Arizona is one of the states that, in the aftermath of the 2020 election, decided that statutory reforms were needed to make it easy to vote, but hard to cheat, to increase public confidence in the election result.
Under the Arizona Constitution, laws passed by elected legislatures can be overridden by ballot initiatives. Many of these initiatives impose measures that lawmakers reject after careful consideration. One such example of a left-wing initiative was Arizona’s forced taxpayer funding of political campaigns, which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment in Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett (2011).
Billionaire activist George Soros largely funded the latest effort to override the elected legislature in the Grand Canyon State as his Open Society Foundation, as well as another activist group called Way to Win — which claims credit for Democrat victories in 2020 — funded a ballot initiative through a left-wing group with the euphemistic name: Arizonans for Free and Fair Elections. The well-financed activists submitted over 475,000 signatures.
Conservatives challenged the validity of these signatures. After a round of litigation, the Arizona Supreme Court sent the matter back to a Maricopa County judge for a final assessment. The trial judge held last week that the organizers had barely met the necessary 239,926 signatures, clearing that hurdle by only a couple thousand votes.
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But on appeal again to the Arizona Supreme Court, the justices held on Thursday that they were “unable to verify the validity rate used by the trial court” and ordered the trial judge to explain his calculation by midday Friday. When the trial judge failed to justify his calculations, the Arizona Supreme Court concluded that the ballot initiative did not have enough legal signatures to proceed to November’s election.
“The irony is rich, because signature verification is a standard election integrity requirement,” former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, chairman of the Center for Election Integrity at the America First Policy Institute (AFPI), exclusively told Breitbart News. “To have a ballot measure regarding elections not approved for the ballot because not enough legal voters supported it is precisely the sort of the thing that the Left aims to disallow. The fact that the ballot measure in question was designed to eradicate such election safeguards highlights the importance of those safeguards.”
The successful challenge to the Soros-backed initiative was a coalition effort. The lawsuit was filed by Scot Mussi, president of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club — the same organization that won a U.S. Supreme Court victory against another election ballot initiative in 2011. Mussi was supported in his efforts by Jason Snead of the Honest Elections Project, Jessica Anderson of Heritage Action, and other election integrity proponents like Blackwell and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
“This victory proves that the American people are more powerful than militant liberal activists like Soros, who is trying to fundamentally transform America,” Blackwell added. “The United States is a center-right nation, and while hundreds of millions of dark money dollars may distort democracy by astroturfing issues and gaslighting voters, the American people have enough sense and principle that such efforts can be defeated.”
Had it succeeded, the Soros-backed measure would have repealed Arizona’s election integrity laws for the 2024 presidential election.
Breitbart News senior legal contributor Ken Klukowski is a lawyer who served in the White House and Justice Department.
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