Elections bills pass through Arizona’s Senate Election Committee along partisan lines

What was supposed to be a non-partisan elections committee has gotten very partisan in Arizona.
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 9:54 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - What was supposed to be a non-partisan elections committee has gotten very partisan.

But to understand how contentious the committee has become Chair Wendy Rogers issued a warning prior to Monday’s meeting.

“The committee meeting will be conducted as a model of decorum, this is your warning,” said Rogers, a Republican from District. “If you misbehave in any way either at the microphone or from the audience you will be ejected.”

The committee was scheduled to vote on 10 election bills including one which would do away with vote centers and another which will require people who have an early ballot to show identification if they decide to drop it off on election day.

But before they voted on the bills, they heard a second day of testimony for We the People AZ Alliance, which are challenging the veracity of the 2022 election.

With five Republicans and three Democrats on the panel, it did get a bit heated a times, especially

Rogers, an election denier, said she does not want that term used in her committee because it’s partisan.

Here’s the exchange with Priya Sundareshan, a Tucson Democrat from District 18.

“The PAC status of your organization indicates the partisan nature of your organization, Sundareshan said.

“A PAC isn’t necessarily partisan just so you’re clear on that,’ Rogers said. “Please don’t infer that.”

“Okay, Shandareshan said. “Having taken a look at your website, the highly partisan nature of your website.”

Interrupted by Rogers again.

“I would take exception to your characterization of that,” Rogers said.

“Can I ask that your website includes videos of the Kari Lake campaign that includes a lot of the election denial claims,” Shandareshan asked?

Again, interrupted by Rogers.

“I do not want the phrase election denial used in this room please,” Rogers said. “It’s a partisan term in and of itself.”

That’s pretty much how the meeting went with the five Republicans voting on one side and three Democrats voting on the other.

It’s likely an exercise in futility for the Republican members even if the laws are passed out of the committee. They must get through the full House and Senate before landing on the Governor’s desk.

Governor Katie Hobbs has promised to veto any election bill she does not agree with. There are not enough GOP lawmakers to override a veto.