Arizona Attorney General’s Report Recommends Election Reforms Similar to Those Sought in Pennsylvania

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) released a report this week on elections in his state – focusing especially on Maricopa County – advocating similar election reforms to those Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers currently seek. 

While the report did not make criminal allegations regarding recent elections, it did declare that Arizona’s election system suffers from major procedural vulnerabilities including insufficient time to confirm signatures on ballots submitted during early voting and problems with the chain of custody for ballots placed in drop boxes. Altogether, the attorney general estimates that between 100,000 and 200,000 early ballots were transported without proper protocol being followed. 

Brnovich also lamented the partisan nature with which he believes private monetary grants to election offices were made in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. The Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) – an organization significantly funded by Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg – made many such grants in 2020 to jurisdictions across America. In Arizona, CTCL contributed to nine county election offices; Brnovich wrote that all third-party election grants in his state that year totaled nearly $8 million.

CTCL’s role in Pennsylvania’s elections in 2020 has been similarly controversial; counties in the Keystone State received $22.5 million that year. The funds went overwhelmingly to Democrat-leaning counties on a per-voter basis, leading many to believe CTCL was primarily interested in enhancing turnout in “blue” areas while neglecting “red” ones to help Democrats win elections. 

“The 2020 election in Maricopa County left significant holes to be answered and addressed,” Brnovich wrote. “All branches of government in this state must come together to provide full assurance of the integrity of our elections and answer every outstanding question from the 2020 election. That’s what our office is committed to doing. We hope that this interim report and cooperation with the legislative branch will continue to reassure Arizonans that election integrity is of primary concern in our state.” 

Recommendations Brnovich made in his report included the performance of risk-limiting audits after each election, prohibition of private monetary contributions for election administration and more robust surveillance of ballot drop boxes for absentee ballots. Pennsylvania House State Government Committee Chairman Seth Grove (R-York) lauded Brnovich for his work and noted that legislation he is sponsoring contains those reforms as well.

“The report clearly shows the elections issues here in the Commonwealth aren’t just a Pennsylvania problem,” Grove said in a statement. “Rather, they are widespread and must be addressed. The solutions to the issues are also very similar, and I am glad to see an attorney general standing up to protect voters and the election process.”

Grove’s bill, known as the Pennsylvania Voting Rights Protection Act, made it out of committee last year, though it has not yet received a floor vote in the House of Representatives. An earlier version of the measure passed both legislative chambers in 2021 but Gov. Tom Wolf (D) vetoed it. 

Grove and other lawmakers have also been working on enacting components of their voting reform – including voter identification requirements – via constitutional amendment, a process that would not require the governor’s approval. 

– – –

Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Pennsylvania Daily Star and The Star News Network. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Mark Brnovich” by Mark Brnovich
Background Photo “Voting Booths” by Tim Evanson. CC BY-SA 2.0.


Related posts