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Arizona GOP Lawmaker Proposes Ending Presidential Election Vote in the State

The proposal would have to be approved by voters themselves before it can be enacted.

Anthony Kern speaks with attendees at a "Save America" rally at Country Thunder Arizona in Florence, Arizona, on January 17, 2022.

A Republican state lawmaker in Arizona is proposing a measure that would remove the right of voters in the state to determine the 16 Electoral College electors who they want to represent them in presidential elections.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 1014, introduced by State Sen. Anthony Kern (R), would need to pass both the state Senate and state House of Representatives — and be passed in a referendum vote by Arizona residents themselves — before it could be enacted. The bill has yet to be assigned to a committee, and, given that it asks voters to dismantle their own voting rights, it’s extremely unlikely to become law.

Still, the very introduction of the measure indicates that far right Republicans in the Arizona state legislature — particularly those with strong allegiances to former President Donald Trump — are uninterested in maintaining even the most basic elements of a democracy.

The measure cites the U.S. Constitution in explaining that, if passed, “the Legislature, and no other official, shall appoint presidential electors.”

Technically, if the measure is approved, it would not be illegal, as the U.S. Constitution does give state legislatures the ability to decide how to allocate the presidential electors they have.

“Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress,” Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution reads.

However, since at least the mid-1800s, every state in the country has chosen to use a popular vote in the presidential election to determine who receives their Electoral College votes. Arizona has never had a system that allocated electors in any other manner.

“Arizona Republicans are attacking the most essential tenet of our elections: that the people decide their representatives,” read a statement from Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee National Press Secretary Sam Paisley.

Kern’s resolution comes just over three years after President Joe Biden won Arizona in the 2020 presidential election, narrowly defeating Donald Trump in the statewide race. Kern was involved in several election-denying actions after that outcome, including being part of the fake elector plot to send false documents to the Electoral College in Washington D.C. wrongly alleging that Trump had won the race. He also worked as a contractor for Cyber Ninjas, an inexperienced data firm that was tasked by Arizona Republican lawmakers with “auditing” the election results.

Kern attended Trump’s White House rally falsely alleging election fraud on January 6, 2021, which devolved into chaos at the Capitol when a mob of loyalists to the former president stormed the building. Images from that day place Kern at the Capitol grounds, though it is unclear to what extent he engaged in the melee.

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