FLORENCE — Citizens upset with pending legislation affecting how America conducts elections found sympathetic ears with the Pinal County Board of Supervisors.
The board heard from 11 people in person, mostly from the Oracle area, and one by email Wednesday, urging it to contact Arizona’s U.S. senators and persuade them to vote against HR 1. Luke Myers of Coolidge called the bill “a spectacular exhibit of arrogance.”
Also known as the “For the People Act,” HR 1 would expand voting rights, change campaign finance laws to reduce the influence of money in politics, limit partisan gerrymandering and create new ethics rules for federal officeholders.
Some supervisors said it does much more.
“The federal government wants to take over elections,” Supervisor Kevin Cavanaugh, R-Coolidge, said. He said he’s been asked at recent meetings, “What we can do to save our constitutional republic?” and he told citizens they need to become involved at every level of government and let their voices be heard.
“I don’t think the citizens of this nation are willing to let their republic slip into the darkness of socialist totalitarianism,” Cavanaugh said. “… Irrespective of whether you believe there was cheating in the last election or not, the federalization of elections is contrary to law.”
He said he would ask that the board draft a letter and take other actions to communicate to Arizona’s congressional delegation that Pinal County is opposed to HR 1. Cavanaugh said the federal government couldn't provide decennial census results on time, and he cannot trust it to run an election.
Supervisor Jeff Serdy, R-Apache Junction, added, “If it’s left up to only talking to our senators, I don’t have a whole lot of hope for that,” although he believes Sen. Kyrsten Sinema may be open to discussions. If the bill is passed, Serdy said he hopes the state will explore its options to opt out and “keep it the way we should have it.”
Board Chairman Steve Miller, R-Casa Grande, said he was already in the process of composing a letter to both Arizona senators and would discuss it in more detail with county staff. He said later in a video being prepared for Pinal County social media that HR 1, or S1 in the U.S. Senate, is about “nationalizing elections and taking away the rights of states to run their elections.”
Miller said in the video he has read the entire bill, and “it will remove all elections processes away from local governments — states, counties and cities. It will all become 100% federally-regulated. And I’ll be real honest with you, governments have a hard time doing anything. You need to leave it to the locals to come up with their system of voting and what they see is the best process for their state.”
More than 20 times, the bill “requires states,” in conflict with the 10th Amendment and states’ rights, Miller said. He said he’s glad citizens are looking at it. “Silence is acceptance, and if you don’t speak out, it’s the assumption that you are OK with whatever is going on.”
Miller said national officials need to know their constituents. “They’re way too disconnected from the day-to-day lives of people out here trying to make a living.”
Roberto Reveles of Gold Canyon told the board Wednesday, “These are genuine crises, and they’re crises that this board has a responsibility to respond to. I have on various occasions been before this board, questioning the election process.” But after participating in the process, he said he was confident that Pinal County and the state abided by all constitutional requirements.
“… As a different point of view, I nonetheless support the calls that you’ve heard. Calls to not only restore integrity, confidence of the public in both the Elections Department and in the Sheriff’s Department."
Reveles asked for a performance audit and financial audit of both departments, "in the expectation your findings will reinforce my trust and hopefully gain the trust of others who have spoken this morning.”