Arizona State Senator J.D. Mesnard Says a Bill to Expedite Election Results Is Coming This Session

Arizona State Senator J.D. Mesnard (R-Chandler) released a new video in his weekly update series titled “The Right Note,” addressing the length of time it took for races to be called in Arizona’s general election. In response to this issue, he stated that legislation to expedite this process is in the works.

“So, what I’m proposing is that folks who are waiting ’til Election Day to return their mail-in ballots should be treated similar to those who actually walk up to the polls and vote on Election Day. The main difference being that you would have to show ID,” Mesnard said.

The Arizona Sun Times reached out to Mesnard for additional information but did not hear back before publishing.

While some races were called on or close to election night, that was not true for every highly contested race in Arizona. It took four days for the mainstream media to call the Secretary of State and U.S. Senate races. Moreover, it was nearly a week after Election Day before the Associated Press called the gubernatorial race in favor of Democrat Katie Hobbs.

In his video, Mesnard stated that he received several inquiries from his constituents asking why it took so long to get results. He stated this delay was likely due to early ballots being dropped off on Election Day, which had to go through the lengthy process of verifying signatures before they could be added to the total.

Should this bill he is proposing come to fruition, he stated his belief that allowing ballots to be verified on-site with an ID from the voter would speed up the process without sacrificing any of the accuracy, security, or transparency of the election.

Moreover, Mesnard also addressed the big change Republican Legislators will have to deal with this session, working under Hobbs.

“The truth is, it’s going to be a different dynamic because we have for the first time in 14 years a Republican Legislature and a Democratic Governor,” Mesnard said. “And so that means that is going to be some disagreements, obviously, as we go along. Hopefully, we will be able to find some common ground on some key issues facing Arizonans.”

As reported by The Sun Times, the State Senate Republican Caucus unveiled its 2023 roadmap detailing its plans for the upcoming session. Aside from elections, the caucus also outlined tackling education, water, housing, commerce, and more. Kim Quintero, a spokesperson for the caucus, told The Sun Times that Republican Legislators would strive to keep Conservative values at the center of their policies to honor the voters who elected them.

Furthermore, early ballots dropped off on election day are a key part of Republican Kari Lake’s ongoing lawsuit to overturn the November election. When given a chance to argue her case in Maricopa County Superior Court, one of Lake’s witnesses, Heather Honey, an elections integrity investigator, testified on the potential chain of custody (COC) violations that occurred on Election Day. Maricopa County partnered with a third-party company, Runbeck, to help authenticate drop-off ballots. Honey testified that she made a public records request to the county to receive the COC documents that should have accompanied ballots taken to Runbeck but stated she never got them. Moreover, she testified that a Runbeck employee told her those documents never existed.

While the superior court judge dismissed Lake’s case, it will go to the Arizona Court of Appeals.

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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 “J.D. Mesnard” by J.D. Mesnard. Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY 2.0.



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