Allie Bones

A recent national poll from Grinnell College found that 96% of Americans believe that free and fair elections are important to our democracy. The same poll showed only 53% of Americans are confident that the votes of the 2022 election will be counted correctly.

Regardless of party affiliation — Democrat, Republican or Independent — we can all agree that a lack of faith in our elections poses real challenges for our country.

Unfortunately, Republican legislators in Arizona are offering all the wrong “solutions,” and are increasing division and mistrust. The clearest example is the Senate’s so-called audit of the 2020 election. Maricopa County previously hired two federally certified companies to audit the election equipment — and there was no evidence of vote switching or modification of software.

Regardless, the Senate hired a firm called Cyber Ninjas to conduct a new “audit.” Within hours of the announcement, evidence emerged that Doug Logan, the firm’s CEO, had previously shared conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, including debunked theories about the exact voting equipment he has been hired to audit.

Logan hasn’t denied his own bias but has instead suggested it doesn’t matter. Not only that, but neither Cyber Ninjas nor Doug Logan have any experience in either audits or elections.

It is no surprise then that the audit has been characterized by disorganization and conspiracy theories. Senate President Fann seems committed to this process, no matter how much it damages our democratic institutions, which is alarming to say the least.

As if the audit weren’t enough, Republicans in the legislature continue to pass bills that are unnecessary and detrimental to voters. Just this week, Gov. Doug Ducey signed SB1485, which removes voters from the Permanent Early Voter List, which will disproportionately impact minority voters.

And last month, the governor signed a bill that prohibits elections officials from accepting charitable grants to assist with “preparing for, administering or conducting an election,” while denying adequate funding for those activities. This hypocritical position regarding funding for elections’ related activities is stunning given how the Senate is now welcoming private funding to support their “audit.”

It is imperative that we stop the legislature from casting doubt on the integrity of our elections and then pushing proposals that create more barriers to voting. They need to tell the truth, something far too many politicians struggle to do.

The 2020 election was one of the most secure elections ever conducted in this country, and no evidence of widespread voter fraud exists. During the 2020 election, Ducey said, Arizona has one of the best run election systems in the country, where it is “difficult, if not impossible, to cheat.” It’s time for him to be reminded of his words and asked to stand up for Arizona’s elections.

It’s time for him and other Republican leaders to stop the madness of this audit and the use of conspiracy theories to pass voter suppression measures. JN

Allie Bones is Arizona’s assistant secretary of state.