FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 14, 2023
Secretary of State Must Correct Elections Procedures Manual
Draft or Face Legal Action
PHOENIX, ARIZONA— Senate President Warren Petersen is warning Secretary of State Adrian Fontes of legal action following his proposed draft of the 2023 Elections Procedures Manual (EPM), which misinterprets Arizona election laws, unlawfully expands the powers of the Secretary of State, and subjects elections to a greater potential for voter fraud.
After the Secretary deliberately shortened the typical public comment period on the EPM from one month to two weeks, limiting meaningful feedback, President Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma today submitted their assessment on the manual that serves as a rulebook for how county officials must administer elections in accordance with state law.
One of the most notable errors presented by the Secretary in this manual is his unlawful delay in the implementation of a 2021 state law that helps prevent voter fraud by requiring county recorders to remove any voters registered on the active early voter list who have not cast a ballot during two consecutive election cycles and have not responded to notification from the recorder that they wish to continue participation. By delaying this state law, he continues to perpetuate the issue of ballots being sent to the homes of voters who may have moved or no longer wish to participate in this process, opening the door for ballots getting into the hands of unintended individuals.
Other key corrections submitted to the Secretary of State on the draft EPM include:
· The Secretary does not have the legal authority to regulate voter registration procedures or
deadlines on his own accord.
· The Secretary does not have the legal authority to extend the early voting period for UOCAVA
· The Secretary inappropriately decrees that counties do not have the authority to conduct
hand count audits.
· The Secretary improperly perpetuates the use of ballot drop boxes, which have no basis in
statute. Ballot drop boxes encourage illegal ballot harvesting and could present security risks.
· The Secretary ignores directives from a law passed this year requiring instructions of
Arizona's prohibition on illegal ballot harvesting to be provided to voters who are casting early
"Our current Secretary of State has a history of distorting our elections laws and pushing the envelope on questionable procedures," said President Petersen. "My hope is that he will update the EPM with our corrections before submitting to the Attorney General and Governor for approval. Failure to do so will result in legal action."
To read the comment submitted to the Secretary in its entirety, click here.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications | Arizona State Senate Republican Caucus