The Hill’s Reid Wilson reports on a bill introduced in the Arizona House that would, in the fortunately improbable event it were to be passed, allow the state legislature the opportunity following every election to decide if they care to accept the people’s judgment.
If you’re thinking to yourself “wait, that’s not how democracy works,” congratulations–you paid attention in civics class!
An arch conservative member of Arizona’s state House of Representatives has proposed a mammoth overhaul of the state’s voting procedures that would allow legislators to overturn the results of a primary or general election after months of unfounded allegations and partisan audits.
The bill, introduced by state Rep. John Fillmore (R), would substantially change the way Arizonans vote by eliminating most early and absentee voting and requiring people to vote in their home precincts, rather than at vote centers set up around the state.
Most dramatically, Fillmore’s bill would require the legislature to hold a special session after an election to review election processes and results, and to “accept or reject the election results.” [Pols emphasis]
In the hands of a legislature that didn’t like the result delivered by the voters, which is the case in Arizona in 2020 where Joe Biden narrowly won and the Republican-controlled government coped with this reality very badly, we’re talking about giving lawmakers veto power over their own voters. That’s in line with what Donald Trump asked of Republican lawmakers in Arizona and other swing states after the election, but even the most ardent MAGA diehards were unable to get enough fellow Republicans behind them to actually override their voters’ will.
Obviously, this legislation goes well beyond anything we’ve seen in the Colorado legislature this year from Republicans. Rep. Ron Hanks introduced a bill for “Paper Ballot Fraud Countermeasures,” presumably to make sure they’re not from China–and Rep. Mark Baisley said he would support legislation to enclose voting machines in tinfoil to prevent them from being tampered with wirelessly like…you know, a brain without a tinfoil hat. To be honest, if our local Republicans stay preoccupied with crazypants sideshow angles like these instead of trying to give themselves the power to reject the will of the voters, that’s fine with us.
Because there are Republicans elsewhere who want to do some frighteningly undemocratic things.
This is 100% going to become the new widely-proposed bill in Republican legislatures across the country, and you can guarantee they’re going to do it in Georgia, Florida, and Texas (and try to also do it in Wisconsin, Michigan, NC, and Pennsylvania and see if they can get it past a veto).
At least Colorado is shielded from such madness (although guaranteed Ron Hanks and company will make the vain attempt), but there are going to be a lot of swing states with GOP legislatures that are simply going to decide that they can pick the winners regardless of what the voters want. This is exactly how they reinstall Trump in power.
I'm unclear on how the courts would deal with this sort of involvement in an election process. Seems like it would, at the very least, violate the guarantee of a "republican form of government" in every state [and no, originalists are NOT going to be able to find a capitalized Republican form of government]. I also have to squint REAL hard to see how overturning an election conforms to the well-established one-person, one-vote standard — under ANY approach to measuring that equivalence.
The latest definitive pronouncement on Guarantee Clause claims, dating back to 1946, it that they're 100% non-justiciable.
Bizarrely enough, this might almost have a snowball's chance as to POTUS elections, seeing as how the Constitution vests state legislatures with exclusive authority re: how to allocate the state's electoral votes. Of course, as to other elections, the longstanding legal precept No Takesie-Backsies would suggest that a legislature can't just set up a comprehensive election-by-voting system only to vest the state legislature with Nana Nana Boo Boo power. Wouldn't be too tough to dress up such arguments in parlance of due process and equal protection.
Ah, yes. Those were the days. No means yes, men beating the shit out of their wives and children while cops look the other way, everyone except male crackers second class citizens at best . . . yeah, that there statement says everything you need to know about this Filmore clown.
The state legislature is one person, one vote elected, so even if that principle were to come up, a conservative SCOTUS could quite easily shoot such complaints down.
Remember the old right-wing comic strip Mallard Fillmore? Is this guy related?
We may look at this and say, how the hell can anyone seriously entertain this idea?
Remember, we have a number of originalists on the Supreme Court like to see everything in the constitution as having been preserved in amber circa 1790 (to wit: the Second Amendment).
If you all recall your US History classes, how were elections conducted until Andrew Jackson's populist revolution? With very small electorates. In the early days, presidential electors were selected by legislatures. Then they moved on the allow popular voting which wasn't all that popular since it was limited to white males who owned property.
Article 2, Section 1, Clauses 2 and 3: [Selection of Electors, 1796–1832], McPherson v. Blacker (uchicago.edu)
I could see Alito, Gorsuch and Thomas writing an opinion saying that there is nothing wrong with allowing a popular vote to take place as a "beauty contest" (as they used to call non-binding presidential primaries) but that should not tie the hands of the legislators who should simply take the popular vote into consideration in selecting electors.
All things old are new again.