Arizona elections task force proposes changes following final meeting

Oct 26, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: 1:31 pm

Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes speaks at Tuesday's election task force meeting. (KTAR New...

Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes speaks at Tuesday's election task force meeting. (KTAR News Photo/Heidi Hommel)

(KTAR News Photo/Heidi Hommel)

PHOENIX — An Arizona elections task force created by Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs proposed several best practices and reform changes following its final meeting Tuesday.

Five working groups of the Bipartisan Election Task Force looked at early voting, election administration, Election Day and day after procedures, election security/equipment and voter registration.

Fifteen of the 16 proposals were unanimously passed.

“We have diverse, bipartisan election expertise in this room, local and statewide officials from both sides of the aisle, election security experts and voting rights advocates,” Hobbs said.

The biggest changes the state could see centers around election timeline amendments to ensure a timely recount.

A recent Arizona law requires a recount if the difference between two candidates in a contest is a half percentage point or less. That could prevent county and state elections administrators from being able to complete required recounts in time to meet federal and state deadlines for certifying election results or calling a presidential race.

Another proposal aims to prevent voter intimidation. It would require anyone to stay 75 feet away from ballot drop boxes unless dropping off a ballot. During the 2022 election, groups of people were seen videotaping voters as they tried to drop off their ballots.

Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, a Democrat, says his office is already working on some of the best practices proposals, but others will need to go before the legislature and made law to be implemented.

It’s unclear if any of the proposals will make it through the Republican-controlled Legislature, but Fontes says all their proposals had bipartisan support from the task force.

Some of the recommendations that could be presented to the Legislature are widening the threshold for a recount or moving the primary election to late July.

The final report will be made public on Nov. 11.

“I’m not going to directly pressure any members of the legislature now to support and sponsor any of this legislation,” Fontes said. “But I think we’re going to make sure to work together where we can across the aisle.”

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Arizona elections task force proposes changes following final meeting