Arizona state Sen. Anthony Kern (R), a “fake elector” for Donald Trump in 2020 who was also photographed on Capitol grounds during the Jan. 6 attack, has filed a longshot proposal to allow Arizona politicians to overturn the will of voters in presidential elections.
It’s the latest in a long line of similar bills in Arizona, where Joe Biden won the popular vote in 2020 — fueling years of Republican rage, baseless “audits” of the vote, and preemptive attempts to deliver the state for Trump in 2024.
Currently, Arizona voters, via a standard popular vote, decide who’s awarded the state’s 11 presidential electors. Presidential candidates generally need at least 270 Electoral College votes to win the White House.
Kern’s new bill, Senate Concurrent Resolution 1014, would let state legislators decide how Electoral College votes are assigned in Arizona. After some introductory text, the bill is extremely short:
Be it resolved by the Senate of the State of Arizona, the House of Representatives concurring:
1. That the Legislature shall remain in session during years in which presidential elections are held; and
2. That the Legislature, and no other official, shall appoint presidential electors in accordance with the United States Constitution.
If enough legislators support the bill, it could eventually appear on ballots statewide, and voters would decide whether the Arizona constitution should be amended to reflect its language. But right now, that’s unlikely: The bill has no co-sponsors and hasn’t been assigned to a committee for consideration.
Asked about his bill, Kern declined comment, except to say that “you are a complete idiot and the Huffington Post is an enemy of the American people.”
Kern is running for an open congressional seat this year. He didn’t respond to an additional question about whether he would expand his bill and allow the state legislature to decide congressional elections.
Kern has a long history of pushing election falsehoods.
After the 2020 election, he was one of 11 prominent Republicans who posed as Arizona electors and signed a false “Certificate of the Votes of the 2020 Electors from Arizona,” which incorrectly stated that Trump had won Arizona’s presidential election. Fake electors who pulled the same move in Michigan, Georgia and Nevada currently face criminal charges, while fake Trump electors in Wisconsin settled a lawsuit agreeing that they were “part of an attempt to improperly overturn the 2020 presidential election results.”
Arizona’s fake electors are under investigation by the state’s attorney general’s office. Kern has said he will not cooperate with the probe, maintaining that he did nothing illegal and that he merely signed the false certification document as an “alternate elector.”
Kern was also photographed close to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but there is no evidence he entered the building.
— Jeremy Duda (@jeremyduda) May 5, 2021
A few months later, Kern attempted to take part in the widelycriticized “audit” of Arizona’s 2020 election results, even though he himself was on the ballot in the state. (That bid for a state House seat was unsuccessful.). Once journalists noted his presence at a ballot-counting table — and noted that the ballots Kern was counting contained his own name — a spokesperson for the audit effort, Ken Bennett, acknowledged that it “wasn’t the best optics” and said Kern had been barred from counting ballots.
Kern’s bill isn’t the first attempt to allow Arizona’s legislature to overturn elections. Previous bills that would have given state lawmakers similar powers include one from then-state Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R) in 2021 and another from then-state Rep. John Fillmore (R) in 2022. Bolick’s bill would have let the legislature overturn the certification of a presidential election “at any time before the presidential inauguration,” and Fillmore’s bill would have given lawmakers the authority to “accept or reject the election results” after reviewing the ballot tabulation process for any regular primary or general election. Both bills ultimately sputtered out.
In 2020, Mark Finchem and Kelly Townsend, both Republican state representatives at the time, unsuccessfully urged their colleagues in the legislature to, in Townsend’s words, “use our Article 2 power and choose the electors after everything we have seen here.”