Arizona just became the first state to formally oppose the Democrat-backed federal election overhaul bill known as HR 1 or S 1 now before Congress.
Arizona state Rep. Jake Hoffman joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to explain why he spearheaded Arizona’s resolution opposing the For the People Act.
Hoffman also discusses a new Arizona law that prevents private individuals or organizations from giving money to state election boards or officials. By passing the bill, “Arizona has put up a big sign that says Arizona’s elections are not for sale,” he says.
We also cover these stories:
- President Joe Biden says parts of the country are “backsliding” into the Jim Crow days.
- The Minnesota police officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright, a black man, will be charged with second-degree manslaughter.
- The House Democratic majority now stands at 218 to 212 following the swearing in of Republican Rep. Julia Letlow of Louisiana.
Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript.
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Virginia Allen: I am joined by Arizona state Rep. Jake Hoffman. Representative, welcome to the show.
State Rep. Jake Hoffman: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.
Allen: Arizona is taking bold steps on election integrity, and Rep. Hoffman, you are really on the forefront of this effort.
The Arizona state Legislature passed a bill that prevents private individuals or organizations from giving money to state election boards or officials. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed this bill into law.
Could you explain why you think this is such an important step to ensuring the integrity of Arizona’s elections?
Hoffman: Absolutely. So, look, election integrity is shaping up to be the civil rights issue of our time, whether we wanted it to be or not, it simply is. This specific bill deals with a very concerning trend that we saw in 2020, it was the first of its kind.
In 2020, we had many firsts, obviously, from lockdowns to coronavirus, etc. But when it comes to elections, this was the first time that we ever saw big tech billionaires, and really billionaires of any kind, investing hundreds of millions of dollars, almost half a billion, with a “B” to be exact, into the administration and management of local county elections departments all across the country and state secretaries of state all across the country.
And that includes millions upon millions of dollars right here into Arizona. And that’s a very concerning trend, not only because of the perception that it puts on the elections but the influence.
We’ve heard for the last four years from the Democrats, though I disagree with their narrative entirely, but for the last four years, we heard about the insidiousness of influence in our elections.
Now, they obviously were claiming Russian interference and Russian influence, which is patently false. But in this case, it’s demonstrable, provable influence in our elections process and in the management of our elections, and that’s simply is a bridge too far.
So with House Bill 2569, the Arizona Legislature, and with Gov. Ducey’s signature, the state of Arizona has put up a big sign that says Arizona’s elections are not for sale.
We believe that they should be accountable to the people who were elected to steward them, to manage them, and who have the constitutional authority to do so, and they should be free of any influence from outside of the state, or quite frankly, the private sector, period.
Allen: You mentioned some of those large donations last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, he and his wife donated $400 million to nonprofits that then turned around and distributed grants to a number of election officials, but now, under this new law in Arizona, that’s no longer allowed. So why do you feel like this is such an important step?
Hoffman: Well, look, we took a very measured approach in terms of the bill prohibits accepting or extending private monies for the management and administration of elections.
And like I said, it’s an important step because imagine if you had a privately funded court system and imagine the influence that the funder of that court system would have on the execution of justice. Well, the same principle rolls over into elections.
It’s a foundational and cornerstone element of our republic and of our form of government. And to have that type of influence in the processes is simply something that Arizonans don’t want.
And quite frankly, this should be a bipartisan issue. It wasn’t here. It was sadly a partisan line. It was a 31-29 vote in the House and a 16-14 in the Senate.
But I really believe that if we step back and when we look at what the majority of Americans and the majority of Arizonans want, they want an election system that’s full of integrity, that they can have confidence in, and that they don’t have to worry about being swayed by outside forces. So I really think this should be a bipartisan effort across the country.
Allen: What is your response to people that would argue that this bill is not fair because people and organizations should be able to give money to who and to what they support?
Hoffman: Quite honestly, I would pose the counter question that, would you like to be judged by a judge and a jury that is funded by a single individual?
Let’s say you’ve been accused of a crime, would you like to have that type of influence weighing in on the execution of justice in a case that you were involved in? Right? And I’m sure that the answer would be no.
And look, the same holds true as we talk about elections. We simply don’t want anyone to influence [elections], and this is not an attack on the—it was specifically Democrat billionaires in this case. This isn’t an attack on them.
I would have run this bill if it had been Republican billionaires that did the same thing. This is whether it’s Republican or Democrat sent millionaires or billionaires, or independents, it doesn’t matter. This is about ensuring that our voters have confidence in the process.
Allen: Let’s chat a little bit about another action that we’ve seen the Arizona state Legislature take. So just earlier this month, Arizona became the first state to formally oppose the voting bill known as HR 1, or S 1. And HR 1 is a Democrat-backed piece of election legislation. Explain why you and the Arizona state Legislature oppose HR 1.
Hoffman: Yeah. I appreciate you bringing this issue up.
So, we did. We passed House Concurrent Resolution 2023, that I authored. HR 1 and S. 1, or as I like to call, the “Corrupt Politicians Act,” is arguably the most dangerous piece of legislation to come out of Washington, D.C., in at least my lifetime, if not multiple generations’. It is patently Democrats’ attempt to put their finger on the scales and rig America’s electoral system in their favor.
Arizona stands resoundingly against and has stood up to fiercely oppose this effort. The people of Arizona want the constitutional authority delegated to our Legislature to have control over the management of our elections and the way that we prescribe the process for how elections go.
A few years back, we took a step to ban ballot harvesting. It’s a very dangerous elections practice. It undermines the integrity of the election. Arizona took this step proactively because of the evidence, because of the data, and we banned it.
Well, HR 1, it would essentially federalize permissibility of ballot harvesting. People would be allowed to go door-to-door and round up as many ballots as they could possibly get their hands on and then turn them in.
What you do is you lose the confidence in whether or not those ballots have been filled out by the actual voter, whether or not there was any coercion in the process of collecting them, whether or not there were any incentives given in the process of collecting them.
Well, Arizona already banned that. Well, the feds, the Democrats in D.C. with HR 1 and S 1 are trying to come in and usurp our authority to outlaw that bad practice.
Another thing that Arizonans don’t want, they don’t want taxpayer-funded campaigns for federal office. And moreover, they especially don’t want those candidates to be able to pull up to $600,000 salary off of those taxpayer-funded campaigns.
The people of Arizona do not want automatic and mandatory voter registration. They do not want extended periods of mail-in voting. They do not want mass mailing of ballots to every voter on the rolls.
All of these provisions are contained within HR 1 and S 1, and quite frankly, it is an infringement on all of our states, all 50 states’ constitutional authority to manage and control their elections. And Arizona said no.
Allen: You have spearheaded this effort on this resolution to oppose HR 1, or S 1, what message do you hope this resolution sends to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the other Democrats in Washington who are promoting HR 1?
Hoffman: Honestly, I hope it sends the message to keep your hands off of our elections.
Democrats in D.C., and quite frankly, D.C. in general, when it comes to the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate, it’s not an extremely well-run organization, that’s why its approval ratings with the American people are down below 25%, dipping recently as low as, I believe, 15% to 17%. That’s not exactly a job well done.
So D.C. needs to focus on cleaning up its own house. D.C. needs to focus on ensuring that there’s ethics and integrity in the process of legislating. D.C. needs to ensure that they’re balancing our federal budget, that we’re not continuing to spend trillions upon trillions upon trillions of dollars.
I mean, imagine that just this year, just since the new administration took over, we’ve added more to the national debt than arguably since [President Ronald] Reagan, the last 30 years combined, right? D.C. has a lot of work to do. What they don’t need to be doing is spending their time trying to tell us how to do our job.
Allen: Do you foresee that other states will follow suit after Arizona and pass a similar resolution opposing HR 1?
Hoffman: Yeah. I have been in contact actually with lawmakers, I believe, in Alabama and Georgia who have considered the similar resolution, I believe introduced them as well. So this is something that I’m willing to share the resolution with absolutely anyone.
… States need to reclaim their voice. This is a federalist form of government, and the states have the role to stand up and say what they do and do not want.
Allen: Representative, you have several other election reform bills that are still pending in the state Senate. Could you just take a minute and tell us [about] these other pieces of legislation and how they would affect Arizona’s elections?
Hoffman: Yeah, happy to. So, I have 2792, which is making its way through the Senate right now. So that’s House Bill 2792. And that bill would prohibit the mass mailing of ballots to voters that did not request a mail-in ballot. Now, it actually goes one step further, and it adds a provision of a class 5 felony for violating the statute.
Now, why a classified felony? The people of Arizona and the American people, more broadly, are sick and tired of the double standard in politics where elected officials get away with virtually anything that they want with no repercussions.
And the reality is that if we have a county recorder that decides to go rogue and willfully and intentionally violate the law and mass mail ballots to every voter on the voter rolls, regardless of whether they requested one under the legal and lawful process, there deserves to be a consequence and it deserves to be a hefty one, because they’ve now called into question the integrity of the election for all of the other counties that played by the rules, followed the law, and did it the right way.
Allen: Now, Arizona, of course, was a major battleground state in 2020. How do you think the general election went in 2020? And do you want to see anything within the election process go differently in 2022?
Hoffman: It’s a great question. So, I’m very proud of Sen. Warren Petersen and Senate President Karen Fann in the Arizona Senate for continuing to stay focused on ensuring that there is an audit of the vote that happened in Maricopa County.
Maricopa County, obviously our largest county with the lion share of the vote statewide, it is imperative. You cannot make good, informed decisions moving forward if you don’t have a real analysis and a deep dive on what occurred, if anything, in the prior election.
I do think that our state was close enough and there were some irregularities that warrant the audit that they’re doing, and so I commend them for doing that.
That said, what do I think needs to happen moving forward into 2022 and 2024? Look, we need to consider ballot security, and so that means not only ballot tracking and the ability to determine precinct level, essentially audit by precinct of those ballots, but also that means the paper that ballots are printed on.
Imagine, currently, in this country, we have security paper for our home titles, we have security paper for our car titles, we have security paper for our money, but yet for our ballots, one of the most important documents that an individual has, we don’t have ballot security paper. And so I think that’s a very important issue moving forward.
I also think that ensuring that we have clean and accurate voter rolls. One, so that we reduce administrative costs on county recorders, so that they aren’t having to frivolously and unnecessarily send ballots to people who haven’t ever voted or haven’t voted in years and years.
I think that’s important, as well as ensuring that we have an effective process so that all dead people, all people who have moved out of a particular county, and all people who’ve moved out of a particular state are removed and the voter rolls are clean and accurate for the conducting of our elections.
Allen: Yeah, I think, unfortunately, a lot of Americans lost some measure of confidence in our elections after 2020. What is your message to the people of your state and even all Americans who are feeling discouraged about our election integrity?
Hoffman: Well, it’s a very real issue. According to multiple studies—Rutgers University had a study and there have been others, few research and whatnot—voter confidence has reached all-time lows. It’s a very concerning trend, and so I think there’s a couple of things.
One, your legislators, especially in states like Arizona, we are on it. We are working hard to ensure that the process is clean and accurate moving forward.
But our nation, it’s the greatest country on Earth, and we have people and we have a divinely inspired form of government in our founding documents and that our Founders put in place that has survived longer than any other modern society. It is positioned from a governance perspective to always rise to the level, to always rise to the occasion, and ensure that the will of the people is being put forth. And I think that’s what we’re seeing.
Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, you have lots of states right now that are all stepping up to the plate to make sure that they are fixing the elections process, putting in the safeguards that are necessary for voters to have confidence in the process.
And I think we’re going to see a much better system in place come 2022 and 2024. And I can tell you that here in Arizona, Republicans will not rest until all voters—independents, Democrats, Republicans alike—are able to have confidence in the outcome and the process of our elections.
Allen: Rep. Hoffman, thank you so much for your time today. We really appreciate you joining the show.
Hoffman: Absolutely. Thank you for having me.