the bad and ugly from the liberal opinion far outweighed the good.

The Bad

Bolton had already ruled against many of the provisions last September, including, most importantly, blocking Arizona from rejecting state voter registration forms not accompanied with proof of citizenship (even though the U.S. Supreme Court clearly stated that we could) and from preventing “Federal Only Voters” from voting in presidential elections and by mail.

In this new ruling, Bolton also ruled that the requirement that a registrant include their place of birth on their voter registration form (currently optional), which would have helped verify the citizenship status of voters, violates the materiality provision of the Civil Rights Act. In other words, although the U.S. Supreme Court just a decade ago said we are free to design our own form and request the information we determine is necessary, Bolton decided for us, preventing us from collecting critical information from registrants to verify citizenship status.

Residency might be second only to citizenship as a qualification to vote: you have to be a citizen, and you must live here to vote in our elections. Pretty basic. But Bolton also decided that requiring registrants using the state form to prove their residency violates the National Voter Registration Act, requiring them to be registered as Federal Only Voters.

The Ugly

After the liberal group plaintiffs tried to go on a fishing expedition last year, serving the Club with subpoenas to access years of our communications, Bolton spent six pages determining whether the laws were passed with discriminatory intent. Three of those pages were spent on the Club’s involvement in getting these bills passed, where she described us as a “conservative lobbying group” (without identifying the nonprofit plaintiffs likewise as “liberal lobbying groups”). Even worse, she wrote that our previous articles amounted to racial animosity. Her evidence? In some of them we argued the bills would help stop “illegals” from voting. And, according to Bolton, the word “illegals” is a “code word” that “may demonstrate discriminatory intent.”

Her evidence for that? The testimony of one individual, former state senator Martín Quezada, whose nomination by Hobbs to head the Registrar of Contractors was rejected by the Arizona Senate last year. That was enough for a federal judge, in a federal court order, to allege our advocacy for the security of elections was fueled, at least in part, with coded racist language.

This claim is even more absurd now given that just last week President Biden (whose DOJ is a lead plaintiff against these bills) used the “coded word” “illegals” during his State of the Union address to Congress. Would Judge Bolton say that President Biden was using “coded” racist language too?

The Good

Even though Bolton thinks our advocacy was rooted in racism, it wasn’t enough to find that the legislature acted with discriminatory intent, because we didn’t, and they didn’t. And that alone is a huge win as this case moves to an appeal, because it was the bulk of the argument from the “liberal lobbying” group plaintiffs.

Additionally, many of the voter list maintenance provisions were upheld, meaning Arizona counties will be checking the voter rolls against several databases regularly and removing those not eligible to vote in our elections. Individuals who obtain a driver’s license in another state, those who attest on a jury questionnaire that they are not a U.S. citizen or are not a resident, SAVE (the federal immigration database), and more, will begin to clean up our voter list.

Finally, before the case moved to trial, the RNC intervened, as did Senate President Warren Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma on behalf of the legislature, allowing for an appeal all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary to uphold these commonsense laws before the 2024 election. And we will stand with them as it does.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.