Arizona State Senator Kelly Townsend has been at the forefront of efforts in the Grand Canyon State to provide election integrity and restore Americans’ faith in our electoral system since the highly irregular 2020 Election which was fraught with multiple credible allegations of fraud. So, why did she vote against a bill to improve election integrity? It’s complicated.
What Is Senate Bill 1485?
It came as quite a shock to many when AZ Sen. Townsend voted against SB1485 which removes “infrequent voters” from the state’s permanent early voting list, voters who are automatically mailed ballots for every election in which they can vote. “Infrequent Voters” are defined as “if they don’t use their ballot at least once in two straight two-year election cycles.” according to KVCR News.
State Democrats have pushed back hard on the bill accusing Republicans of working to supress votes and make voting harder in the state. The GOP holds a narrow majority in the Arizona Senate with 16 seats to Democrats’ 14 , which meant they couldn’t stop it on their own. However, this allowed Townsend’s vote to scuttle the bill. Townsend’s reasons though were far, far different and are tied directly to the Arizona Senate’s Audit of the Maricopa County voting machines and ballots from the 2020 Election.
In Her Own Words: Why Senator Townsend Won’t Vote For Any Elections Bills
“It is incumbent upon us to be patient and to wait and to look and see what this audit produces otherwise we’re doing it for no reason it’s for show it’s for replying to our constituency.” Townsend told the Senate.
After the vote, Sen. Townsend posted to Facebook, in a lengthy explanation that alleges AZ GOP Senators are far more concerned with adjourning the Senate Sine Die, which would allow them to begin fundraising for 2022 than waiting on the results of the audit and crafting their bills to address the issues the audit discovers now in 2021. Because this is the only way that meaningful changes can be made before the next August primaries.
“Today I voted no on SB1485, the PEVL bill. I am supportive of the bill, but I informed leadership and the caucus that I was a no on election related bills because we are in the middle of an audit and there is talk of the Senate voting Sine Die in 2 weeks. Once we vote Sine Die and go home, we will not be able to fix any issues prior to the next primary election.
I was serious when I said I would not vote on any election bills until after the audit. I was not taken seriously. Michelle Ugenti-Rita feels that this move is a temper-tantrum because she killed all my election reform bills in her committee. She went so far as to say that I need to “get over my jealousy.”
I am anything but jealous of Michelle Ugenti-Rita. She has been nothing but scandal laden from the time I have known her. Having defended her nevertheless throughout her scandal against my better judgement, I am not jealous of her in the slightest.
I am serious when I say that I will insist on election integrity and will do whatever it takes to ensure we fix the problems of the audit. Mark my words, and my actions, I will not bend. This bill can be brought back for reconsideration and I will vote yes, however only after the results of the audit and all issues resolved with it.”
Townsend is being rolled in the mainstream media by Democrats and even some republicans alike, because she is interested in forcing the body to hold-off on their fundraising spree, wining and dining lobbyists and work to craft effective election reform based on the results of the audit instead of running off half-cocked addressing theoretical problems and possibly missing the real ones.
Update: Senator Townsend replied to GOP Newsfeed’s request for comment with the following statement,
“I will reconsider the bill after we have results from the audit, or if we get real immediate election integrity reform. SB1485 does not impact elections until 2026, and many bills that needed done now have died. Also, they are wanting to go home in 2 weeks, Sine Die, and then we hand all power back to the Governor. I told them do not put that bill up until we have better reform and until the audit is finished. They did not listen and put it up anyway. I have to stay true to my word, so I was forced to vote no. Again, I will be a yes on that bill after better reform is enacted.”