We the People AZ Alliance Says No to Stephen Richer’s Elections Improvement Plan

Shelby Busch, chairman of the We the People AZ Alliance (WTPAZ), released a statement Tuesday, picking apart and rejecting a proposal introduced by Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, which presented ideas on improving elections in Arizona.

“I encourage Maricopa County voters to immediately reject this plan and tell Mr. Richer that we deserve secure elections not convenient elections,” said Busch.

Late Early Ballots

One common complaint from the November 2022 election was how long it took to get ballots counted. It took six days for the mainstream media to call the highly contested gubernatorial race because of the rate ballots counts were being revealed and the closeness of the race. Richer stated that “late early ballots” are part of the cause for the delay, as he alleged they could not be picked up from voting centers until after they close and must then undergo a time-consuming verification process.

He provided three solutions, firstly, to eliminate the ability for voters to drop off early ballots on election day. Next, he suggested checking in voters with early ballots. These voters must show proper ID like everyone else before dropping off their vote. By doing so, Richer said this would allow the county to skip the signature verification process, which would expedite results. State Senator J.D. Mesnard (R-Chandler) has proposed legislation that would accomplish this. Lastly, he suggested allowing the county to begin retrieving drop-off ballots before polls closed to allow an early start on verifying signatures.

WTPAZ took issue with this last proposal. One issue with the General Election was the ballot chain of custody (COC). Republican Kari Lake filed a lawsuit challenging this election. When given a chance to argue in court, one of Lake’s witnesses, election integrity expert Heather Honey, alleged that Maricopa County failed to keep proper COC documents for early ballots being transported.

Busch argued that allowing multiple pickups on election day is a “non-starter” when it appears the county did not follow COC rules in the one pickup it did in the November election.

Non-Partisan Recorder

Another suggestion Richer made was to elect the County Recorder on a nonpartisan basis. He stated doing so would keep special interest groups away from the office.

However, Busch argued that having the recorder be nonpartisan “is not keeping with the Arizona Constitution or the history of Arizona.” The county recorder candidate is chosen in a direct primary election.

Richer himself is registered as a Republican, but he has run into trouble with the party. As reported by The Arizona Sun Times, Richer founded and operated a Political Action Committee (PAC) known as Pro-Democracy Republicans. This PAC’s mission was to support Republicans who do not believe the 2020 election was stolen, which would put Richer in direct opposition to Lake.

Standardizing Primary Rules

Another of Richer’s proposals was to synchronize the rules of Arizona’s two primary elections. In one, the presidential preference primary election, only registered political party members can vote. Meanwhile, Independents can vote in the statewide August primary elections by choosing one of the parties to participate under. Richer suggested merging these so Independents, which represent the second largest voting group in the state, could participate in both.

However, Busch disagreed with this stance, stating that only “members of a political party should choose that party’s presidential nominee.”

Richer and Secretary of State Adrian Fontes will host a conversation regarding changes to voting in Arizona on February 8th at Valley Bar.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “People Voting” by Ben Schumin. CC BY 3.0.



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One Thought to “We the People AZ Alliance Says No to Stephen Richer’s Elections Improvement Plan”

  1. Shirley

    We the people are not stupid. We knew having a Democrst governor ( who is so cracked ) & a Democrat AG along with a Rhino in charge of elections was going yo guarantee the Democrats will win every election going forward by cheating right under our noses. They have to go. Get the recall paperwork ready so we can rid the state of the rats as soon as 6 months are up. Hobbs did not win this election nor the AG nor Mark Kelly. The whole Maricopa County board needs to go.. Be prepared for the Lord to rain down HELL on all of you that cheated & bought yourself a position. It is coming soon.