On Monday, Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) Posted a Washington Post opinion piece promote bipartisanship and defend the 60-vote requirement to pass most laws, saying that obstructionism “forces moderation and helps protect the country from abrupt changes between opposite political poles.” The next day, Senate Republicans used the filibuster to block debate on Democrats’ broad democratic reform bill, the Law For the People, which Sinema supports.
While Sinema was essentially giving Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Veto power over the protection of American democracy, Republicans in her home state took drastic action that challenged what she says. what are your values, rushing to stripping a key Democratic official of power and make it harder for Democratic constituencies to vote.
On Thursday, the GOP-controlled legislature passed a budget that includes a provision that prevents Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs from defending state election laws and transfers that authority to the Republican Arizona attorney general, but only until the 2022 election. , in case the partisan composition of the offices are reversed after that. Hobbs, who championed the integrity of the 2020 election and is running for governor in 2022, the republicans said he had “atrociously armed the budget process to demand partisan retaliation against the Office of the Secretary of State.”
– Secretary Katie Hobbs (@SecretaryHobbs) June 25, 2021
The budget also includes numerous other provisions which appear to be designed to further Donald Trump’s Big Lie that the election was stolen. One measure allows the legislature to designate groups of third parties to target allegedly ineligible voters for removal from the voter rolls, which is highly irregular and likely violates federal law. Another requires a review of registration lists in counties with more than 1 million residents, which seems to highlight Democratic cities like Phoenix and Tucson for additional scrutiny. A third provision creates a new Election Integrity Fund that would essentially institutionalize the discredited state Senate-commissioned audit of 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County, opening the door to future audits designed to undermine the legitimacy of election statements. A fourth provision would require ballot security codes that, according to election officials, are highly impractical, unnecessary, expensive, and could jeopardize the privacy of voters.
The budget, which now goes to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, was also passed under very unusual circumstances: The state Senate cleared at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, then passed the House the next day after Republicans limited debate to prevent Democrats from leaving the chamber to overturn the bill, as the Texas Democrats did last month to stop a voter suppression bill to pass.
Arizona is one of 14 GOP-controlled states where the legislature has passed new laws to “politicize, criminalize and interfere with the election administration,” according to a recently released report by voting rights groups. And it continues a disturbing trend of Republican-led legislatures in states like Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin taking power away from Democratic officials and taking authority away from Republican officials, like Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who faced Trump in 2020.
This has prompted Democratic state legislators and voting rights advocates to urgently push for federal legislation to protect voting rights and combat Republican voter suppression efforts. But they’ve been angry for months that Sinema in particular hasn’t done more. “I cannot stress enough how outrageous it is that these laws are being passed only with the support of Republicans, and @SenatorSinema, who can do something, is turning a blind eye,” Democratic State Representative Athena Salman tweeted Thursday.
Also laws to make it easier for Republicans to take us off the voter rolls.
I can’t stress enough how outrageous it is that these laws are being passed only with the support of Republicans, and @SenatorSinema, who can do something, is turning a blind eye #ForThePeopleAct #EndTheFilibuster https://t.co/RFkabwKimW
– Representative Athena Salman (@AthenaSalman) June 24, 2021
Unlike Sinema, young Arizona Democratic Senator Mark Kelly, elected in 2020, has expressed his openness to reforming filibuster to pass a bill on the right to vote and other laws. “We are not going to keep doing the same thing and get a different result,” Kelly said in a private call with Democratic supporters this week. “There is no other democracy that I know of that works like the United States Senate does. So, structurally, it has major problems. I’d like to see us, you know, change the rules. “