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GOP Lawmaker in AZ Wants Legislature to Have Authority to Toss Election Results

The bill would also require judges to grant jury trials for any frivolous election-related lawsuit.

Trump supporters demonstrate at a "Stop the Steal" rally in front of the Maricopa County Elections Department office on November 7, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona.

A Republican state lawmaker from Arizona submitted a bill this week that would grant the state legislature the power to overturn a presidential election result, a move that would effectively disenfranchise voters across the Grand Canyon State.

Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Arizona), who chairs the state’s House Ways and Means Committee, submitted a bill on Wednesday that would drastically rewrite the state’s elections laws to give the legislature the authority to override the Secretary of State’s certification of Electoral College votes in presidential races.

The bill would let the legislature overturn certified presidential election results “by majority vote at any time before the presidential inauguration.”

Bolick’s bill appears to be inspired by Arizona’s presidential race in November, in which President Joe Biden narrowly defeated former President Donald Trump. Many Republicans and Trump promoted false allegations of election fraud in the state following Biden’s win, and some elected officials sought to have the legislature overturn the results.

The bill doesn’t have much of a chance of passage, even with Republicans in control of the legislature, as a number of party leaders have refused to back false claims of election fraud.

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, who is a Republican, said in December he wouldn’t support efforts by others in his caucus to overturn the election results.

“I voted for President Trump and worked hard to reelect him. But I cannot and will not entertain a suggestion that we violate current law to change the outcome of a certified election,” Bowers said at the time.

Some Democratic lawmakers have also vowed to fight the bill if it passes.

“Referendums are expensive but I will raise the money to kill this Democracy killing bill,” State Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona), tweeted this week.

In addition to empowering the legislature to disenfranchise the Arizona electorate, Bolick’s bill would also prevent judges from being able to dismiss election lawsuits outright if they were clearly frivolous or without merit. Instead, judges would have to hold jury cases for any election-related lawsuit.

That means baseless claims like “Sharpiegate,” an Arizona-based conspiracy theory spread by Trump supporters which alleged that ballots marked with Sharpie markers were being tossed out, would be allowed to make their case in court.