One of Arizona’s newest Republican State Representatives, Rachel Jones (R-Tucson), introduced a new bill that would prevent a Secretary of State from certifying an election in which they participated.
“So, I think it is pretty clear what the intent of this bill is. It is basically saying if a current Secretary of State is running for another office, such as happened in the 2022 election with Katie Hobbs running for governor, this is just getting rid of any potential conflicts of interests with that individual,” Jones said while introducing her bill to the House Municipal Oversight and Elections Committee.
She said the inspiration for this bill came from her constituents, who expressed concerns regarding this issue following the November election and the current lack of confidence some have in the election process.
The Arizona Sun Times reached out to Jones for additional comments but did not hear back before publishing.
House Bill (HB) 2308 is Jones’s bill, and if it were to go into law, the acting Secretary of State would be required to recuse themselves from certifying a race in which they are a candidate. Additionally, the official must publicly name a person who will perform the duty in their place. While there are no amendments to the bill yet, Jones did say she would consider adding the same restrictions for the county recorder to this bill and requiring the Secretary to pick someone from the opposite political party to carry out the duty.
Public attendees at the committee meeting were given a brief opportunity to share support for HB 2308. Young conservative activist Nico Delgado spoke up for the bill, stating voting in its favor would be a step towards restoring faith in Arizona’s elections. Yet, one speaker went against the bill, stating that those who believe wrongdoing or a conflict of interests impeded an election can challenge the results in court, so the bill would not be necessary.
Additionally, George Diaz, representing Secretary of State Adrian Fontes (D), said Fontes would remain neutral on this bill.
Ultimately, the bill passed the committee by a bipartisan vote of 7-3. State Representative Laura Terech (D-Scottsdale) was the only Democrat to vote in its favor.
However, even if this bill goes on to pass through the House and Senate, it will ultimately arrive at Hobbs’s desk. One Twitter user said Hobbs would likely veto HB 2308, and in response, Jones said she hopes bipartisan support for the bill will keep that from happening.
“Unfortunately, that’s [Hobbs’s veto] likely the case. I did get one D to vote yes with us, and another was on the fence. If I can bring enough of them around, she would look very ignorant vetoing it,” tweeted Jones.
Unfortunately, that's likely the case. I did get one D to vote yes with us, and another was on the fence. If I can bring enough of them around, she would look very ignorant vetoing it.
— AZ Representative Rachel Jones (@RJ4arizona) January 26, 2023
As reported by The Sun Times, Hobbs’s Republican gubernatorial opponent called for her recusal multiple times during the campaign trail. Lake called Hobbs overtly partisan for attacks on former President Donald Trump (R) and the Republican Party. Hobbs never recused herself.
Lake is involved in an ongoing legal battle attempting to overturn the results of the 2022 election.
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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].
Photo “Rachel Jones” by Rachel Jones. Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.
One Thought to “New Bill from Rep. Rachel Jones Would Bar an Arizona Secretary of State from Certifying Their Own Election”
What a shame that integrity needs legal oversight by passing a bill. And, how telling is it that early supposition is that Hobbs would likely veto ‘integrity’?