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Arizona elections bill creates voter fraud hotline, allows police in polling places

Last year, GOP lawmakers gave AG Mark Brnovich half-a-million dollars for investigations. New legislation gives him tools for inquiries, even though fraud is rare.

PHOENIX — Republican lawmakers want to create an Arizona election fraud hotline and allow police into polling places, as part of a bill that gives Attorney General Mark Brnovich the tools to carry out investigations ahead of the 2020 elections. 

Last year, GOP lawmakers gave Brnovich half-a-million dollars to create an "elections integrity" unit in the wake of unfounded complaints about the 2018 elections.

On this weekend's "Sunday Square Off," State Rep. Athena Salman of Tempe, the top Democrat on the House Elections Committee, warned that the legislation would result in voter suppression.

Salman said the attorney general's office has shown no evidence of voter fraud.

The bill was passed by the House on a 31-29 party-line vote. It now heads to the Senate. 

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona Republicans are advancing legislation that would give the attorney general control over reports of suspected voter fraud and allow police at polling places - a measure Democrats charge will lead to intimidation of voters of color.

GOP supporters say the bill would increase voters' confidence in the system.

After the AG's office was awarded $530,000 last year, a spokesman confirmed there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud, but said the new unit would help put those concerns to rest.

The AG's office set off alarms last summer after its first hire for the new unit: a former Tea Party candidate for Phoenix mayor who has warned of "forces" that want to manipulate the vote.

Sunday Square Off" airs at 8 a.m. Sundays on 12 News, after NBC's "Meet the Press," with moderator Chuck Todd. 

You can find past "Square Off" segments online at 12news.com/YouTube.

More Sunday Square Offs: 

New Phoenix PD citizen watchdog faces more hurdles before start-up

Arizona students could get 4-year degree at lower cost