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Arizona GOP lawmaker introduces bill to give Legislature power to toss out election results

One section grants the Legislature the ability to revoke the secretary of state's certification at any time before the presidential inauguration.
Image: Votes Continue To Be Counted As Presidential Race In Arizona Tightens
Votes are counted by staff at the Maricopa County Elections Department office on Nov. 5, 2020, in Phoenix.Courtney Pedroza / Getty Images

The Republican chair of Arizona's state House Ways and Means Committee introduced a bill Wednesday that would give the Legislature authority to override the secretary of state’s certification of its electoral votes.

GOP Rep. Shawnna Bolick introduced the bill, which rewrites parts of the state's election law, such as sections on election observers and securing and auditing ballots, among other measures.

One section grants the Legislature, which is currently under GOP control, the ability to revoke the secretary of state's certification "by majority vote at any time before the presidential inauguration."

"The legislature may take action pursuant to this subsection without regard to whether the legislature is in regular or special session or has held committee or other hearings on the matter."

A request for comment from Arizona's secretary of state was not immediately returned.

One of the state's Democratic congressman, Ruben Gallego, said if the bill passed, he would work to have it defeated by public referendum.

The introduction of the bill comes as the Arizona GOP has faced an intraparty fight after former President Donald Trump fueled baseless claims about the election after the state went to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election — the first time in 24 years a Democrat has won the state.

The state GOP has also moved to censure Cindy McCain, the wife of late former Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain, and former Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake. Both supported Biden in the election.

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It's unclear how far the bill will go even in a Republican-controlled House and Senate. Although Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward, who is facing questions about her own reelection to the position, claimed the presidential election was stolen from Trump, other top Republicans have pushed back on such claims.

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, a Republican, rebutted President Donald Trump’s meritless attempts to overturn the election results there in a sharply-worded statement in December 2020. He also dismissed the idea of the Legislature appointing its own electors to deliver the state's Electoral College votes to Trump.

"I voted for President Trump and worked hard to reelect him. But I cannot and will not entertain a suggestion that we violate current law to change the outcome of a certified election," he said at the time.