Arizona Supreme Court rejects Democratic-backed ballot initiative that would have gutted election integrity laws

The Republican-controlled legislature in Arizona, along with its GOP governor, passed into law in 2021 a number of measures designed to strengthen election integrity and reduce the possibility of voter fraud.

Democratic activists, with funding from leftist billionaire George Soros, attempted to place on November’s ballot an initiative that would overturn and reverse those reforms, but the Arizona Supreme Court rejected that effort due to a lack of qualified signatures, Breitbart reported.

The initiative, formally known as Proposition 210 but informally dubbed as Arizonans for Free and Fair Elections, was funded in large part by Soros’ Open Society Foundation in conjunction with another leftist activist organization known as Way to Win.

Making elections less secure

According to The Federalist, if Proposition 210 had appeared on November’s ballot and been approved by voters, it would have overridden and changed nearly all of the new election integrity measures put in place by Arizona Republicans in the aftermath of the dubious 2020 election.

That would include allowing same-day voter registration, minimizing ID requirements, and eliminating 30-day residency requirements. It would also have made it more difficult for the state to remove inactive voters from registration rolls — such as those who were dead or moved away — and would allow for the controversial practice of “ballot harvesting,” in which typically paid activists collect and submit ballots for other voters.

Breitbart noted that groups backing the initiative had reportedly collected and submitted around 475,000 signatures, far more than the roughly 239,000 valid signatures from registered voters required to appear on the ballot.

Just a few valid signatures short

However, the Associated Press reported that, following some back-and-forths in state courts last week, it was ultimately determined that the initiative had fallen short of the threshold to qualify by less than 1,500 signatures.

Interestingly, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joseph Mikitish had initially ruled that the ballot initiative had garnered enough signatures to qualify, but that decision was appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court, which kicked the matter back down to the lower court over a dispute about the methodology that had been used to calculate the number of valid signatures, Breitbart noted.

After further review, Judge Mikitish overruled his own prior decision and determined that the initiative had failed to qualify for the ballot, and the state Supreme Court upheld that new ruling just a few hours later on Friday.

Ironically defeated by a measure they seek to overturn

Former Ohio Sec. of State Ken Blackwell, now chair of the America First Policy Institute’s Center for Election Integrity, told Breitbart, “The irony is rich, because signature verification is a standard election integrity requirement.”

“To have a ballot measure regarding elections not approved for the ballot because not enough legal voters supported it is precisely the sort of the thing that the Left aims to disallow,” he continued. “The fact that the ballot measure in question was designed to eradicate such election safeguards highlights the importance of those safeguards.”

“This victory proves that the American people are more powerful than militant liberal activists like Soros, who is trying to fundamentally transform America,” Blackwell told the outlet. “The United States is a center-right nation, and while hundreds of millions of dark money dollars may distort democracy by astroturfing issues and gaslighting voters, the American people have enough sense and principle that such efforts can be defeated.”

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