VIA Arizona Daily| April 7th, 2023
Governor Katie Hobbs has vetoed dozens of bill in her short tenure, however it is her latest veto that has left a bipartisan group of lawmakers “stunned.” Election law updating has been labeled a priority of both Democrats and Republicans after the November 2022 and 2020 elections.
Hobbs vetoed HB 2322, a bipartisan-supported election reform bill,
sponsored by State Representative Alexander Kolodin
, that would codify in state law specific signature verification rules to confirm the identity of early voters – rules that were written by the Governor when she served as Arizona’s Secretary of State.
“When Governor Katie Hobbs took office, she said that she’d ‘find common ground’ and work across party lines,” said Kolodin. “Right now, Arizona has no laws setting any signature verification rules for early ballots, which help ensure that only lawful early voter’s vote. What ground could be more common making her own rules the law? Instead, her veto letter for HB 2322, for which 16 Democratic House members voted, indicates that instead of legally enforceable rules, she would like ‘ongoing’ signature verification ‘guidance’ that is non-binding and can be changed on a whim by a single person. That is hardly democratic – or sober and responsible governance.”
In a release issued Wednesday, Kolodin noted that HB 2322 was the product of collaborative work across party lines. It had passed the House with bipartisan support and was not opposed by counties or the current Secretary of State Fontes.
Hobbs’ reasoning for veto was that the guidelines are already in the Elections Procedure Manual (EPM), however elections attorney, Jen Wright, formerly with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office pointed out that Hobbs is mistaken in a tweet.
“The guidelines are not in the EPM. 🤦🏻♀️In fact @GeneralBrnovich sued @katiehobbs asking the court to require her to put the signature guidelines in the EPM so they would have the force & effect of law. She objected to including them in the EPM.
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