GOP Lawmaker Pushes Bill to Let Him and His Pals Overturn Elections

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Arizona Budget - Credit: Ross D. Franklin/AP
Arizona Budget - Credit: Ross D. Franklin/AP

An Arizona Republican legislator is pushing a bill that would overhaul the state law to give lawmakers the right to reject election results.

Republican state Rep. John Fillmore is pushing a proposal that would sharply limit ballot access by eliminating early voting and voting by mail. “We should have voting — in my opinion — in person, one day, on paper, with no electronic means and hand counting that day. We need to get back to 1958-style voting,” Fillmore said during a committee hearing Wednesday, according to The Hill.

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Most radically, Fillmore’s bill, HB 2596, also proposes that after a primary or general election, the legislature “shall accept or reject the election results.” If it accepts them, then everything would proceed as normal. If the legislature rejects the results, then “any qualified elector may file an action in the Superior Court to request that a new election be held.”

Fillmore’s bill, while more extreme than many of his colleagues’ proposals, is premised on the same bogus rationale: That the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump through a rash of systemic voter fraud. It’s a baseless conspiracy theory that has been continually debunked for more than a year, but that’s not the point. The lie exists as a perpetual pretext for Republicans to limit the voting rights of people who are unlikely to support them — even, in Fillmore’s case, up to the point of overturning elections if they don’t go his preferred way.

Fillmore himself is, unsurprisingly, a 2020 truther, saying he doesn’t believe the election results. “I don’t care what the press says. I don’t trust ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox or anybody out there,” Fillmore said. “Everybody’s lying to me, and I feel like I have a couple hundred ex-wives hanging around me.”

Fillmore’s proposal is aligns with so much of the recent rhetoric from the right. Some Republicans in Arizona have been harping on the 2020 election results for more than a year, despite the fact that there was no widespread fraud. Even Cyber Ninjas, the Trump-friendly firm whose founder also alleged baseless conspiracy theories, concluded that Biden won, though its analysis suffered from dozens of false or misleading conclusions.

Arizona is also one of a handful of states where groups of pro-Trump Republicans sent forged documents to Congress and the National Archives after the election claiming to be their state’s “duly elected and qualified electors.” Since the group that sent the forgery, “AZ Protect the Vote,” included the state seal, Arizona has pursued legal action against it, referring the case to the attorney general. The leader of the group said that Rudy Giuliani helped convince her to go through with the anti-democratic scheme.

Rep. Ruben Gallego, a former Arizona state lawmaker who now is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, spoke out on Thursday about the end goal of Fillmore’s proposals.

“I know the Arizona Legislature, I served in the Arizona Legislature,” he wrote on Twitter. “Let me tell you if the Republicans control the Arizona Legislature and they don’t like an election outcome they will throw it out, democracy be damned.”

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