Critics, including voting rights groups, election scholars and even some conservative judicial experts, say it would undermine a more than 200-year-old tradition of checks and balances, consolidating authority over elections in the hands of partisan legislatures. Daniel Squadron, a former New York state senator who co-founded The States Project, which spends millions on electing Democrats in battleground states, described it as “a loaded gun at the heart of our democracy.”

Arizona provides a case study of how some state legislators may want to take control of elections if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the independent state legislature doctrine.

in one day March, Boyer tied with the chamber’s minority Democrat and another Republican to vote 12 Bills of his own party aimed at enhancing election administration. Many of the more than 100 proposed bills he calls “crazy” this legislative session probably would have become law next year if Democrat Katie Hobbs hadn’t defeated Republican Kari Lake in the governor’s race and seized the veto pen, Boyer warned Phoenix in an interview with Politico.

“I was a vote for many of them,” he said, referring to several tie-breaking votes.

At the State House, a bill that didn’t make it to a vote allowed to repeal the legislature An election or a new invocation — very nightmare scenarios. Court experts have warned that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the independent state legislature doctrine, statehouses across the country could be tried.

Several conservative legal groups have lined up in support of the plaintiffs arguing before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, arguing that there are dire warnings about the dangers to democracy “Excessive moaning.” Concern among court scholars has centered on reducing access to voting on legislatures and forcing unfair congressional and state legislative maps, although the threat of legislators who would attempt to use it to overturn federal elections looms large.

Jason Sneed, executive director of the Honest Elections Project, which filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs, says the concerns are “exaggerated by design.”

“It’s designed to hide what the case is really about, which is a power grab in the state courts,” said Sneed, whose group has ties to conservative Supreme Court activist Leonard Leo, who has won millions over his Instructed to advocate for the current conservative majority. Snead said the North Carolina law is unique in its respect for legislatures’ ability to create maps. Bartlett Cleland, general counsel for the American Legislative Exchange Council, a nonprofit organization of conservative state lawmakers, also tried to play down the matter, saying, “This is not a matter of whether or not changes can be made to election procedures.”

Still, the independent state legislature doctrine underpinned former President Donald Trump’s failed attempt to get the states to invalidate the 2020 election, and the lawyer who conceived that strategy, John Eastman, filed an amicus brief A similar case is being made on behalf of The Claremont Institute. Although some election-related laws may survive court challenges, giving legislatures sole authority over them would eliminate the ability of state courts to review them.

“What’s at stake here are truly the checks and balances that our founders incorporated into the system,” said Neal Katial, former US acting solicitor general under President Obama and partner at Hogan Lovells.

In a recent call with reporters, Katyal emphasized the unfettered capacity of state homes — which are often challenged and overturned in state courts — as the most immediate result of a decision in favor of plaintiffs. Is. Already in Ohio, for example, the GOP-led legislature has for most of this year openly defied repeated orders from Congress and the state Supreme Court to redraw state legislative maps, which He is considered non-standard.

The other big danger is the deluge of election administration laws that could lead to chaos, and this danger is nationwide. This year, Republicans in Colorado, Arizona, Missouri, New Hampshire, Washington and West Virginia introduced bills to ban ballot tabulators, which would significantly delay the counting of ballots. At the same time, politicians in denial of the 2020 election results, including Trump, loudly objected that counties that fail to count all ballots on Election Day are considered questionable.

In all, at least 175 bills were introduced in dozens of states this year that would “interfere with election administration,” including requiring nonpartisan audits, seizing power over election authorities, and imposing criminal penalties on election administrators, nonpartisan Center according to the United States Democracy. “These burdens will push the election system to the limit at a time when election administration has become highly partisan and baseless claims of fraud are becoming widespread,” The group said in a recent report,

The legislative push in Arizona over the past year is evidence, according to Boyer and democracy watchdog groups, that if the Supreme Court removes the guardrails provided by state courts, partisan state legislatures could seize power in a number of unconstitutional ways, including overturning elections. Can grab Arizona State Senate President Karen Phan, who helped steer the bills, and two spokespeople for the Arizona State Senate Republican Caucus declined email requests for comment.

“My colleagues would like to have a lot more control over certain aspects of government that we historically have never had before,” Boyer told POLITICO in an interview from a charter school nestled next to Red Rock Mountain, where he teaches Latin. And camping to teach. history. In Arizona, Republicans also tried to chip away at a commission that regulates corporations and energy policy that has been in the constitution since the state’s formation in 1914, Boyer said.

“They haven’t thought about some of these things,” he said, warning the bills would also create a tangle of conflicting laws. Boyer said, “We’re just elections officials saying ‘we think we know better and we’ll better administer elections,’ when the reality is the counties are doing it”.

At age 45, Boyer is taking a “sabbatical” from public service after his term expires in early January. “I’m tired. I just needed a break,” he said.

Among Boyer’s aided blocs, it would have required an audit of federal elections every two years—a hugely expensive undertaking that according to Boyer would have diverted funds from other areas of government oversight—and publicly released digital images of voters’ ballots. Posting to Says that could have created a legal risk for election officials. For example, Boyer said, it would remove legitimate audits from other essential departments, such as schools or the Department of Corrections.

The Arizona State House member who proposed a bill to repeal the election, Shawna Bolick, also ran for secretary of state, Her 2021 bill would have allowed a simple majority of lawmakers in both chambers to revoke the secretary of state’s certification of the winning slate of presidential electors.

Boyer said, “The legislature can either nullify it and call a new election or vote on who should be the winner, based on whatever the legislature determines.”

Another Arizona bill would require Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates, against arizona law, hand out 2020 general election ballots to state senators. “We were voting to essentially send him to jail (for up to six months) to comply with the law,” Boyer said, which requires a judge’s order or an official recount to surrender ballots.

He said the entire Maricopa County Board of Supervisors could face up to six months in prison. He said that no one really knew where he would be sent to jail. “Maybe it was our basement or the county sheriff’s,” Boyer said. Boyer recalled a tense meeting with board supervisor Gates in which Gates said his daughter called to ask when he was going to prison. “That’s when it started where I became a vote that wasn’t sticking with my party,” he said.

“You can’t make it up,” Boyer said.

Another would have required hand-counting all ballots in the state by 9 p.m. on election night. (It took six months for a group of “cyber ninjas” to count two castes in 2020.) The squadron said such bills, in many cases, deliberately create chaos and confusion, which can be fomented by “right-wing” state legislatures. Can be used as. to intervene. “It justifies the state legislatures to step in and pick a winner,” he said.

“Even if some of those get passed, election officials won’t know how to do their jobs,” Boyer said. Boyer said, “The ‘stop stealing’ crowd ‘ugh, they’re corrupt because we made sure they couldn’t do their jobs.’

While Democrat Hobbs’ narrow election victory ensures the bill won’t survive for now, Boyer said his experience shows why there’s no world in which to give state legislatures dominated by any political party free reign over elections. needed.

“We will no longer be able to govern ourselves. It will be contingent on force and accident,” Boyer said, citing Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, who said that many governments in history have been ruled by force as opposed to “reflection and choice.”

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